Learn to speak Spanish. Read about the New World. Minor, major or even specialize in Spanish. There are so many great ways to be involved in one of the most active and exciting undergraduate programs in Spanish in the country!
Hispanic culture offers a variety probably unrivalled by any other modern Western culture. In the Middle Ages, Spain was the vital point of contact of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic civilizations. In the early modern period it led the way in the exploration and settlement of the New World, contributing significantly to the evolution of a flourishing Latin American culture. Today it is estimated that Spanish is one of three most widely-spoken languages in the world.
Spanish studies at the University of Toronto are mainly, but by no means exclusively, concerned with the language and literature of the Spanish-speaking peoples. Courses in Hispanic linguistics, in business Spanish, in the history and structure of the Spanish language and literature are complemented by studies of the socio-political, artistic, and intellectual history of both Spain and Spanish America. Spanish and Portuguese form part of the interdisciplinary programs in European Studies and Latin American Studies. To learn about Spanish programs, please go the “Program” tab on this webpage.
Following an introduction to the methodologies of critical analysis as applied to Hispanic texts (SPA258), students have a wide selection of courses on the literatures of Spain and Spanish America: medieval Spanish literature; early modern prose, verse and drama; the modern novel, short story, poetry, drama, film and much more. In all years, the works are read and discussed not only in terms of their individual artistic value but also as illustrations of the outlook and the intellectual climate of their age. Students can also select from a variety of courses in Hispanic linguistics, from an introduction to Hispanic linguistics (SPA322) to courses on Spanish varieties, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, phonetics and structure of Spanish. Visit the “Courses” tab on this webpage to learn about the courses that the department offers beyond the language sequence.
For information about Spanish language courses offered in the department, click the “Language Sequence” tab. You can find out how to choose the course that best corresponds to your level of language knowledge by going to the “Placement test” tab.
In conjunction with Woodsworth College, the department makes two summer courses available in Seville, Spain (SPA100Y and SPA255Y). With the city of Seville serving as the classroom, this program offers courses designed to introduce students to Hispanic culture and the Spanish language. Interested students should contact the Summer Abroad Office at:
Professional & International Programs
119 St. George Street, 3rd Floor
For the most current description of specialist, major and minor program in Spanish, please use the link to the Faculty of Arts and Science calendar:
As of 2016-17 academic year, the requirements for specialist, major and minor program in Spanish have changed. Students who have declared the degree in the program previous to 2016-17 year have a choice of completing their degree either (a) by following the new degree requirements, or (b) by following the original requirements that were in force at the time of declaring their degree.
SPA258H: a required course for all students intending to specialize or major in Spanish; highly recommended to all other students who wish to take courses beyond language sequence.
The following are the courses that students need to take beyond the language sequence, and after completing SPA258H, in order to fulfill their degree requirements:
All students intending to specialize or major in Spanish must also take SPA420H and SPA454H. Students should take the courses at the level adequate to their preparation (i.e., progress from 200-series towards 300-series and 400-series as they progress in their studying career) to assure the best progress and success in their studies.
In addition to the required courses, students can take any additional courses offered to complete up to 10.0 FCEs for a specialist degree, and up to 7.0 for a major. See under “Courses” for the information about what courses are planned to be offered in the coming years, as well as for a list of cognate courses that can be taken towards a specialist, major or a minor degree in Spanish.
For personal consultation, contact the Undergraduate Coordinator by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Placement test Results and Language Assessment
If you have not studied Spanish previously, you do not need to take the placement test. Please enroll in SPA100Y.
If you are a native speaker of Spanish (you speak Spanish at home with family and friends, but have not received formal education in Spanish, and need help with reading, writing, and grammar) you do not need to take the placement test. Please enroll in SPA219Y.
If you have learnt Spanish in school, please take the placement test for assessment of your language level.
Instructions for taking the Spanish Placement Test for registered students with a Valid UTOR ID Account:
Once you have finished taking the placement test, make sure that you:
1. click “Save and Submit”,
2. when the new window opens, click “OK” in the bottom right corner. This will take you to the screen that gives you your test results.
3. Save your results (either copy and paste or take a screen shot) and consult the scale (below) for your recommended placement.
||150- higher (190)|
Numerous factors can influence your result on the placement test, as well as your recommended placement. If you have a strong background in other Romance language (French, Italian, Portuguese, Rumanian), your score may be much higher than your actual knowledge of Spanish. This means that you may have high word recognition, but cannot understand, speak or write Spanish at a corresponding level. Consequently, although your placement test results indicate that you should enroll in SPA220 or SPA320, you may need to enroll in a lower level class in order to gain proficiency in the use of the language.
Placement tests are “fuzzy” at the cut-off points. If, for example, your score is 130 points, but you are a highly motivated student, you might do well in SPA220. However, do not overestimate motivation – do refer to the below descriptions of the recommended level of language use for each course.
Please consult the following description of beginner, intermediate and advanced level language ability and the corresponding language courses to help you assess your placement. While the description of language ability is to be read in conjunction with the placement test results, the description of language ability overrides the placement test score.
Scores 0-131 (beginner level) -> enroll in SPA100Y
The test is highly accurate for students who receive a low-end score that places them in SPA100Y. The lower your score below the 131 cut-off point, the stronger is the recommendation for your placement in SPA100, regardless of how long you have been studying Spanish or how motivated you may be.
SPA100Y is for students with little or no knowledge of Spanish. “Little knowledge” of Spanish means that the speakers may understand simple questions after they are repeated to them, and are able to produce a word or a short sentence (1-3 words) in response, but cannot sustain a conversation in Spanish at even a rudimentary level. SPA100 offers a strong review of basic grammar and vocabulary, and, ideally, it brings the student’s language ability up to the Level A2 according to CERF (Common European Reference Framework) for Languages (described below).
If your score is 130 or very close to it, but SPA100Y seems too easy for you, you may consider switching to SPA220. Consult your Course Coordinator or the Undergraduate Coordinator when contemplating this decision.
Scores 132-151 (intermediate level) -> enroll in SPA220Y
SPA220Y offers a strong grammar review; it builds a strong vocabulary base, and places emphasis on language comprehension and production, both written and oral. In that sense, SPA220Y is a repetition of SPA100Y, but at a more advanced and intensive level.
Ideally, students entering this language course
“[c]an understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.” (CERF for Languages – learning, teaching, assessment; Level A2, Basic User)
If this describes your language use, please enroll in SPA220Y. If your language abilities fall below this description (regardless of your placement test score), please enroll in SPA100Y.
If, once you have enrolled in this course, you are considering switching to a different level, consult the Course Coordinator or the Undergraduate Coordinator in the first week or two of classes.
Score 152-185 (advanced level) -> enroll in SPA320Y
SPA320 is an advanced level class that targets specific challenging grammar structures, hones finer points of language and further emphasizes the building of a strong vocabulary base through reading and writing. Most students who enter this course have a relatively good command of Spanish grammar, a relatively good understanding of spoken language, and can express themselves in Spanish with some ease.
Ideally, students entering this course
“[c]an understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc. Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken. Can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest. Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.” (CERF for Languages – learning, teaching, assessment – Level B1, Independent User)
If this describes your language use, please enroll in SPA320Y. If your language abilities fall below this description (regardless of your placement test score), please see the description of language abilities for SPA220Y (or SPA100Y).
Testing out of the language sequence:
If your placement test score is higher than 190 points, it is possible that you do not need to take any language courses. Ideally, in such case your language skills should be described at a minimum as following:
“Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialisation. Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party. Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.” (CERF for Languages – learning, teaching, assessment – Level B2, Independent User)
If this describes your language use, you may skip the language sequence and enroll in literature, culture or linguistics courses. However, if your language use falls below the level B2, refer to one of the previous levels. (If you are a heritage speaker, this does not refer to you – please see the text on the top of the page – “If you are a native speaker…”).
Contacting the department for personal assessment:
If you cannot assess your level according to the information provided, copy and paste your placement test results, provide a brief description of your language history (be specific – when, where, and for how long did you study Spanish; how long has it been since you have studied Spanish?) and send this information to the department at email@example.com. Your message will be forwarded to a designated person for assessment and placement recommendation.
From July 18 through August 18 of 2016, the department staff will be available to assess students’ level of Spanish and recommend placement every Monday and Thursday, from 11:00am to 12:00pm. You can either come in person to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Victoria College room #208), or call (416) 813-4082. (Please do not leave voicemail messages –they will not be returned.
The Undergraduate Coordinator, Prof. Sanda Munjic, will hold office hours on Tuesdays, starting September 6, from 9:30am to 11:30am. You can speak to her in person in Victoria College (room #208), or over the phone at (416) 813-4082 (please do not leave voice mail messages).
|YEAR A (2016-17)||YEAR B (2017-18)||YEAR C (2018-19)|
|SPA258 Intro Lit. Analysis||SPA258 Intro Lit. Analysis||SPA258 Intro Lit. Analysis|
|SPA259 Intro Hisp. Cul. Studies||SPA368 Spanish & the Empire||SPA254 Cervantes (English)|
|SPA341 Modernist Movm. Spain||SPA345 Spanish Cinema||SPA435 Fictions Contemp. Spain|
|SPA348 Galdós & the Realist Novel|
|SPA352 Court & Country||SPA450 Medieval Iberia||SPA452 Early Mod. Theatre|
|SPA454Don Quijote||SPA454Don Quijote||SPA454Don Quijote|
|SPA375 LatAm Cinema||SPA385 Lit&Social Change-LatAm||SPA386 Lit Landscapes-Mex|
|SPA384 Avant-Garde–LatAm||SPA381 Nation, Ident, Mod LatAm||SPA382 LatAm Women-Art, Film, Lit|
|SPA480 Icons & Iconography-LatAm||SPA475 21st Cent LatAm Culture||SPA486 Caribb Lit & Identities|
|SPA482 20th Cent LatAm Narratives||SPA488 Central Am Postwar Narratives|
|SPA389 Central Am War Narratives||SPA468 Special Topics LatAam|
|SPA420 Advanced Grammar||SPA420 Advanced Grammar||SPA420 Advanced Grammar|
|SPA322 Intro Hispanic Linguistics||SPA322 Intro Hispanic Linguistics||SPA322 Intro Hisp Linguistics|
|SPA324 Span Bilingualism||SPA 326 LatAm Varieties||SPA324 Span Bilingualism|
|SPA421 Structure of Spanish||SPA423 Spanish Phonology||SPA421 Structure of Spanish|
|SPA422 Spanish Socioling.||SPA422 Spanish Socioling|
|HIS 291Y1||Latin America: The Colonial Period|
|HIS 292Y1||Latin America: The National Period|
|HIS 301H1||Imperial Spain|
|HIS 336H1||Medieval Spain|
|HIS 390Y1||Latin America in the Age of Revolution|
|HIS 441H1||Conversion and Christianities in the Early Modern Spanish World|
|HIS 456Y1||Black Slavery in Latin America|
|LAS 200H1||Latin America: History, Civilization, Culture (to 19th century)|
|LAS 201H1||Latin America: History, Civilization, Culture (20th century on)|
|JLP 315H1||Language Acquisition|
|POL 305Y1||Politics and Society in Latin America|
|POL 442H1||Topics in Latin American Politics|
|LIN 100Y1||Introduction General Linguistics|
|LIN 229H1||Sound Patterns|
|MUS 305H1||Latin American and Caribbean Music|
|GGR341H1||Changing Geography of Latin America|
The Department of Spanish and Portuguese participates in the Faculty of Arts and Science’s Language Citation initiative for Spanish. For a full description of the Language Citation requirements, see the Calendar in the “Degree Requirements” section.
To complete the language citation in Spanish students will normally complete the two language-sequence courses that follow the introductory level:
Native and bilingual speakers should complete SPA219Y1 and two additional half-courses in Spanish in the 300- or 400-series.
If the students have an advanced level of language and start with advanced language classes, or do not need to take courses in the language sequence, they need to take the equivalent of 2.0 FCE in the 300 or 400-series of courses. Students need to obtain a minimum of B- in order to obtain the citation.
Students should note that, as explained in this Calendar, the Language Citation is not equivalent to an academic program and that enrolment in a program is not necessary in order to earn the recognition bestowed by the Citation.
To request the citation, e-mail your request with your student ID number to: firstname.lastname@example.org