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The University of Southampton
Languages, Cultures and LinguisticsPart of Humanities

Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies

Southampton offers students the opportunity to develop language skills to the highest level, with a third year abroad in a Spanish or Portuguese speaking country, and to deepen an 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; Latin American Studies; and Portuguese, Brazilian and Portuguese-Speaking African Studies. In all three areas, we focus on a wide range of interrelated historical and contemporary sociocultural, linguistic and political issues, all of which students can explore fully even if they have no previous knowledge.

SPLAS has over 200 students at UG and PG level, ten lecturers and nine language teaching fellows. As well as providing an academic focus, SPLAS also supports the lively and active student-led society, SLAPS, which new students are strongly encouraged to join. SLAPS organises language cafes, talks, parties and film nights, while the Erasmus Society provides students with excellent opportunities to meet the many Spanish and Portuguese speakers studying at Southampton. The highly active Mexican and Brazilian societies, MexSoc and BraSoc also organise regular cultural and social activities as well as opportunities to share informal conversation study with speakers from a wide range of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Spanish Studies

As well as focusing on the Spanish language, Spanish studies also encompasses cultural studies, linguistics and sociolinguistics, history and the politics of Spain and its regions, as well as the Spanish-speaking diaspora. Students may choose to spend their year abroad in Spain.

Portuguese, Brazilian and Portuguese-Speaking African Studies

As well as a focus on the Portuguese language, Portuguese studies also encompasses cultural studies, linguistics and sociolinguistics, history and the politics of Portugal, Brazil, Portuguese-speaking Africa as well as the Portuguese-speaking diaspora. Students may choose to spend their year abroad in Portugal or Brazil. For further details, see the separate Portuguese pages at

Latin American Studies

Latin American studies encompasses cultural studies, linguistics and sociolinguistics, anthropology/ethnography, history and politics, and we have particular expertise on Brazil, Central America, Chile, Colombia and Mexico, as well as on US Latinos. Though some degrees have a Latin American emphasis, such as Spanish and Latin American Studies, modules with Latin American content are available to all students, including those not studying Spanish or Portuguese. Students may choose to spend their year abroad in a Latin American country.

Course combinations

Students can combine Spanish or Portuguese with a wide range of other subjects, for example Spanish may be combined with Linguistics, and Portuguese with French or Spanish, and both can be studied as languages in the three language Modern Languages degree programme.

Find about more about course combinations either through our Flexible study page or by looking at 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 a student’s year of study. This means that in the first year, students begin at the stage most appropriate for their particular level. At each stage, modules are designed to develop skills in spoken and written language and to enable students to make steady and rapid progress. Students will have regular discussion classes, classes based on the use and production of written materials, the mastery of grammar, acquisition of stylistic and rhetorical devices, all with language tutors from a wide range of Spanish-speaking countries. In addition, students have access to excellent online language resources such as foreign tv channel streaming and online language exercises as well as a comprehensive library of Spanish and Portuguese language films, CD ROMS and music.

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Programme structure

The first year

The first year is a foundation for students’ further study. Students follow a language course that develops the four fundamental practical skills of reading and writing, listening and speaking.

In each semester students take four modules (a total of eight modules over the year). At least one module in each semester is a language module. Further options in the first year include one or two content modules in the three overarching fields of study within the department (Linguistic Studies, Literary and Cultural Studies, and Social and Political Studies).

The second year

In the second year, students typically develop practical language skills to a higher level of proficiency, particularly in relation to text handling and oral communication.

Students choose content modules according to their interests within one or more fields of study, including modules that draw material from all the languages and cultures studied in Modern Languages and Linguistics. Throughout the programme of study, students are encouraged to adopt interdisciplinary perspectives, and to cultivate awareness of the place and role of the country, countries and cultures they have chosen to study in the wider global context.

The third year - the year abroad

Students choose how to spend the third year abroad in Spain, Portugal or a Latin American country. Students may study at a university, work as an English language assistant, or find other appropriate, approved employment. During the year, all students work on an investigative project written in the target language that is linked to their academic areas of interest as well as to the region they are living in.

Our current Erasmus links in Portugal are in Lisbon, Coimbra, Oporto and Braga: in Spain they are in Alcala de Henares, Alicante, Barcelona, Castellón, Granada, Madrid, Malaga, Pamplona, Salamanca, Santiago, Seville, and Zaragoza. In Latin America we have institutional links in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. We also run a Mexican Exchange Scheme open to students of Spanish who wish to spend a year working as a language resources assistant in a self-access centre in a Mexican university.

The final year

This year involves more specialised studies, and gives students more independence. Students will typically follow an advanced Spanish and/or Portuguese language course, and choose a number of content modules. Students might also choose to write an undergraduate final year dissertation.

Postgraduate study opportunities

We offer a range of postgraduate programmes from one-year full-time Masters to four-year PhDs, including a Masters in Transnational Studies (TNS), a programme focused on socio-political, historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of transnationalism.

We also offer a highly innovative and selective MLang programme. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone with AAA grades to obtain an integrated Master’s qualification in four years of study, combining an undergraduate programme with a final year of postgraduate-level study and providing exceptional grounding for moving on to further academic research. The course offers an outstanding and unrivalled international learning experience within the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, as well as a unique opportunity to study at several prestigious world-class institutions specially selected to enhance the quality of the MLang degree. MLang graduates are well-placed to benefit from and to help shape the future of society nationally and internationally as the global graduates of tomorrow. For further information, see our full course listings.



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