The University of Southampton
Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Southampton offers you the opportunity to develop your language skills to the highest level, and to deepen your understanding of the societies and cultures of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds. We offer a broad range of courses in three main areas: Spanish Studies; Spanish-American Studies; and Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. In all three areas, we focus especially on the 19th and 20th centuries.

Understanding language, society and culture
Spanish and Portuguese studies

We are strong in several major areas of Latin American Studies: in particular, cultural studies, sociolinguistics, history and politics. Though there are degrees that have a special Latin American emphasis, such as the Spanish–Speaking World, and Spanish and Latin American Studies, Latin American courses are available to all students who study Spanish and/or Portuguese to degree level, and they may choose to spend their third year in Latin America.

SPLAS at Southampton

Spanish and Latin American Studies (SPLAS) has around 250 students, seven full-time lecturing staff, five language assistants and has a lively and active student society. It will also provide an important focus for at least part of your social life at University. In particular you will be encouraged to take an active part in student-run societies. At the moment, the University has a Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Society, which organises talks, parties, films, etc; an Erasmus Society, which provides excellent opportunities for you to meet the many Spanish and Portuguese speakers studying at Southampton; a Mexican society; and a Brazilian Society.

Portuguese Studies, which includes Brazilian and Portuguese–African culture and history, has been firmly established at Southampton for many years. It is currently taught by four members of staff, including two Portuguese Language Assistants, one Brazilian and one Portuguese.

Course combinations

You can combine Spanish with a wide range of other subjects. Portuguese may be combined with French, politics or Spanish, or studied as one of the languages in the new three language Modern Languages degree programme. Whatever degree programme you choose to apply for, it is usually possible to change course at a later date if you wish to.

Find about more about course combinations either through our  Flexible study page or by looking our programme pages in the Find a course section of the Humanities website.

Language learning

Spanish and Portuguese language learning is organised as a series of language stages which operate independently from your year of study. This means that in your first year you begin at the stage most appropriate for you. At each stage, the courses are designed to develop your skills in spoken and written language and to enable you to make steady and rapid progress.

You will have regular discussion classes with native speakers, as well as classes based on the use of written materials. In addition, you will use the excellent facilities including individual TV and video viewing, CD ROMs and the internet.

Programme structure

The first year
The first year will be a foundation for your further study. You will follow a language course, which will develop the four fundamental practical skills of reading and writing, listening and speaking.

In each semester you will be required to follow four modules (a total of eight modules over the year). One module in each semester will be your Spanish and/or Portuguese language course.

Further options in your first year will include one or two courses specific to the languages in which you are specialising, focusing on cultural expression, social and political structures, or linguistic issues, as well as some or all of the introductory courses in the four 'fields of study' (Linguistic Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, Film and Television Studies and Social and Political Studies), within which Modern Languages courses are organised.

The second year
In your second year you will develop your practical language skills to a high level of proficiency, particularly in relation to text handling and oral communication.

In your second and final years, you will choose language-specific courses that belong within one or more of the fields of study, and field-specific courses that draw material from all the languages and cultures studied in Modern Languages, according to your own interests.

Throughout your programme of study, you will be encouraged to adopt interdisciplinary perspectives, and to cultivate awareness of the place and role of the country or countries you have chosen to study in the wider European and global context.

The third year - the year abroad
You will be able to choose how you spend your third year abroad in Spain and/or Portugal and/or Latin America. You may study at a university, work as an English language assistant in a Spanish or Portuguese-speaking country, or find other appropriate employment. During the year, all students work on an investigative project. It will ensure that you get to know the area where you are staying very well indeed, and that you become integrated into the local community.

Our current SOCRATES links are Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Malaga, Pamplona, Salamanca, Santiago, Seville, and Zaragoza; Aveiro and Lisbon.

We also have links with several Latin American universities (including in Brazil, for students of Portuguese).

Our Mexican Exchange Scheme is open to students of Spanish who wish to spend a year working as a language resources assistant in a Mexican university self-access centre. This is part of a special exchange between the British Council, the Mexican Ministry of Education and Southampton University.

The final year
This year involves more specialised studies, and gives you more independence. You will follow an advanced Spanish and/or Portuguese language course, and also choose a number of special subject courses.

Postgraduate study opportunities

We offer a range of postgraduate programmes from one-year masters to four-year PhDs including a four-year programme focusing on socio-political, historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of transnationalism. These programmes are run in collaboration with the other disciplines within Humanities.


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