Spanish and Portuguese

Department of Spanish and Portuguese


Chair: Scott Alvord

Department Information: 

3190 JFSB



Advisement Center: 

1041 JFSB




Admission to Degree Program

Most degree programs in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are open-enrollment programs. However, students wishing to declare a major in Spanish or Portuguese are asked to first stop by the department office to fill out a clearance form in order to facilitate scheduling a meeting with a faculty advisor.

The Spanish Teaching and Spanish Translation programs are limited-enrollment programs. For information on applying to these programs, please contact the department.

The Discipline

The Spanish and Portuguese languages and literatures dominate the Iberian Peninsula, major parts of Africa, and the southern portion of the New World from Mexico to the Magellan Straits. Thirty countries have Spanish or Portuguese as an official or national language, with over 615 million speakers of these languages worldwide.

Such breadth—plus some 35 million speakers within the borders of the United States itself—gives multiple opportunities for developing skill in the spoken language, as well as in listening, reading, writing, and translation. Studying the Iberian roots of this large and important part of the population and learning about the people's perception of life also brings greater understanding of their values and their struggle for identity. A Spanish or Portuguese major makes for a demanding, intriguing, and pleasurable experience.

Career Opportunities

The field of teaching has always provided good employment opportunities for Spanish majors. In addition, opportunities for both Spanish and Portuguese have been found in government service (translation, U.S. State Department, CIA, FBI, Border Patrol, Peace Corps, NSA, USIA), business, social work, airlines, banking, etc. Many majors go on to professional schools (law, medicine, dentistry, business, etc.), where a liberal arts background is advised. A strong minor or a second major in the employment area is strongly encouraged.

Language Certificate Program

The Language Certificate Program is available in Spanish and Portuguese for all matriculated BYU students who are pursuing any BYU undergraduate degree. A student who meets the proficiency and course requirements may earn the Language Certificate. The proficiency requirement is met through the nationally recognized ACTFL Oral and Writing Proficiency Exams.

The Language Certificate Program is administered by the Center for Language Studies (3086 JFSB). For more information and course requirements, visit

General Information

Spanish Resource Center

164 University Parkway Center, (801) 378-8107 

The Ministry of Education and Culture of Spain, in connection with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES), operates the Spanish Resource Center (Centro de Recursos). The purpose of the center is to provide an ample supply of books, computer programs, and didactic materials, both printed and audiovisual, related to the teaching of Spanish language and literature. Researchers, professors, students, educational institutions, coordinators, administrators, and in general all those who may be interested in the knowledge and promotion of Spanish are welcome. To increase the prestige of the Spanish language academically as well as socially, the Spanish Resource Center:

  • Sponsors workshops, seminars, and work groups on topics related to teaching Spanish and researching linguistics and literature;

  • Organizes conferences, film series, recitals, and cultural activities in general that relate to the Spanish language and culture; and

  • Promotes and participates in all initiatives that are deemed appropriate and that favor acquisition and use of the Spanish language by students at different educational levels.

Foreign Language Student Residence

The Foreign Language Student Residence provides live-in opportunities for students in Spanish and Portuguese. A twenty-four-hour-a-day Spanish or Portuguese rule assures participants intensive use of the language, under the direction of native speakers. Prerequisite to this experience is Span 205 or Port 201 or its equivalent; any exceptions must be approved by the department. For further information contact the department secretary or the Foreign Language Student Residence Office, 3086 JFSB, (801) 422-3765.

Minor, Second Major, or Supporting Course Work Required for Spanish or Portuguese Majors

Students in the Spanish BA, Spanish Translation BA, and Portuguese BA programs are required to complete a minor (approximately 16-21 hours), second major (approximately 30-60 hours), or supporting course work (18 hours). Students in the Spanish Studies BA and Portuguese Studies BA programs, which are considered second-major programs, are required to complete a primary major in another field.

A minor is not required for students in the Spanish Teaching BA program, but a teaching minor in another subject is strongly recommended.

In order to declare a minor in Spanish Teaching or Portuguese Teaching, students must first declare a teaching major in another area.

For more information on program requirements, please refer to the webpage for each specific program.

Spanish or Portuguese Language Immersion Experience

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in an intensive Spanish or Portuguese language/culture immersion experience such as the following:

  1. Residency abroad (may include a Spanish or Portuguese LDS mission, attendance at a foreign university, an advanced exchange program, or similar intensive foreign residence).

  2. Participating in BYU Study Abroad Programs in Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.

  3. Participating in individual or group-arranged internship programs abroad as approved by the department.

  4. Living in the Foreign Language Student Residence for a year or more, pledging to use only Spanish or Portuguese within the residence.

  5. Participating in a service learning course that involves working intensively with the Spanish or Portuguese community.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The University Core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education.

  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student

  • A minimum of 120 credit hours

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Graduate Programs Available

This department also offers graduate degree programs. For more information, see Graduate Studies.