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Department of Spanish and Portuguese

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Why study Spanish and Portuguese?

Because fluency in more than one language and culture and analytical understandings of literary and cultural texts create educated citizens.

The department offers course work for students seeking proficiency in a foreign language and for majors in Spanish or a related field.


Students who have not studied Spanish in high school should seek permission to enroll in SPAN 104. For permission to enroll in this course, a student must show his or her high school transcript to the pre-advising specialist in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Students who have had limited study of Spanish (1 to 3 years in high school or 1 semester of Spanish at another institution of higher learning, equivalent to SPAN 104/SPAN 105) and are not placed in the intermediate level should enroll in SPAN 111. Only students who complete SPAN 104 or SPAN 105 at KU are eligible to enroll in SPAN 108.

Students with 2 to 4 years of high school Spanish can be placed in the intermediate level (SPAN 212, SPAN 216, or SPAN 220) by taking the placement examination and consulting the pre-advising specialist.

Students registered with Disability Resources should contact them for placement advising.

On the basis of examination scores and consultation with the student, the department may grant 0, 3, or 6 credit hours for the CEEB Advanced Placement program. Students should have their examination and scores forwarded to the department chair.

Retroactive Credit

Students with no prior college or university Spanish course credit are eligible for retroactive credit according to this formula:

  • 3 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a third-level Spanish course (SPAN 212) and receives a grade of C or higher.
  • 6 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a fourth-level Spanish course (SPAN 216) and receives a grade of C or higher.
  • 9 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a 3-credit-hour Spanish course with a fourth-level course as a prerequisite and receives a grade of C or higher.

Students interested in retroactive credit should consult the department before enrolling.

Students entering KU with previous study of Portuguese should take the Portuguese placement examination administered by the department.

Courses for Nonmajors

Students may fulfill the College foreign language requirement by

  1. Passing the proficiency examination or
  2. Completing SPAN 216 or PORT 216 or
  3. Completing a course in Spanish or Portuguese that has SPAN 216 or PORT 216 as a prerequisite.

Candidates for the B.S. in education who are majoring or minoring in Spanish or minoring in Brazilian Studies should consult the School of Education.

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