Spanish Program

The Spanish Program at San Francisco State offers students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the language, literature, and culture of Spain and Latin America in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. The program offers a Bachelor of Arts, a minor and a Master of Arts in Spanish, in addition to beginning and intermediate courses in language.

Study of another language and culture can broaden your world and improve your critical thinking skills. Becoming conversant in Spanish also has a great practical benefit. More than 400 million people speak Spanish as their native language, making it the fourth most widely spoken language in the world. It is also the second most widely spoken language in the United States, which is home to more Spanish speakers than any other country except Mexico. Studying Spanish opens doors to those communities and can lead to many exciting career possibilities.

If you are planning to enroll in our classes, please read this information: 

The Spanish program has two tracks for learning the Spanish language: one for heritage speakers and the other for students of Spanish as a second language, and all our lower-division language classes are certified as General Education. 

Depending on the level indicated by our Placement Test, you can start in any of the five designated classes, but you must always progress according to the sequence. 

If you are a heritage speaker, there is a class designed for you, SPAN 215. 

If you are a student of Spanish as a second language, you should follow this sequence: SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 205 and SPN 206. 

Before enrolling in our program, to find the most suitable class for you, please send an email to the program coordinator, Professor Ana Luengo,, who will give you access to the Placement Test.

Declare a Major/Minor in Spanish

To declare a major or minor, complete a Declaration of Major/Minor form, then make an appointment to see the program advisor. Bring a copy of your most recent university transcript to the meeting.

Prospective Undergraduates

Hello written in Spanish

Program Contacts

Program Coordinator:
Ana Luengo Palomino,

Undergraduate Advisr (A-H):
Gustavo Calderón,

Undergraduate Advisor (I-Q):
Michael Hammer,

Undergraduate Advisor (R-Z): 
Ana Luengo Palomino,

Graduate Advisor: 
Michael Hammer,

The Spanish major consists of 30 units of upper-division coursework. Up to 16 units of prerequisite coursework or demonstrated language proficiency is required to begin the major. All upper-division courses are conducted in Spanish, and students are expected to use Spanish in their speaking, reading and writing.

Preparation for Majors and Non-majors

(a) First-year courses in Spanish are designed for students who have had no previous formal training in Spanish and are not native speakers:

  • SPAN 101 and SPAN 102 (four units each) emphasize the four basic language skills, understanding, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • The second-year sequence (SPAN 205 / SPAN206) reviews and expands upon the principles learned in SPAN 101 / SPAN 102. Second-year courses are 3 units each.

(b) Heritage Spanish Students who have not had any formal training should usually enroll in SPAN 215 Spanish for Heritage Speakers.


Admission to the Program

Four years of high school Spanish are required, or four semesters of lower division college Spanish or the equivalent. Proficiency can be demonstrated by completing the necessary lower-division courses, testing out of them, or by taking the Spanish placement test. Please contact to take the placement test.


Requirements for Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (30 units)

Required Courses (18 units):

  • SPAN 301 Advanced Grammar (3 units)
  • MLL 325 Linguistics for Foreign Language (3 units)
  • SPAN 341 Introduction to the Reading of Literary Texts (3 units)
  • SPAN 401 Culture and Civilization of Spain (3 units) or SPAN 405 Culture and Civilization of Spanish America (3 units)
  • SPAN 595 Senior Seminar in Spanish or Spanish American Literature (3 units) [to be taken once in senior year]
  • SPAN 371GW History and Development of the Spanish Language -- GWAR (3 units) or MLL 400GW Reading and Analysis of Cultural Texts -- GWAR (3 units)*

*Students with double major can take the GWAR class in the other major. If that's the case, they have to take another elective course (3 units)

Electives (12 units*):

Choose any six courses in Spanish numbered 300 to 699. At least three of these courses must be at the 400 level or above.

*Students who take the GWAR course in a second major have to take 15 units of electives in the Spanish program.

NOTE: A minimum of 40 upper division units must be completed for the degree (including upper division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper division units required for graduation. In this case, additional upper division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

Minimum total: 30 units

The Spanish minor consists of up to 14 units of lower-division and from 9 to 15 units of upper-division coursework. Students must complete the lower-division sequence -- or the equivalent -- prior to beginning upper-division coursework. The program may waive some or all lower-division requirements if the student demonstrates appropriate competency through advising, by taking the Spanish placement test, or by having taken the equivalent coursework elsewhere.

Regardless of placement, however, students must pass a minimum of 15 units to successfully complete the minor; this might involve taking more upper-division electives. Students should meet with an advisor or take the placement test prior to enrolling in their first Spanish class. To take the online placement test, contact the Spanish program coordinator at


Lower Division Foundation (up to 14 units)

(a) Not Heritage Speakers of Spanish

SPAN 101 and 102 are four-unit classes and are designed for students who have had no previous formal training in Spanish and are not native speakers. These classes emphasize the four basic language skills, understanding, speaking, reading and writing.

The second-year sequence (SPAN 205 and 206) reviews and expands upon the principles learned in SPAN 101 and 102. Second-year courses are 3 units each.

  • SPAN 101: Elementary Spanish I (4 units)
  • SPAN 102: Elementary Spanish II (4 units)
  • SPAN 205: Intermediate Spanish I (3 units)
  • SPAN 206: Intermediate Spanish II (3 units)

(b) Heritage Speakers of Spanish 

(Students who speak Spanish at home but who may not have had any formal training) are encouraged to enroll in SPAN 215 (a class designed for students who are heritage speakers of Spanish but who may have little formal training.--students who pass this class are considered to have met all lower-division requirements) upon advisement. 

  • SPAN 215: Spanish for Heritage Speakers (3 units)

(c) Student demonstrates appropriate competency in Spanish 

Through AP Spanish, Spanish Placement Test (minimum 90%) or equivalent coursework elsewhere (for example, Community College).

Required Core Courses (6 units)

  • SPAN 301 Advanced Grammar and Composition (3 units)
  • SPAN 341 Introduction to Hispanic Literature (3 units)

Electives in the Minor (3-9 units)

  1. Students who have taken SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 205, and SPAN 206 and the required core courses can take only 3 units in electives.
  2. Students who have taken SPAN 215 and the required core courses can take only 6 units in electives.
  3. Students who have taken only the required core courses must take 9 units in electives.
  • SPAN 305: Advanced composition (3 units)
  • SPAN 326: Morphology and Syntax (3 units)
  • SPAN 350: Practical and Literary Translation (3 units)
  • SPAN 371GW: History of Spanish (NOTE: SPAN 371 satisfies the University’s GWAR requirement. Students who satisfy the GWAR requirement with a different class may use SPAN 371 as an elective.)
  • SPAN 401: Culture and Civilization of Spain (3 units)
  • SPAN 405: Culture and Civilization of Spanish America (3 units)
  • SPAN 521: Medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature (3 units)
  • SPAN 523: Nineteenth Century  Spanish literature (3 units)
  • SPAN 525: 20th Century Spanish  literature (3 units)
  • SPAN 531: Creative Writing in Spanish: Poetry, Fiction, and Drama (3 units)
  • SPAN 543: Spanish American literature Romanticism to Modernism (3 units)
  • SPAN 545: 20th Century Spanish  American literature (3 units)
  • SPAN 562: Don Quixote (3 units)
  • SPAN 580: Hispanic Women  Writers (3 units)
  • SPAN 615: Applied Linguistics: Principles and Methods in Teaching Spanish (3 units)

Total: 15-23 units

The SF State Scholars Blended Program in Spanish is designed for motivated undergraduate Spanish majors who wish to complete both their Bachelor's and Master's degrees within a five year timeframe. Those accepted into the program enroll in graduate-level classes starting in their senior year, thereby shortening time to graduate degree completion. 

The Master's curriculum includes core and elective courses in literature, pedagogy, and research methodology. You can download a copy of the course requirements for the SF State Scholar Program in Spanish.

Course Requirements (undergraduate portion)

The majority of students enrolled in the Spanish B.A. program come to SF State with prior language experience and rarely begin study at the absolute beginner's (SPAN 101) level. The Spanish program thus assumes students pursuing a blended B.A./M.A. in Spanish will begin study at least at the Intermediate level:

  • SPAN 205 or SPAN 215 (3 units) [preparatory work--see description]
  • SPAN 206 or SPAN 216 (3 units) [preparatory work--see description]

Spanish Proficiency can be demonstrated by completing the necessary lower-division courses above, testing out of them, or by taking the Spanish placement test via iLearn (please consult Dr. Ana Luengo by email for further details). It is also expected that students complete the lower-division courses or the placement test prior to taking the required upper division courses in language and literature below.

  • SPAN 301 (3 units)
  • MLL 325 (3 units)
  • SPAN 341 (3 units)
  • SPAN 401 or SPAN 405 (3 units)
  • SPAN 595 (3 units)
  • Upper division elective in Spanish or related area (upon advising, 3 units)
  • Upper division elective in Spanish or related area (upon advising, 3 units)
  • Upper division elective in Spanish or related area (upon advising, 3 units)
  • Upper division elective in Spanish or related area (upon advising, 3 units)
  • GWAR (can be satisfied by taking SPAN 371 or an approved alternative, 3 units)



Writing Requirement

In addition to course requirements listed above, the student will satisfy the University Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) by taking SPAN 371GW or MLL 400GW.


Apply for Transition to Graduate Studies

Upon completion of all undergraduate degree requirements, student will apply for (undergraduate) graduation and complete the “SF State Scholars Baccalaureate Degree Review Application”.

  • Students can continue to take undergraduate classes after transitioning to graduate status. However, no lower division classes taken in graduate status will count towards the undergraduate degree. After transitioning to graduate status, students will pay post-baccalaureate tuition and campus fees. If, for any reason, the student wishes to switch back to undergraduate status, the difference in fees will not be refunded.
  • Students will be charged the undergraduate tuition fee only during the time in which they have earned fewer than degree applicable 120 semester units.


Course Requirements (graduate portion)

1. Seek graduate advising every semester

  • Seek advising on what courses to take and how to complete your degree within a projected timeframe
  • Seek advising on what courses taken from outside the Spanish Program will count towards electives

2. Take classes (10 classes / 30 units required)

The M.A. consists of 30 units of coursework beyond the B.A. A minimum of 21 units must be at the graduate level. A maximum of 9 upper-division units (not already counted toward the B.A.) may be applied toward the M.A. The roadmap assumes students will opt for the comprehensive exam culminating experience; those who choose to write a thesis can expect to take one more semester. Course requirements are listed below. You can also download a copy of the course requirements

Required Courses
  • MLL 701 or CWL 800 (Methodology requirement) [3 units]
  • SPAN 851 (Repeatable as elective when topics vary) [3 units]
  • SPAN 868 (Repeatable as elective when topics vary) [3 units]
  • MLL 750 (Pedagogy elective--required of any student who plans to be a GTA) [3 units]
  • SPAN 821 (Repeatable when topics vary) [3 units]
  • SPAN 831 (Repeatable when topics vary) [3 units]
  • SPAN 851 (Repeatable as elective when topics vary) [3 units]
  • SPAN 868 (Repeatable as elective when topics vary) [3 units]
  • SPAN 880 (Repeatable when topics vary) [3 units]
  • Up to 9 units of upper-division coursework on advisement [9 units]
  • Up to 6 units of graduate courses in other related programs on advisement [6 units]

Plus Master's Comprehensive Written and Oral Examination. The student is admitted to the oral examination upon passing the written examination.

3. File the Advancement to Candidacy

File the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) and Culminating Experience forms with the graduate advisor. The forms can also be downloaded from the Division of Graduate Studies website (select "Spanish" from the pull-down menu).

4. Submit an Application for Graduation

Apply for graduation before the third week of your final semester.

5. Complete the Culminating Experience requirement

The Culminating Experience will generally consist of written and oral exams, with a thesis option that typically requires an additional semester. See graduate advisor for details.

6. File "Report of Completion of Specified Graduate Program Requirements"

  • Form requires signatures of both instructors overseeing Culminating Experience written and oral exam.
  • Once oral exam is completed and Report of Completion has been signed, instructors will bring the signed form to Modern Languages & Literatures Department Office.
  • Modern Languages & Literatures Department Office will submit report to Division of Graduate Studies.


To apply for the SF State Scholar Program in Spanish, download an application form then make an appointment to see the SF State Spanish Scholar Program advisor or our Graduate Coordinator.

The Master of Arts in Spanish at San Francisco State University offers students a challenging and enriching experience in the study of Spanish and Latin American literature and culture in one of the most fascinating cities of the world. You will study literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present and receive training in academic writing, and in literary research methodologies and cultural theory.

Over the course of their graduate studies in our Spanish Master, students acquire in-depth knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures and challenges, along with the critical skills for academic analysis. We are committed to critical thinking and creative writing as well. Our objective is to inspire our students to develop their knowledge in specialized fields of the Spanish speaking cultures in order to educate responsible, creative and competent citizens of a global and connected world.

It generally takes two years to complete all the requirements for the M.A. program in Spanish, but it may take more time, according to other personal conditions. A maximum of seven years is allowed.

Learn more about the Spanish M.A. Program at San Francisco State University by watching this video.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the Spanish M.A. Program is a two-step process; the application is first processed the Division of Graduate Studies, and then is passed along to the Spanish Program for review. Prospective graduate students apply for admission to the university through Cal State Apply. The CSU has produced a comprehensive manual that will guide you through the process of setting up a Cal State Apply account and completing the application. Access the application guide as a PDF file

Through Cal State Apply you will also be able to upload materials that will be evaluated by the Spanish Program. The Program asks that prospective students submit: 

  • Transcripts from all colleges attended
  • A statement of purpose written in both Spanish and English. This should be between 500-750 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation from former professors.
  • A brief writing sample indicative of potential success as a graduate student. This is generally an essay written in Spanish which shows the scope of the applicant’s critical preparation and analytical ability. Ideally this will be a paper written in an undergraduate class, from 1,000 to 1,200 words in length.

All applicants are expected to have the equivalent of a B.A. in Spanish, that is, 30 units of upper-division work in Spanish, with a GPA of 3.0 or better. If the student has not met this requirement, he or she may, at the discretion of the Program, be admitted as a “conditionally classified” graduate student. Students thus admitted must satisfactorily complete certain specified courses before they become fully classified. These courses are not included in the 30 units required for the M.A.

Applicants are responsible for meeting the appropriate deadlines.



The M.A. in Spanish consists of 30 units of coursework, and 3 units of Culminating Experience (Exams or Thesis). Of those 30 units, a minimum of 21 must be from graduate-level (700-800 level) courses. The Program allows a maximum of 9 units from upper-division courses. Up to 9 units from a related field may be counted toward the degree. 


Written English Proficiency:

The University requires all graduate students, regardless of major, to pass two levels of Written English Proficiency. The Statement of Purpose in English satisfies the Level 1 requirement. Students fulfill the Level-Two English requirement by  passing MLL 701 with a B or higher. It is recommended to take it the first fall semester of the Master, because it is not offered in the spring. Students who do not receive at least a B must retake the course. 

  • Graduate courses (700-800 level): 21 units, minimum. Of those 21 graduate-level units, at least 15 should be courses in Spanish. 
  • Upper-division courses: 6 units, maximum.
  • At least 8 courses (24 units) must be taken within the Spanish Program (allowing for up to 6 units from a related field to count toward the degree). Any courses taken outside the Spanish Program must have prior approval of the Graduate Advisor.
  • The culminating experience must be met by the satisfactory completion of a thesis, special project, comprehensive examination, and/or an oral defense of the work. The culminating experience is not a course. For more information please see the Division of Graduate Studies. 3 units.


Graduate Teaching Associate or Teacher Aide Opportunities

Spanish M.A. students have the opportunity to assist the faculty in the undergraduate Spanish program.

Graduate Teaching Associates

Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA) provide currently enrolled or admitted CSU graduate students with part-time employment offering a practical teaching experience in fields related to their advanced study. GTAs teach university courses and may also assist faculty or teaching staff with various professional and technical activities. Work assignments are closely associated with their program of study or the academic department in which they are enrolled. GTA assist faculty in lower division courses of the Spanish program. Students interested in being GTA are required to pass MLL 750. It is recommended to take it the first fall semester of the Master.

Graduate students seeking GA or GTA appointments must meet the following minimum academic eligibility requirements:

  • Classified or conditionally classified graduate student
  • Cumulative post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.0 (B) or better
  • Enrolled in a minimum of 3 units of course work applicable to the master’s degree
  • May not be enrolled in any course associated with work assignment
  • Employment at SF State may not exceed 20 hours per week
  • Must be supervised by a SF State faculty member

Teacher Aides

Teacher Aide: Graduate students in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures may have the opportunity to assist the faculty in upper-division courses. This a great opportunity to learn how to create a course on language, literature or culture, and how to teach on the upper-division level. Teacher Aides enroll in MLL 785, and receive 3 units of course work toward practical teaching experience.


Career Options

Interpreters and Translators

  • Legal
  • Medical
  • Business
  • Political


  • University
  • College
  • High School
  • Tutoring

Social Service

  • Peace Corps
  • Recreation
  • Social Worker
  • Police Officer
  • Nursing 
  • Lawyer



Literary and Cinema Critic

Radio and Television Broadcastings

Communications and Internet Companies

International Business

International Organizations

Government Agencies


Cultural Agencies

Bilingual/Multilingual Work


Travel Agencies

Hotel and Restaurant Services


Armed Forces


Faculty of the Spanish Program

  • Professor Gustavo Calderón (Latin America): 
  • Associate Professor Michael Hammer (Spain from Middle Age to 18th Century): 
  • Graduate Advisor:  Assistant Professor Ana Luengo (Spain from 19th to 21st Century, and Contemporary Transatlantic Literature):