Courses and Curriculum
Our language courses comprise Elementary Spanish I and II (UN1101-1102), Intermediate Spanish I and II (UN2101-2102), and Spanish for Heritage Speakers (UN2108).
Although depending on previous language experience, students may place into the sequence at different stages (see placement instructions), the four courses are conceived as an integrated continuum leading students to the intermediate-high proficiency level.
The small class size (15) affords students ample opportunity for class participation and allows instructors to pay careful attention to student performance, thus maximizing development in all four language skills—listening, reading, speaking, and writing—while building complementary skills of mediation and interaction. Spanish is the language of instruction from the earliest levels.
For students who are native or heritage speakers of Spanish, our language program has designed a course of Spanish for Heritage Speakers who score between 450 and 625 in the placement exam.
All of the language courses may be taken either through our department or through Columbia's Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures.
For further information, please see Language Requirement and Spanish at Barnard.
This sequence links the language program to the upper-level literature and culture program and the Major, and consists of three courses:
SPAN UN3300 – Advanced Language through Content (specific content varies by section)
SPAN UN3349 – Hispanic Cultures I (Islamic Spain through the Colonial Period)
SPAN UN3350 – Hispanic Cultures II (Enlightenment through the Present)
All three courses are entirely conducted in Spanish.
In the first content-based language course, attention to topics in Spanish and Latin American studies shares protagonism with the explicit study of selected grammar points of continued difficulty for post-intermediate students. The course also emphasizes the development of critical skills for textual analysis and the establishment of a methodological foundation for literary and cultural study.
The second two courses, both transatlantic in focus, give a broad overview of literary texts and cultural artifacts in their historical context, and provide students with basic knowledge on which to draw in upper-level Major courses. While these do not include specific language instruction, attention is paid to all language skills, especially writing.
Like the language courses, the bridge and introductory levels are taught in small sections, allowing for maximum participation and instructor attention.
W3300 is taken after completion of the language requirement before W3349 and W3350, which can be taken simultaneously or in inverse order.
All bridge and introductory courses may be taken either in our department, or at Columbia's Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures.
All courses numbered 3000 or above (with the exception of UN3300, 3349, and 3350) are upper-level courses. They may focus on the complex study of literary periods, movements, and authors, as well as other forms of cultural production (mass and folk culture, film and visual media, etc.) from Spain and Latin America. Many of these are organized around themes and problems rather than geography or chronological period. Advanced courses may also focus on issues in Spanish language or linguistics.
All upper-level courses are entirely conducted in Spanish, to further develop students' language proficiency to levels appropriate for advanced study abroad or in graduate school. To this end, enrollment is limited to a maximum of 15 students.
Unless a specific arrangement is made with the Major Advisor or instructor (a highly unusual circumstance), students should have completed UN3300 and at least one of UN3349 and 3350, before registering for an upper-level course.
The highest upper-level course is the Senior Seminar, which should be taken in the Fall of the senior year; in addition to exploring a topic, this seminar trains students on research methods and resources, and requires the production of a significant research paper (satisfying thesis requirements at Barnard).
All upper-level courses taken in our department or Columbia's Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures count for the Major, Major with Specialization, and Minor.
Recognizing that the Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures's structure of prerequisites may make it difficult for many non-majors to enroll in our courses, we offer a number of courses in English, with original Hispanic texts in translation. These courses do not count for the Major or Major with Specialization, except in selected cases and by advisor approval, as "outside electives". They do not count toward the Minor. Enrollment is generally not limited. Courses in English may be housed in Spanish and Latin American Cultures, or taught by our faculty through Comparative Literature, Africana Studies, Women's Studies, or other programs.
Majors and Minors
The Barnard major in Spanish and Latin American Cultures consists of eleven courses (minimum 33 credits). The required introductory courses are SPAN W3300 (Advanced Language through Content), W3349 (Hispanic Cultures I), and 3350 (Hispanic Cultures II). UN3300 must be taken after completion of UN2102, UN2103, 2108, or UN2120 and should come before W3349 and W3350, which can be taken simultaneously or in inverse order. Except by approval of the Major Advisor, all three introductory courses are prerequisites for upper-level courses. In choosing their sections, Barnard students should keep in mind that some Columbia classes at these levels are taught by PhD candidates. Other sections at both Barnard and Columbia are taught by full-time Lecturers/Associates and tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Beyond the introductory courses, the major requires seven upper-level elective courses--to be chosen from the Barnard Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures or Columbia Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures' 3000- or 4000-level offerings--and a Senior Seminar intended to be taken in the Fall of the senior year (in cases of unavoidable conflict, and by approval of the Major Advisor, students may enroll in the Spring section offered at Columbia). The seminar may be taken either at Barnard (BC or W3990) or at Columbia (W3991, 3992, or 3993). It is an advanced, research-oriented course on a broad topic, in the context of which Barnard students are required to write a paper in Spanish of at least 20 pages. Since this paper counts as the Barnard Senior Research Project, students who take the seminar at Columbia must be sure they fulfill the 20-page requirement, regardless of what their particular professor requires of other students. These students must hand in the final version of their paper to the Barnard Major Advisor in addition to their Columbia professor.
Up to three of the above-mentioned electives may be taken outside the Departments (and in English), provided they address Hispanic topics. Courses at or beyond the intermediate level in Portuguese and Catalan may count as outside electives. Up to four courses from Study Abroad may apply toward the major, some of which may count toward the introductory courses, provided they are at the same level and substantially address the same topics/skills. In combination, extradepartmental and study abroad courses should not exceed five in total; a minimum of six courses must be taken in the Barnard/Columbia Spanish departments. Approval of specific courses is at the discretion of the Major Advisor (in consultation with the Study Abroad Advisor/Language Program Director for those at the 3300 level), taking into consideration the balance in the student's full program of study. Students should consult periodically with the Major Advisor to make sure they are making adequate progress toward the completion of all requirements.
All students should seek chronological and geographic breadth in their coursework, enrolling in diverse classes on Latin American, Iberian, and language/linguistics topics--this is especially essential for those considering future graduate work in Hispanic Studies. Such students should consult especially closely with the Major Advisor to plan their program.
The Barnard minor in Spanish and Latin American Cultures consists of six courses (minimum 18 credits). The required introductory courses are SPAN W3300 (Advanced Language through Content); and W3349 (Hispanic Cultures I) and 3350 (Hispanic Cultures II). UN3300 must be taken after completion of UN2102, UN2103, 2108, or UN2120 and should come before W3349 and W3350. Except by approval of the Minor Advisor, all three introductory courses are prerequisites for upper-level courses. In choosing their sections, Barnard students should keep in mind that some Columbia classes at these levels are taught by PhD candidates. Other sections at both Barnard and Columbia are taught by full-time Lecturers/Associates and tenured or tenure-track faculty.
Beyond the introductory courses, the minor requires three upper-level electives (W3349 and W3350 do not count as such). These may be chosen from the Barnard Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures' or Columbia Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures' 3000- or 4000-level offerings. A maximum of three courses taken outside the Departments (from study abroad, other departments at Barnard/Columbia, or other institutions) may apply toward the minor. Such courses will be approved by the Minor Advisor and the Study Abroad Advisor/Language Program Director (the latter of whom officially signs the approval), on the basis of their level, quality, and perceived relevance to the minor program of study. Courses in English do not count toward the minor.
Although Barnard allows students to sign up for minors through the end of their senior year, the Department encourages students to sign up as early in their career as possible, and to consult regularly with the Minor Advisor to ensure they are making adequate progress toward the completion of all requirements.
For students wishing to pursue a more rigorously interdisciplinary program, the Department offers a major that integrates courses in Spanish and Latin American Cultures with courses in another department or program chosen carefully by the student, with the approval of the Major Advisor. This major consists of 14 courses (42 points). With advisor approval, courses in the Barnard Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures and the Columbia Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures count equally toward the Major with Specialization.
Beyond the Language Requirement, the following are the required introductory courses (labeled as "Bridge Courses" in the Barnard Course Catalogue):
- SPAN W3300 Advanced Spanish Language through Content
- SPAN W3349 Hispanic Cultures I: Islamic Spain through the Colonial Period
- SPAN W3350 Hispanic Cultures II: Enlightenment to the Present
W3300 is a prerequisite for W3349 and W3350, which may be taken successively or simultaneously.
In addition to the three introductory courses, students must take eleven upper-level courses, five of which must be in the Department of Spanish and Latin American Cultures (this includes the Senior Seminar). Six courses must be in a single related field of specialization outside the Department, although in special cases and with advisor approval, students may complete some coursework in another, closely related field. Possible fields of specialization are Anthropology, Art History, Africana Studies, Economics, Film, Gender Studies, History, Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, Music, Political Science, Sociology, or Urban Studies; the specific field will always be chosen in consultation with the Major Advisor.
Students should work closely with the Major Advisor to plan their program of study; it will also be their responsibility to seek advising regarding coursework in their external specialization from appropriate sources (for example, from other departments' Chairs). Specialization electives should include basic methodological or foundation courses in the chosen field. In exceptional cases and with advisor approval, students may take a Senior Seminar (outside Spanish and Latin American Cultures) as a seventh course in their field of specialization if they have completed enough basic courses in that field to manage the demands of an advanced seminar; if so, it may count instead of one of the four courses in Spanish and Latin American Cultures. In such cases, the major advisor must receive written communication from the seminar instructor indicating approval of a student's membership in the course; the seminar project must be on a Spanish/Latin American topic; and a copy of the project must be turned in to the major advisor for the student's file upon completion of the course.
Up to four courses from study abroad may be applied toward the Major with Specialization, as approved by the Major Advisor.
In the fall of their senior year, students must enroll in a senior seminar in which they will undertake the research and writing of a substantial paper in the field. Some students may wish, with departmental approval, to further develop their research in the spring through an independent study project with a willing faculty member. For that project, they may expand their work in the senior seminar or undertake a new assignment in consultation with the faculty member. SPAN BC3099 Independent Study may be counted as one of the courses that fulfills the major.
The senior seminar may be taken either at Barnard (BC or W3990) or at Columbia (W3991, 3992, or 3993). It is an advanced, research-oriented course on a broad topic, in the context of which Barnard students are required to write a paper in Spanish of at least 20 pages. Since this paper counts as the Barnard Senior Research Project, students who take the seminar at Columbia must be sure they fulfill the 20-page requirement, regardless of what their particular professor requires of other students. These students must hand in the final version of their paper to the Barnard Major Advisor in addition to their Columbia professor.
205A Milbank Hall
204 Milbank Hall
Please do not rely on the Barnard online catalog for the section number and time schedule of courses on any given semester. While the catalog contains course descriptions, the Directory of Classes contains the most up-to-date section information.