Concentration in Spanish and/or Portuguese


Students concentrating in Spanish and/or Portuguese acquire a sophisticated knowledge of the literatures, cultures, societies and politics of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds. Such refined knowledge is invaluable nowadays for almost any career, in a global era in which mutual understanding and communication between cultures are paramount. 

Recent concentrators have taken up careers in law, government service, business, teaching, medicine, non-governmental agencies, and international affairs.

Advanced Placement

An Advanced Placement Examination in Spanish (Language and/or Literature) with a score of 5 or SAT Subject Test score of at least 760 is required to satisfy the A.B. foreign language requirement at entrance, or for admission to a 200-level course.


The normal requirement to be admitted as a concentrator is successful completion of two 200-level courses in Spanish or one 200-level course in Portuguese.

Before or right after declaring a concentration in Spanish and/or Portuguese in April of sophomore year, please email the Director of Undergraduate Studies to set up an appointment.

Early Concentration

Qualified students are encouraged to decide on their concentration as early as possible in their sophomore year. In this way they can benefit from departmental advising on course selection and on the possibility of spending a semester or the whole junior year abroad.

Plan of Study

All concentrators are strongly advised to take one advanced language course (SPA 205, SPA 207, SPA 207S, SPA 208S, SPA 209 or SPA 307 for Spanish; POR 207S, POR 208 or POR 209 for Portuguese). All Spanish concentrators in Track 1 or Track 2 with Spanish as the primary language must take one course in pre-1800 literature. University regulations limit to 12 the number of departmental courses allowed to each student in his or her concentration. Students cannot earn both a SPO concentration (in any track) and a SPO certificate (in any language). Students interested in focusing both in Spanish and Portuguese may choose Track 2 for their concentration.


Departmental courses cover a wide array of literary, cultural, social, historical, and political topics. Students are, therefore, able to pursue courses of study that are tailor-made to their own individual interests. The department offers four different tracks for concentrators:

Please note that an upper division course is any course above SPA 209 or POR 209 (ex: SPA 210, 212, 224, etc.).

Track 1 

Concentration in one language, literature, and cultures (Spanish or Portuguese). Eight upper-division courses in the language of concentration. 

Track 2

Concentration in two languages, literature and cultures (Spanish and Portuguese; or Spanish/Portuguese and another language). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the second language.

Track 3

Concentration in Spanish or Portuguese with another related field (e.g. Urban Studies, Architecture, Global Health & Health Policy, Environmental Studies, Humanistic Studies, Sociology, European Studies, International Studies, Latino Studies, Latin American Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Politics, Anthropology). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the secondary field.

Track 4

Concentration in Spanish or Portuguese with the creative arts (e.g. creative writing, theater, visual arts, translation). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the creative arts.

Track Requirements

Any track in the concentration in Spanish and/or Portuguese Literature and Cultures requires a minimum of eight upper-division courses, at least five of which must be in the language of concentration. With the approval of the departmental representative, up to three cognate courses in other departments can be counted towards the concentration. Up to three courses taken during a semester abroad may be approved towards the concentration. Freshman seminars on topics related to the area of concentration may be counted towards the required eight upper-division courses.

Junior Papers

Concentrators should discuss as soon as possible their area of interest with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in order to find the most appropriate advisers for the Junior Papers. By the end of September (first JP), and by mid-February (second JP), all juniors should have contacted their advisers to discuss a plan of work.

The first JP (Fall semester) should be about 4,000 words, and the second JP (Spring semester) should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words. Both JPs can be written in English, in which case a three-page summary in the target language must be provided. Or, the JPs can be written in the target language in which case a summary is not needed. Any extensions beyond the University deadline date need pre-approval from both the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Residential College Dean. All JPs must include Princeton University's honor pledge.

Concentrators following two languages are encouraged to write one JP in each of the languages of concentration.

Senior Thesis

Students should select a Senior Thesis adviser by the end of September at the latest. The Senior Thesis is normally written in English, and should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words. Topics chosen in the past have ranged over the whole field of Spanish and Portuguese studies, from linguistic problems and literary techniques through close textual analysis to thematic and ideological studies. Students primarily interested in culture and civilization have written on art, political and economic issues, education, and a variety of social questions. The senior thesis is a major commitment of a student's time and energy, and the most important yardstick for choosing a topic is willingness to spend many hours on a particular set of texts or problems. Please visit the Mudd Library website for inspiration and a listing of previous senior thesis topics over the years. More detailed information can be found in the PDF iconSenior Thesis Handbook.

Any extensions beyond the University deadline date need pre-approval from both the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Residential College Dean.

Resources are available to assist students with the costs of senior thesis research including, when appropriate, travel abroad. The best time to use them is the summer preceding the senior year.

Senior Departmental Examination

The senior departmental/comprehensive exam will consist of an oral presentation of the senior thesis. It will be followed by questions from faculty regarding the thesis content and bibliography, as well as questions related to the course work done by the student in the department.



Director of Undergraduate Studies:
Christina Lee

Undergrad. Administrator:
Beth Heisler

List of
Current Concentrators