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UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Spanish and Portuguese

Division of Humanities and Fine Arts
Phelps Hall 4206

Undergraduate Advisor: : Elena Báez 
Telephone: (805) 893-3161
Undergraduate e-mail:

Graduate Program Coordinator: Jeremy Moore
Telephone: (805) 893-2131
Graduate e-mail: 

Department Chair: Silvia Bermúdez


The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers undergraduates an opportunity to master the four fundamental linguistic skills—speaking, understanding, reading, and writing—in Spanish and Portuguese and to study the literary, cultural, and linguistic heritages of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking peoples in the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas, and within a global context. The department offers the B.A. degree in Spanish and in Portuguese, and the MA/PhD and PhD in Hispanic languages and literatures in three different specializations: Spanish and Spanish-American literature, Luso-Brazilian literature and Iberian linguistics.

 Students interested in a Spanish or Portuguese major or minor should meet with department advisors at the beginning of each quarter. Qualified staff in the Department office are available on a regular basis to advise on academic matters.

Qualified students majoring in Spanish or Portuguese may spend a semester or year at the university’s Education Abroad center at one of the following locations: Madrid, Barcelona, Córdoba, Granada, Mexico City, San José, Santiago (Chile) Rio de Janeiro, or Bahía.

 Students who complete the major in Spanish or Portuguese may enter a variety of careers and graduate programs including education, public policy (government institutions, NGOs or NPOs), international trade and finance, interpreting and translation, travel, communications, publishing, public relations, and further graduate work in medical or law school. It is important to keep in mind that many of these professional careers require training beyond the undergraduate level, and students with such interests should discuss their plans with an advisor as early as possible. 

Students with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish or Portuguese who are interested in pursuing a California Teaching Credential should contact the credential advisor in the Graduate School of Education as soon as possible. Successful completion of an advanced degree in Spanish is required for issuance of the Community College Instructor’s Credential. Students interested in the related professional preparation program should contact the credential advisor prior to the fall quarter of the year in which the advanced degree will be completed.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCSB is one of the first in the United States to include in its curriculum all five of the languages and literatures of the Iberian Peninsula (Spanish, Portuguese, Basque, Catalan, and Galician). The curriculum also covers the whole spectrum of Hispanic literary traditions, from the Middle Ages to U.S. Chicano and Latino literature. 

Center for Portuguese Studies provides support for teaching and degree programs and promotes the study of the literatures, language, and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. Services and activities include awarding student scholarships and stipends; hosting colloquia; maintaining the center library; and sponsoring a publications series, as well as a scholarly journal, “Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies.” The Center is made possible by an endowment from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal. 

Portuguese Lectureship. The Portuguese government, through the Instituto Camões, established the first Portuguese Lectureship in the United States at UCSB in 1973. It provides a visiting lecturer annually. 

The Center for Basque Studies at UC Santa Barbara, supported by the establishment in 1993 of an endowed chair from the Autonomous Basque Government, the Jose Migel Barandiaran Chair of Basque Studies and an ongoing agreement with the Etxepare Basque Institute, focuses on the teaching and study of the Basque Country’s rich history, culture, and language (Euskara), as well as the diffusion of Basque culture in the U.S.

In collaboration with the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Center for Basque Studies at UCSB offers several upper division courses on Basque language, literature and culture every year, funding opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct individual research projects on Basque subjects, and facilitates stays to improve Basque language skills by experiencing life and culture in the Basque Country first-hand.

Center for Catalan Studies. Created by an agreement with the University of Alicante (Spain), this program aims at the dissemination of Catalan culture and provides three visiting lecturers annually. The center sponsors courses, lectures, and conferences.

Samuel A. Wofsy and Robert E. Wilson Awards. Each year the Department awards two Wofsy Fellowships to outstanding graduate students at the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. The Department also awards two Wilson Scholarships to outstanding undergraduate students.

Senior Honors Program in Spanish or Portuguese

Qualified seniors will be invited to participate in an honors program, designed to allow them to either a) complete a capstone seminar, or b) pursue independent research on a topic of particular interest to them. Requirements for admission to the program include 105 units of course credits, completion of a minimum of 30 upper-division units in the major, minimum overall grade-point average of 3.0, and a grade-point average of 3.5 or better in the major. Honors graduates will be identified each year at the head of the graduation list in Spanish or Portuguese and will be designated on university records and diplomas with the legend Distinction in the Major, as well as recognized at the annual Department awards ceremony.