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Spanish Undergraduate Study

Spanish, the world’s third largest language and second in terms of native speakers, is spoken by nearly 500 million people across the globe. The over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. have become the fastest-growing social and political segment in North America. Because of its prominence, learning to communicate in Spanish can be essential for those entering the global economic market and numerous professions.

Spanish Studies at UNC-CH thrives on innovative literary, linguistic and theoretical approaches to the Spanish-speaking world, and includes the study of indigenous, Afro-descendant, Asian, and other cultures. Our majors and minors obtain well-grounded and comprehensive critical knowledge of the literatures, languages, and cultures of Spain and the Americas, often through collaborative research with faculty. Qualifying Spanish majors have the opportunity to pursue an Honor’s Thesis with one of our faculty members.

Students may choose a major in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures or Hispanic Linguistics, or select a minor in Hispanic Studies, Spanish for the Professions with specialized tracks in business, health and law, or in Spanish Translation and Interpreting. Students have the opportunity to spend a summer, semester or academic year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country to further their work towards these majors or minors, or to simply refine their language skills and enhance cultural competency. While at UNC, students can participate in a variety of extracurricular and service opportunities offered through the department and campus organizations, including the Sigma Delta Pi honor society, film series, conversation tables, the Spanish House living and learning community, community engagement, peer tutoring, and student publications.

Click on a class for more information, visit UNC’s catalog page.

Spanish Undergraduate Support

Gosia Lee
Hispanic Literatures & Cultures Major, Hispanic Studies Minor Advisor
Martha Ruiz-Garcia
Hispanic Linguistics Major Advisor
Hélène de Fays
Interim Spanish Translation & Interpreting Minor Advisor
Elizabeth Bruno
Spanish Minor for the Professions
Sheena Melton
Undergraduate Student Services Specialist
Anastacia Kohl
Director of Spanish Language Instruction

What Our Students Are Saying

Esther Son
Current Undergraduate Student
As a student in STEM at UNC, I am used to large lectures in which my individual voice often feels lost. On the other hand, in my smaller, discussion-based Spanish classes, I have always felt that my ideas/opinions are recognized. I have gotten to know my Spanish professors personally, some of whom have taken significant time to support me through various endeavors and independent project developments. I am particularly thankful for Dr. Helene de Fays, who has provided valuable career, academic, and personal advice and mentorship throughout all four-years at UNC.
Regan Curtis
Current Undergraduate Student
As a senior Hispanic Literatures and Cultures major, I have spent the last four years taking ROMS classes in Dey Hall. My favorite aspect of this department is the faculty; each professor is clearly passionate about their work and students. The past three years I have been working with Dr. Hélène de Fays, my research adviser, to study reproductive health in Guatemala. I even got to work in Antigua, Guatemala this summer! I also did a smaller research project that involved a close reading of “La Bastarda” by Trifonia Melibea Obono. From research to taking classes in Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese, I love the rich variety of opportunities that this department offers.
Oscar Lasserra
Current Undergraduate Student
The Romance Studies Department has been my “home away from home.” Coming from Miami as a transfer student, I never thought of hearing Spanish so frequently at UNC. However, this department, the faculty, and the students made this transition one of ease. The Romance Studies Department is a safe place for me; a place where I feel welcomed, valued, and proud of being a native Spanish speaker. I am grateful for the courses and opportunities that this department has giving me as a Hispanic Literature and Culture major.
Brenna Kuder
Undergraduate Alum
ROMS helped me to unlock some amazing opportunities in my undergraduate career. One of the professors helped me study abroad in Ecuador, where I gained a deeper understanding of the language. I want to go into agriculture, and with the skills that I was taught in my many Spanish classes, I was able to tour large flower farms while abroad and understand the intricacies of their day-to-day operations. That knowledge has already helped me in my farming jobs at home, as well as given me the chance to work beyond the U.S. I am excited to see where my Spanish minor takes me, and I am grateful to the grammar, vocabulary, and culture that I studied during my time with ROMS.
Hannah Rayala
Undergraduate Alum
I started my Spanish for the Medical Professions minor during my sophomore year of undergrad realizing that I needed a break from my many science classes. I found that and so much more with my minor in the ROMS department. I’ve enjoyed every Spanish class I’ve taken, especially SPAN 261 and 321 with Profesora Hélène de Fays. In particular, I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in casual Spanish conversations with my classmates and investigate topics of interest in Latin America. Overall, it has given me a balanced and well-rounded outlook on my chosen career path and made me realize the importance of human connection and communication, a consideration I will carry into my medical career.
William Thomason
William Thomason
Undergrad Alumni
Because of the knowledge and experience I gained from my Spanish classes at UNC, I am able to comfortably work with Spanish-speaking youth in New York City and abroad. With a broad knowledge of the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries, along with Spanish communication skills I learned throughout my time at UNC, I lead culturally responsive arts workshops with confidence. My work in the international non-profit sector has been enhanced because of the abilities that I sharpened through my experience in the UNC Department of Romance Studies.

Learn more about Language Placement and UNC’s Language Requirements.

Be sure to explore opportunities for:

Study Abroad
The Department of Romance Studies strongly encourages all of its students, and especially its majors and minors, to participate in a study abroad experience. Study abroad opportunities are available in a variety of locations for a summer term, a semester, or a full year.
The Department of Romance Studies offers a gateway for research in the Humanities, including the various fields that make up Romance Studies. Research activities include the Honors Thesis, summer research fellowships, or engaging in mentoring projects with professors which lead to opportunities to present papers at conferences or for publication in the University’s undergraduate research journal.
Independent Studies
Independent studies courses (FREN 395, ITAL 395, PORT 396, or SPAN 395) allow students to undertake research on topics that are not available through normal course offerings. Independent studies courses may not be offered simply because a student cannot get into a class or due to difficulties a student may have in their scheduling of classes.
Awards & Honors Societies
Romance Studies has multiple awards and maintains three chapters of National Honor Societies for its students.