Modern Languages and Literatures


Spanish class with David Collinge, visiting assistant professor of Spanish

The Spanish faculty at Union College welcomes you to an exceptionally exciting journey through Spain, Latin America, and the US Latino communities. We are a dynamic and diverse group of faculty members whose research interests infuse and impassion our classroom teaching. We engage students in lively discussions, consistent development of written linguistic skills, deep critical questioning and creative thinking, and a broadening awareness and understanding of cultural diversity. Inside and outside our courses, we further knowledge of the Spanish language, the literatures, cultures, and contemporary life and politics of Spanish, Hispanic and US Latino communities. Our academic program encompasses highly dynamic and varied selections of course offerings, terms abroad, extracurricular activities, and interdisciplinary initiatives.

The Spanish section offers all levels of Spanish language learning in addition to an exciting array of upper-level courses in Spanish and in English (what we call MLT’s). Our junior year courses (300-level) are divided into four thematic clusters that include “Studies in Spanish Peninsular Literatures and Cultures,” “Studies in Latin American Literatures and Cultures,” “Studies in Latina/o Literatures and Cultures,” Studies in Contemporary Communications,” and “Studies in Comparative Perspectives.” Within these thematic clusters, students will be able to take classes that engage with the diversity of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino languages, literatures and cultures. They will have the opportunity to look into the exciting times and lives of fiction writers, dramatists, poets, artists and film directors, and read a large variety of texts through the lens of politics, ethnicity, class, space, gender, sexuality, and so on.

Through our 300-level courses, students at Union College also have the unique opportunity to take classes on Spanish for a variety of professions, including Medicine, Economics, and Business, to take classes that emphasize cross-cultural conversations and linguistics, and to explore the use and meaning of digital and social media in Spanish and Hispanic culture through iPads, remixing programs, video games, music videos, reality television programs, and so on.

Our senior-level classes (the 400-level classes) span a host of incredibly interesting subjects through which students can freely “cross borders,” “dress up the canon,” “trash and transgress” or move “adrift” through studies in film, fiction, theater, poetry, digital media, visual art, reality television, documentaries, biographies, blogs, newspaper articles, and so much more. These classes are based on faculty members’ personal research projects and interests and provide cutting-edge opportunities for students studying Spanish for any future profession.

The Spanish and Hispanic Studies program also offers an exciting host of courses taught in English (MLT’s, which stands for “Modern Literature in Translation”). In these courses, students will get to learn, even hike the Spanish trail to Santiago de Compostela, they will learn about dictators, bullfighters, and flamenco, watch and analyze films from Mexico and Brazil, engage in deep conversation about the political interactions between the North and the South, examine New York Puerto Rican and Dominican Identities, examine Generation X in the Hispanic world and beyond, and even talk about Chicana “Sex Goddesses.”

  • Why study Spanish?

    Spanish is the third most-spoken language among the more than 5,000 languages spoken in the world today. The U.S. Bureau of the Census has predicted that the number of Spanish language speakers in the U.S. will surpass the 100 million mark by 2050.

    There are many reasons to study Spanish that are related to these demographic changes, but there is also the richness of the language and literature, with masterworks by such artists as Cervantes, Lorca, Neruda, Màrquez and Borges.

    As a Spanish and Hispanic Studies major, you will enjoy an exciting journey across Spain, Latin America and the U.S. Latino communities through an array of exceptional course offerings. You will study with a diverse group of faculty members whose research interests infuse their classroom teaching. They engage students in lively discussions, consistent development of written linguistic skills, deep critical questioning and creative thinking, and a broadening awareness and understanding of cultural diversity.

  • Courses & requirements
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  • Spanish Table

    Mondays @ Common Lunch in Beuth House
    ¿Interesado en tener una conversación en español? Entonces olvídate de las inhibiciones y asiste todos los lunes a las Tertulias en Español en el segundo piso de Reamer Campus Center, sala 203 de 12:50 p.m. -1:45 p.m. Todos están invitados; alumnos, profesores, e hispano parlantes por igual. ¡Te esperamos!

  • Sigma Delta Pi

    The purposes of this society are:

    1. To honor those who attain excellence in the study of the Spanish language and in the study of the literature and culture of the Spanish-speaking peoples;
    2. To honor those who have made the Hispanic contributions to modern culture better known in the English-speaking world;
    3. To encourage college and university students to acquire a greater interest in and a deeper understanding of Hispanic culture;
    4. To foster friendly relations and mutual respect between the nations of Hispanic speech and those of English speech;
    5. To serve its membership in ways which will contribute to the attainment of the goals and ideals of the society.

    (Article II of the Sigma Delta Pi National By-Laws)


    • Prospective members must fully meet all membership requirements:
    • They must have completed at least three years, or the equivalent, of college Spanish, including at least three semester hours of a third-year course in Hispanic literature or Hispanic culture and civilization. Those students enrolled in these courses are eligible for membership if the instructor will certify that their work is a B quality or better;
    • Their grades in all Spanish courses must average at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
    • They must rank in the upper 35% of their class (sophomore, junior, senior);
    • They must have completed at least three semesters or five quarters of college work;
    • They must show genuine interest in things Hispanic and be of good moral character.


    The society shall receive into its membership, irrespective of membership in or affiliation with other organizations, only those who attain its standards of high academic achievement in the study of the Spanish language, the literature and culture of Hispanic nations, and other college-level subjects. Membership may also be granted to those persons who give evidence of professional merit, proficiency, or special distinction in the fields of Hispanic study and culture or who have made significant contributions to these fields of endeavor. Membership shall be conferred in strict accordance with the standards established by the Association of College Honor Societies. The bases of selection shall be: (1) the scholastic or professional record of the candidate; (2) the distinction the candidate has achieved in the field of Hispanic studies; (3) the candidate’s demonstrated support of the goals and ideals of the society; (4) the character of the candidate. Reception into membership shall be without formal pledge or secret order training. (Section 1, Article III of the Sigma Delta Pi National By-Laws)


    Sigma Delta Pi Scholarship Program Annually, Sigma Delta Pi offers a generous scholarship program for summer study in Spain and Spanish America for active members who are enrolled in a college or university, are Spanish majors or minors, and have been recommended by their chapters. Scholarship applications and related information appear in the fall mailing sent to all chapters in late September/early October. Additional copies of the application may be received via email by contacting the National Executive Secretary-Treasurer. More details about the scholarships such as locations, host institutions, etc., are available on the national website ( The number of scholarships available and the rules governing them are determined annually by the Executive Committee of Sigma Delta Pi. Therefore, changes may occur from year to year depending upon numerous circumstances. At the time of this publication, there were almost forty scholarships available to our members.

    History and Description:

    Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society (La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica), was established on November 14, 1919, at the University of California in Berkeley. Its insignia is the royal seal of Fernando and Isabel, representing Castille, León and Aragón. The Society’s colors are red and gold and its flower is the red carnation.

    With the guidance of such notable Hispanists as S. Griswold Morley, Elijah C. Hills, Rudolph Schevill, Leavitt O. Wright, William Berrien, John D. Fitz-Gerald, Tomás Navarro Tomás, José Martel, Archer M. Huntington, John T. Reid, Stuart M. Gross, James O. Swain, F. Dewey Amner, Carl A. Tyre, T. Earle Hamilton, Dolores Brown, Richard E. Chandler, Ignacio R.M. Galbis, John H. LaPrade and Germán D. Carrillo, the Society has expanded its activities and now has over 500 chapters. Almost all state universities have chapters, and the few that do not are now considering the founding of one.

    The following reveal the diverse nature of the colleges and universities which form the Sigma Delta Pi family: the Catholic University of America, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Southern Methodist University, Baruch College-CUNY, the University of Hawaii, Oral Roberts University, Georgian Court College, Stanford University, Texas Christian University, Hood College, Brigham Young University, College of William and Mary, Howard University, Friends University, Georgia Southern College, Marquette University, Baylor University, Brown University, Auburn University and The Citadel.

    In order to serve its many chapters most efficiently, the Society has a National President, an Executive Secretary-Treasurer, and five Regional Vice Presidents. All but the Executive Secretary-Treasurer are nominated and elected by the active chapter members. The Society is governed by an Executive Council consisting of the seven aforementioned officials, the Immediate Past President, and the Presidents Emeriti. The sponsor of the chapter, preferably chosen by the student members, but sometimes appointed by the department head, is of the utmost importance, for his/her wisdom, imagination and dedication largely determine the success of the local branch of the Society.

  • Spanish Club

    The Spanish Club promotes the language and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world through films, lectures, social gatherings, cooking classes, and the weekly “Spanish Table.” These co-curricular activities are excellent opportunities for students to interact with peers and faculty, and to learn about Hispanic cultures in a relaxed atmosphere. For more information, contact the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

  • Career opportunities – The essential job board for Hispanic & bilingual professionals.
    Jobs in – Jobs in Spain
    ESL Cafe Job Center – ESL jobs around the world

  • Internet resources