Spanish Department

The Department of Spanish provides two programs designed to deepen students’ understanding of cultural difference and diversity: a language program that fulfills the all-College distribution requirement in foreign language and an academic major program.

In its commitment to the study of foreign languages, the Department of Spanish strives to prepare students for active engagement in the Spanish-speaking world, both within the United States and abroad. Our language courses facilitate oral and written communication by presenting grammar in a cultural context. The language classroom provides a space for students to appreciate cultural connections and differences and to grow into their role as global citizens.

The academic major program offers a course of study in Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Latino/a literature and culture. Spanish majors attain depth and breadth of literary and cultural knowledge across historical periods and geographical areas.

The program is committed to promoting greater critical awareness of the differentials of power that perpetuate social injustice and inform cultural and cross-cultural assumptions. Students acquire the skills to become close readers and critical thinkers and to explore different modes of cultural production within specific social, political, and historical contexts. Our pedagogical goal is to prepare students to be productive critics of the world beyond the texts. To that end, students examine the ways in which different texts challenge or affirm aesthetic conventions and dominant social narratives, including race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and imperialism. In the process, our majors are encouraged to analyze the connections among systems of domination and to develop as scholars and promoters of social justice.

Achievement Test: Students seeking entrance credit in Spanish and wishing to pursue Spanish at Colby must have taken the College Board SAT Subject Test in Spanish or must take the placement test during orientation.


Chair, Professor Luis Millones
Professors Jorge Olivares and Luis Millones; Associate Professor Betty Sasaki; Assistant Professors Dean Allbritton, María Bollo-Panadero, Rebeca Hey-Colón, Anita Savo, and Bretton White; Visiting Assistant Professors Pablo García-Piñar, Michael Martínez-Raguso, Rodolfo Mata, and Tracy Quan; Language Assistant Natalia Fernández-Fraile

Requirements +

Requirements for the Major in Spanish

Spanish 135 and 231 and at least seven additional literature, culture, or film courses at or above the 200 level, including at least one course in each of the following areas: Spanish, Latin American, and U.S. Latino/a literatures/cultures. Majors must take two courses at the 200 level or above on literature written before 1800 and two on literature written after 1800. Senior majors must enroll in 300- or 400-level courses and must take at least one senior seminar. Independent-study work does not replace required courses. Majors are strongly advised to spend one academic year studying abroad at the junior level. A minimum of one semester’s study abroad at the junior level is required of majors. Majors must matriculate in a study-abroad program that offers university-level courses (not in a language acquisition program); all course work abroad must be conducted in Spanish. A minimum grade point average of 2.7 is required for permission to study abroad. Students who do not meet this minimum requirement will not be able to retain their Spanish major. All study-abroad plans for students majoring in Spanish must be approved in advance by the chair of the Department of Spanish. Eligibility prerequisites for Spanish majors to study abroad include the completion of Spanish 135 and Spanish 231 with a grade of C or better.

The following statements also apply:

  1. The point scale for retention of the major is based on all Spanish Department courses numbered above 131.
  2. No major requirements may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.
  3. Students must receive a grade of C or better for the course to count toward the major.
  4. All majors must take and pass with a grade of C or better at least one course in Spanish approved by the major advisor each semester until graduation.
  5. No more than the equivalent of two semester courses of foreign-study credit may be counted toward the major per semester abroad, or four semester courses per year abroad.
  6. No more than the equivalent of four semester courses of foreign-study or transfer credit may be counted toward the major.

Honors in Spanish

Students majoring in Spanish with a 3.7 major average or better and an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher at the end of their sixth semester may apply for admission to the honors program by the Friday after fall break of their senior year. Permission is required; guidelines are established by the department. Successful completion of the work of the honors thesis and of the major will enable the student to graduate with “Honors in Spanish.”