Modern Languages and Literatures


The faculty in the Spanish & Hispanic Studies Program at Union College welcomes you to an exciting and transformative journey through the Spanish language and the cultures of Spain, Latin America, and US Latinx and diaspora communities. From the moment you step foot in our classrooms, you become part of a caring learning community that emphasizes the importance of faculty-student interactions, student-centered learning, immersive and hands-on projects, deep critical and analytical thinking, and highly creative and innovative applications across a broad set of technologies, disciplines and professional fields.

We have designed our curriculum with you in mind! You can design and customize your learning through a broad set of events, actions, and goals meaningful to you. You can even study independently in another country! The curriculum provides you with the knowledge and skills you can apply to new and diverse professional and personal contexts and situations. And we constantly encourage you to expand your vision and understanding of yourself and others, as well as the impact that the learning of Spanish language and culture can have in your life, your career, and your community.

We offer all levels of learning in Spanish in addition to an exciting array of classes in English (what we call MLTs- Modern Languages and Literatures in Translation). Every year students gain minors, major, double majors, or what the college calls interdepartmental majors (imagine taking two majors and smashing them together to become an ID Major). And did you know that you can even create your own major at Union College called an “Organizing Theme Major”? This is an option through which the study of Spanish language and culture can lead to exciting results. For instance, imagine joining the fields of Spanish + Environmental Engineering + Digital Art - or - Spanish + Africana Studies + Political Studies. Innovation lies at the intersections.

Beginning in the intermediate Spanish sequence, you can take classes that develop your language skills through topics as diverse as sustainability and environmental studies, innovation and entrepreneurship, race and power, immigration and border studies, art, culture and urban design, intervention and activism, digital storytelling, literature and film, women, gender, and LGBTQ studies, and more. Our courses provide you with a broad set of perspectives, vocabularies, and approaches that you can apply to your interests, your careers, and your life.

Spanish class with David Collinge, visiting assistant professor of Spanish

Our classes and our faculty-led mini and full term abroad offerings as well as our language clubs, are all about immersing you into the Spanish culture and language through hands-on projects, first-hand experiences and internships, digitally connected and engaging projects using technologies like your phone apps, virtual and augmented reality, video editing, story mapping, blogging, op-ed writing, and so much more. Our classes engage students with authentic materials through 360 degree technology, through social media, videos and films, newspapers and podcasts, blogs, poetry and short stories, video games, and other storytelling platforms.

The faculty members in the Spanish and Hispanic Studies program are fully dedicated to your learning, to providing you with expansive, creative and, yes, fun and engaging opportunities that will make you want to take many more classes with us. (And before you know it, you will have gained a minor or major with us, and we will have had dozens of super interesting conversations. For instance, you may have published an article, worked with ESL students at a charter school, or translated a brochure for a community outreach program!)

We are a highly dynamic and active group of scholars with strong publication records and worldwide name recognition, and we are teachers with a deep commitment to cutting edge pedagogy. We continue to learn so that we can pass on that learning to you. We have lived, grown up and worked in Puerto Rico, Chile, Perú, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and Spain. We are of Colombian, Puerto Rican, Peruvian, US, and, yes, even Korean and German descent. In essence, we bring a diversity of perspectives, experiences, vocabulary and accents to the classroom. We know what it’s like to learn a language, to be immersed in a new culture, and to apply new learning to new environments, situations, and disciplines. We know how important it is to always be there for our students, not just as teachers, but also as mentors and individuals who care, deeply, about the intellectual growth of every one of our students.

Whether you want to go to law school, work in the field of environmental studies, health, education, criminal justice, psychology, marketing, or you just don’t know yet, and you want to explore your options (which is what a liberal education is all about), a degree in Spanish & Hispanic Studies expands how you think about the world around you, and also exponentially increases your professional marketability.

  • 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.

  • Requirements






  • Courses
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  • Which Class is Right for You?

    SPN 100 - Spanish for Beginners 1 (To enroll get on waitlist)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 0 - 2 years of high school Spanish

    SPN 101 - Spanish for Beginners 2 (Enroll on Self-Service)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 2 - 3 years of high school Spanish
    • Taken SPN 100

    SPN 102 - Spanish for Beginners 3 (Enroll on Self-Service)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 3 years of high school Spanish
    • Taken SPN 101

    SPN 200 - Spanish for Intermediate Learners 1 (Enroll on Self-Service)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 3 - 4 years of high school Spanish no AP
    • 3 - 4 years of high school Spanish AP without test
    • 3 - 4 years of high school Spanish AP score of 1 or 2
    • Taken SPN 102

    SPN 201 - Spanish for Intermediate Learners 2 (Enroll on Self-Service)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 4 years of high school Spanish
    • 4 years of high school Spanish AP score 3+
    • Taken SPN 200

    SPN 250 - 299 - Spanish without boarders Español Sin Fronteras (Enroll on Self-Service)
    For students with one of the following:

    • 4+ years of high school Spanish
    • 4 years of high school Spanish AP score 4+
    • Heritage speakers
    • Taken SPN 201

  • Spanish Table

    Mondays @ Common Lunch in Beuth House

    The Spanish Language Table (MESA) is a weekly meeting held by the Spanish Club. In these meetings we practice and learn more about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture by having conversations, trying food from different Spanish speaking countries, and playing games. The Spanish Table is held once a week during Common Hour. Please contact us for specifics. Everyone is welcome to attend!


    @union.spanishclub instagram

  • 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.
    ESL Cafe Job Center – ESL jobs around the world

  • Internet resources