Majors & Minors


Study the fourth most widely spoken language in the world with internationally renowned scholars of language and literature.


María de los Ángeles Rodriguez Cadena

Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair


Olin 306

María de los Ángeles Rodriguez Cadena

Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair

Granada, Spain, summer 2017
Granada, Spain, summer 2017

Why study Spanish? Spanish is the official language of 20 countries, and the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico. In an age of globalization and economic interdependence, studying foreign languages is crucial to success in a 21st-century career. Majoring or minoring in Spanish at Southwestern will not only improve your thinking and prepare you to make significant contributions in a variety of professions; it will also broaden your intercultural perspective and empower you to communicate with the more than 527 million people around the world who speak the language. And did you know that research has shown that bilingualism and multilingualism increase cognitive function, such as memory and perception? So not only will you be able to speak a second language, study abroad, and be engaged with the community, but you’ll also improve your mind.

Through speaking and listening comprehension, you will acquire strong communication skills and explore how the Spanish language works: How do words, concepts, and metaphors vary across languages? How does Spanish help us understand the world in a different way? By also immersing yourself in cultural works of the Spanish-speaking world, you’ll develop the ability to analyze and critically evaluate works of literature, film, and other artistic representations while thinking about how cultural practices differ from country to country and even between regions where different dialects of Spanish are spoken. Whether you are brand new to the language or grew up speaking Spanish in the home, we have courses that will fit your interests and needs.

At SU, you will improve your linguistic fluency and enhance your cultural immersion through various high-impact experiences led by our award-winning faculty. Our transformative study abroad programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Granada, Spain, empower you to practice your language skills while conversing about culture, politics, and current events with native speakers. Internships in Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and throughout Europe provide you with valuable language-study and career-training opportunities. And through community-engaged learning, our partnerships with local organizations and school districts enable you to volunteer in immigrant support services, participate in dual-language classrooms, and teach or tutor ESL.

True to the Paideia spirit, students studying Spanish at Southwestern often double-major or minor in other fields, such as business, Latin American and Border studies, education, biology, communication studies, political science, and international studies. By making connections with other disciplines and expanding your oral and written communication skills, you will be prepared to pursue a number of careers beyond graduation. Our alumni have gone on to work as marketing professionals at a Chilean vineyard, doctors in Hispanic communities, coordinators for tourism bureaus, researchers and teachers in selective graduate programs, and so much more!


Featured Alumni Stories

Rabati, the recently renovated castle that was in Ellermann's permanent site city of Akhaltsikhe.

Happy Accidents

Serendipity led Kristin Ellermann ’10 to major in Latin American studies, study abroad, join the Peace Corps, and become an educator.

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For many alumni expats, Southwestern provided various springboards to becoming a global citizen—jumping-off points discovered not in a foreign country but, rather, directly on campus and within U.S. borders.

Finding Common Ground

Southwestern University alumni take a path to global citizenship.

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Megan Schubert Leese ’01

Looking out for the Community

Inspired by a service trip to Honduras during one eye-opening spring break, Megan Schubert Leese ’01 now champions public health.

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Spanish News

Traci Giuliano

At Work in the Classroom

Coming soon to a Southwestern University classroom near you: career-readiness skills and career exploration opportunities!

Catherine Hiebel ’22 and Melina Boutris ’22

Two Seniors Receive Fulbright Awards for 2022–2023

Catherine Hiebel ’22 and Melina Boutris ’22 will teach English in Spain and Austria, respectively.

Professor of Spanish and Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Endowed Professor Catherine Bourland Ross

The Professor Chronicles: Catherine Bourland Ross

Professor of Spanish and Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Endowed Professor Catherine Bourland Ross fosters transformation in her students by focusing on the 5 Cs of language learning: communication, culture, connections, comparisons, and communities.