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World Languages & Cultures

BA in Language and Area Studies: Spanish/Latin America

The BA in Language and Area Studies is designed for students with a strong interest in a region of the world and in a language of that region. This innovative program achieves a balance between humanities and social sciences courses, combined with an advanced level of foreign language study.


Admission to the Program

To be considered for freshman admission, an applicant should have earned at least a 3.00 average in secondary school. Students from other regionally accredited collegiate institutions, and students in other programs at American University who have completed the freshman year, should maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) to be considered for transfer to the program. 

University Requirements

  • A total of 120 credit hours 
  • 6 credit hours of college writing 
  • 3 credit hours of college mathematics or the equivalent by examination 

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and
    Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same

Major Requirements

  • 51 credit hours with grades of C or better 
  • Proficiency in the appropriate foreign language demonstrated by achieving a B (3.00) average or better for all course work in the foreign language taken in the Department of Language and Foreign Studies. 

Students may, where appropriate, and with Faculty Advisory Committee approval, select special topics courses to fulfill requirements. Student may also apply up to 3 credit hours toward the major from an approved internship or cooperative education field experience. Study abroad course credits may be used toward the major with the approval of the Faculty Advisory Committee. 

Course Requirements

Foundation Courses (9 credit hours)

  • SISU-105 World Politics FA3 (3) 
  • One intercultural communication course from the following:
  • SISU-140 Cross Cultural Communication FA3 (3)
  • SIS-360 Topics in Identity, Race, Gender, and Culture: Foundations of International Communication (3)
  • One comparative politics course from the following:
  • GOVT-130 Comparative Politics (3) 
  • GOVT-231 Third World Politics (3) 
  • GOVT-232 Politics of Post industrial Societies (3) 

Foreign Language Courses (18 credit hours)

  • 18 credit hours of course work in a single foreign language at the 300 level or above. 

Area Studies (21 credit hours)

  • 15 credit hours, with 12 credit hours at the 300 level or above,  in humanities courses, including 3 credit hours from the Department of History (HIST-xxx) and an additional 3 credit hours of course work with a strong historical component, from the following. Other appropriate area studies courses may be substituted with the approval of the major advisor. 

Spanish/Latin America  

  • HIST-241 Colonial Latin America (3) 
  • HIST-242 Latin America since Independence (3) 
  • HIST-440 Latin American Studies (3) (topics) 
  • SPAN-210 Latin America: History, Art, Literature (3) 
  • SPAN-357 Introduction to Latin American Literature (3) 
  • SPAN-458 Introduction to Spanish Translation (3) 
  • SPAN-459 Advanced Spanish Translation (3) 
  • SPAN-450 Spanish Civilization I: Spain (3)
  • SPAN-456 Spanish Topics (3)
  • SPAN-491 Spanish Internship: Proyecto Amistad (2–6) 
  • SPAN-554 Classics of Latin American Literature (3) 
  • SPAN-559 Colloquium on Latin America (3) 
  • 6 credit hours of course work in social science courses, selected from the following. Other appropriate area studies courses may be substituted with the approval of the major advisor. 

Spanish/Latin America 

  • ANTH-439 Culture, History, Power, Place (3) (topics) 
  • ECON-351 Comparative Economic Systems (3) 
  • ECON-361 Economic Development (3) 
  • ECON-318 Economic History (3) 
  • GOVT-432 Political Institutions and Processes in Selected Countries (3) (topics) 
  • GOVT-532 Political Institutions and Processes in Selected Regions (3) (topics) 
  • HIST-241 Colonial Latin America (3) 
  • HIST-242 Latin America since Independence (3) 
  • HIST-440 Latin American Studies (3) (topics) 
  • SISU-214 Contemporary Latin America (3) 
  • SISU-240 International Development (3) 
  • SIS-577 International Relations of the Americas (3) 
  • SOCY-531 Transnational Reach: Latin America (3) 

Senior Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • Students enroll either in an SIS comparative seminar or in an approved topics or seminar course in Language and Foreign Studies 

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors, students must be admitted to the University Honors Program, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50, and receive grades of B or better in all University Honors course work. There are three levels of University Honors course requirements: Level I (100-200-level); Level II (300-level and above); and Level III (Honors Capstone Project). The department Honors coordinator advises students in the University Honors Program regarding requirements for graduating with University Honors in the major. For more information, go to the University Honors Program.


Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its accelerated bachelor’s/master’s programs. Undergraduate students may complete up to 3 credits for every 9 credits required for the graduate degree that may be applied to the requirements for both degree programs.  The department that oversees the graduate program the student enters will determine if the courses the undergraduate student completes will satisfy master’s degree requirements. 

Bachelor’s/master’s students must complete at least 18 in-residence credit hours at the graduate level after the bachelor’s degree is earned and  maintain continuous, sequential enrollment in the two programs. Students must finish the master’s degree requirements within three years from the date of first enrollment in the master’s program.