Languages take you places.
Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. It is the official language for more than 400 million people and is spoken in Spain, Central and South America, Mexico, the United States, the Philippines and some parts of Africa. Within the Pacific Rim context, Spanish is expected to become a major language of communication in coming years.
Spanish-speaking countries account for an increasing proportion of world trade and are becoming important target markets for New Zealand exporters. The New Zealand government has also indicated a strong interest in developing cultural links with South America.
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Why study Spanish?
Language specialists are constantly in demand in the modern world of global travel and communication. As New Zealand continues to strengthen its international relationships, there will be a need for Spanish speaking graduates to represent New Zealand’s interests in the Spanish-speaking world.
Learning a language broadens horizons. The University’s exchange programme enables you to embark on an adventure with unforgettable experiences abroad. Living for several months in a country thousands of miles from home gives a boost to your confidence and valuable first-hand knowledge and understanding of another culture.
No previous knowledge of Spanish is required.
With Spanish in your background, you can carry your language skills into the fields of planning and consultancy, information sciences, journalism, publishing and advertising, finance and banking, tourism and hospitality and all levels of the education system. Depending on your choice of papers, you will be able to offer specialised skills in dual-language business management or the literature, politics, society and culture of the Spanish-speaking world.
Otago has established exchange relationships with universities in Spain and Latin America. If your marks average B or better, you may qualify to attend one of these institutions for a semester or two. Honours students are able to benefit even more with a semester of immersion, in-country study. You pay only your New Zealand fees, and complete your qualification within the same time-frame as if you had never been away. Competitive scholarships are available to support students on exchange.
Spanish at Otago
Spanish is taught through the communicative approach, which emphasises your production skills in the language you are learning. You will have many opportunities to improve your speaking and comprehension skills using the latest text, audio, video and internet resources, including regular screenings of recent Spanish-language movies.
The University of Otago has a collaboration agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Education which means our students have priority in the language assistance programme in Spain where they can choose to study for either half a year or a full year.
Every year the Spanish programme grants an award to the top student studying towards a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Spanish.
Apart from language courses, you can also choose papers which will give you perspectives on the social values and cultural life of the many countries around the world where Spanish is spoken. Some of these courses explore the social history of a particular period, others focus on cultural specifics such as cinema, literature and the arts.
These courses reflect the varied research interests of the staff in the Spanish programme: Latin American narrative, poetry, micro fiction, linguistics, historiography of linguistics, Spanish variation, Latin American and Spanish 19th century literature and 20th century popular culture.
Majors, minors and diplomas
Spanish is available as both a major and a minor subject of the Bachelor of Arts programme.
Spanish can be combined with another BA major or form part of a double degree. We offer the Diploma in Spanish Language or the Diploma in Spanish Language and Culture for students who major in other subjects. Minors in Spanish Language or Spanish Culture are available too.
For a BA majoring in Spanish you must complete 10 Spanish language and culture papers, plus an additional 10 papers either from within the department and/or from other departments. If you are considering teaching Spanish, a minor in Linguistics can help you understand the mechanics of languages and how we learn them.
The minor in Spanish Language or Spanish Culture comprises either five Spanish Language or five Spanish Culture papers. The minor can be combined with any Bachelor of Arts, Commerce, Theology or Science degree.
The Diploma in Spanish Language comprises seven Spanish language papers, two at 100 level, three at 200 level and two at 300 level.
The Diploma in Spanish Language and Culture comprises seven Spanish language and culture papers, at least two at 300 level and a combination at 100 and 200 level.
BA Honours, MA or PhD
BA Honours requires an extra year of study; you can go for one semester to a University in Spain or Latin America to experience language and culture papers taught in the target language and embedded in the cultural environment.
Students who are interested in further research in Spanish can join our MA or PhD programmes or undertake a jointly supervised postgraduate degree with other departments in the University.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Diploma in Language (DipLang)
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom)
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons))
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts)
- Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework))
- Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis))
Diploma in Language (DipLang) endorsed in Spanish
Students admitted directly to papers at 200- or 300-level must replace their prerequisites with other papers in the subject concerned.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Spanish
SPAN 131 Introductory Spanish 1
SPAN 132 Introductory Spanish 2
GLBL 101 Introduction to Intercultural Communication
SPAN 231 Intermediate Spanish 1
SPAN 232 Intermediate Spanish 2
SPAN 331 Advanced Spanish 1
SPAN 332 Advanced Spanish 2
Note: Students with previous knowledge of Spanish will be placed in SPAN language papers appropriate to their level. Students placed in 200- or 300-level language papers will still have to pass approved papers worth 180 points in order to major in Spanish.
180 further points; must include 54 points at 200-level or above.
Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Arts
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)) in Spanish
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Spanish
The Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) programme in Spanish is the same as the programme for the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA(Hons)).
Master of Arts (Coursework) (MA(Coursework)) in Spanish
SPAN 441 Advanced Topics in Spanish and two other approved 400-level papers.
Master of Arts (Thesis) (MA(Thesis)) in Spanish
Note: Students who have not completed a Bachelor of Arts (BA(Hons)) in Spanish or a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts Subjects (PGDipArts) in Spanish must complete the required papers for the BA(Hons) in Spanish prior to undertaking the thesis.
Minor subject requirements
Spanish as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
Five SPAN papers, at least three of which must be above 100-level, including at least one at 300-level.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|SPAN131||2021||Introductory Spanish 1||18 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|SPAN132||2021||Introductory Spanish 2||18 points||Second Semester|
|SPAN231||2021||Intermediate Spanish 1||18 points||First Semester|
|SPAN232||2021||Intermediate Spanish 2||18 points||Second Semester|
|SPAN243||2021||Latin American Culture and Literature||18 points||First Semester|
|SPAN250||2021||Sacred Stories: Myths and Legends in Hispanic Culture||18 points||First Semester|
|SPAN251||2021||Latin American Cultural Travel||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SPAN331||2021||Advanced Spanish 1||18 points||First Semester|
|SPAN332||2021||Advanced Spanish 2||18 points||Second Semester|
|SPAN341||2021||Special Topic in Hispanic Studies||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SPAN343||2021||Latin American Popular Culture||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SPAN350||2021||Sacred Stories: Myths and Legends in Hispanic Culture (Advanced)||18 points||First Semester|
|SPAN351||2021||Latin American Cultural Travel (Advanced)||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SPAN441||2021||Advanced Topics in Spanish||20 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|SPAN451||2021||Studies in Spanish||20 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|SPAN452||2021||Studies in Spanish 2||20 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|SPAN490||2021||Dissertation||60 points||First Semester, Second Semester|
|SPAN590||2021||Research Dissertation||60 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|