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What is Spanish?

The Spanish major provides students with both linguistic proficiency and familiarity with the cultures and literatures of the Spanish-speaking world. Spanish is the official language of 21 countries as well as the native language of many people in the United States, which currently ranks as the third largest Spanish-speaking country in the world (after Mexico and Colombia). In an increasingly global society, the Spanish degrees offered by Penn State help students to participate actively in today's interconnected world.

Why Study Spanish?

You might like this program if:

  • you are passionate about serving others at home and abroad;
  • you are fascinated by language, how it works, and how a language changes from one region to another;
  • you understand that proficiency in Spanish opens a lot of doors;
  • you want to share your passion for the Spanish language and culture with your students, in a career in education;
  • you love to travel; and/or
  • you are a foodie, a film-buff, a word-gamer, or an adventurer.

Potential Careers

A degree in Spanish will prepare you to make a significant impact in the service of the Spanish-speaking community in the United States, as Spanish is increasingly necessary in the professions, business, and government. It will also open opportunities to live and work abroad, whether in vibrant, modern cities or in the service of developing communities. With your enhanced communication skills and global awareness, you will be a strong candidate for almost any job. If teaching is your passion, your Spanish degree will lead to your success in the Spanish language classroom at home and the English language classroom abroad. Your degree in Spanish will be highly prized by employers in the following fields.

  • Business
  • Government
  • Health care
  • Law
  • Law enforcement
  • Teaching and education

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish will prepare students for a teaching career and is extremely valuable in many other career paths and choices. It can also lead to advanced degrees in the fields below.

  • Spanish literature or linguistics
  • General linguistics
  • Second language acquisition
  • Comparative literature
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • International business
  • International relations or politics
  • Education
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Environmental and sustainability studies
  • Labor and employment relations