Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions students frequently ask their advisors or the faculty in Spanish. If you have additional questions, please contact the Alice Poust (firstname.lastname@example.org), chairperson for the Department of Spanish.
Placement and AP credit
- How will my placement in the appropriate Spanish course be determined?
The Spanish department uses a placement test. We use the results of that test in conjunction with the number of years you have studied the language and the level you have completed to place you in a course. When you take the placement test, you will be asked to indicate this information, as well as whether you have spent time in a Spanish-speaking environment. If you have questions about your placement, contact the Spanish department chairperson.
- Will my AP credit in Spanish count that toward the major or minor in Spanish?
The AP credit will count as a credit toward your graduation requirements, but may not be counted toward the major or minor in Spanish at Bucknell. The fact that you have AP credit will be used in conjunction with the placement test to determine your placement in the appropriate Spanish course.
- As a heritage or native speaker, do I need to take courses in the language sequence before taking courses in literature or civilization?
Please contact the Spanish department chairperson to discuss your placement. Your language proficiency may make you eligible to take courses in literature and civilization without taking the language courses that are considered prerequisites for courses numbered 220 and above. The department chairperson will decide whether or not to waive the prerequisites.
Sequence and Numbering of Courses
- What is the sequence of courses that focus on learning the Spanish language?
The Spanish department offers a sequence of six courses focusing primarily on the development of competence in the Spanish language. SPAN 101, (Elementary Spanish I) is the first and lowest level; SPAN 102 (Elementary Spanish II) is the next level, followed by SPAN 103 (Intermediate I) and SPAN 105 (Intermediate II). The next course in the sequence is SPAN 207 (Grammar, Conversation, Composition) and the highest level of the sequence is SPAN 208 (Advanced Conversation and Composition).
Most first-year students who take Spanish place into 103, 105, or 207, depending on their years and the strength of their previous academic background. SPAN 207 is the next level beyond 105 and involves a step, not a jump, from the Intermediate II level.
- Do 200-level courses get more difficult as the course numbers increase?
SPAN 207 and SPAN 208 form part of our sequence of courses focusing primarily on language acquisition (see previous question). SPAN 208 or the equivalent is a prerequisite for the other 200-level courses.
The courses numbered 220 through 295 focus primarily on competency in the areas of literature and culture. They are all on the same general level; one is not to be considered more advanced than another just because it has a higher number.
- When should I take courses at the 300 or 400-level?
The courses numbered in the 300s focus on literary and cultural competence and require a higher level of language proficiency and literary and cultural competence than those at the 200 level. Spanish majors (or minors) may take these courses after taking two courses at the 200-level beyond 208.
Within the 300-level, once again, the individual numbers simple serve to provide a distinct numerical identity for each course. Courses numbered in the 400s are capstones and may be taken by seniors or by second-semester juniors.
Majoring and Minoring in Spanish
- What are the requirements for the major in Spanish?
Please consult the Course Catalog for a complete description of the major. If you have questions about the major that are not answered by a reading of the catalog nor by the FAQ’s listed on this page, please contact the Spanish department chairperson.
- When can I declare a major in Spanish? When will I be assigned an advisor?
You may declare a major the second semester of your sophomore year. Be sure to attend the meeting that will be announced early in the spring semester. If you decide to declare the major at a later date, you may simply contact the department chair. When you declare the major, you will be assigned an advisor in Spanish.
- Can I major or minor in Spanish if I have no prior experience with the language?
Yes, it is possible to begin studying Spanish at Bucknell and earn a major or minor in the discipline. If you start the study of Spanish during your first or even your second year at Bucknell, you should be able to complete the minor, and perhaps the major, depending on your degree program.
You will need to take Elementary Spanish I (SPAN 101), offered in the fall semester. Then you may continue with Elementary II (102), 103, 105, 207, 208, and two 200-level courses in literature or civilization to complete the minor. Three additional courses, two at the 300-level, would be needed to complete the major. Study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country would help you to achieve your goal of completing the major or minor.
- Can I "double-major" in Spanish and another subject?
If you are a student in the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program, you may declare two majors. More than half of the students majoring in Spanish also have a major in another discipline.
In the second semester of your sophomore year, you may declare the major. You will fill out a declaration of major form that you will receive from the Registrar’s office and have the Spanish department chairperson sign the form. You will be assigned an advisor for each major declared. After the chairpersons of both departments sign the form, it is submitted to the Registrar’s office.
- I’m a Bachelor of Science student, can I major in Spanish?
While the Bachelor of Science program is designed for only one major, a number of B.S. students have found it possible to complete the equivalent of a second major. With careful planning, students in a B.S. program in the College of Arts and Sciences often can complete a second major in Spanish within their four years at Bucknell. The completion of the major in Spanish is recorded on the student’s university transcript. It would be best to contact the Spanish department chairperson to discuss this matter as early as possible in your university career if you are interested in this possibility.
- If I start Spanish beyond SPAN 103, can I complete the major with less than 8 courses?
No. Eight courses are required for the major, no matter where a student enrolls beyond SPAN 103. At the same time, students who begin at a higher level will benefit from the opportunity to take a broad range of courses in literature and civilization.
- What requirements for the major can be completed while I am studying abroad?
Students who go on one of the programs approved by the Spanish department may fulfill the requirements for 200-level courses in literature and civilization. Check to be sure that the courses you plan to take have been pre-approved by the Spanish department, or contact the department chairperson to seek approval for these courses.
- When may I declare a minor in Spanish? What are the requirements for the minor?
The requirements for the minor in Spanish are five courses in Spanish beyond SPAN 103 (Intermediate Spanish I). Three of these courses must be taken on campus. You may pick up a form for the minor in the Registrar’s office and take it to the Spanish department chairperson for his/her signature. Normally students take the form to be signed by the department chairperson when they are about to complete the minor, but they must do this by the first semester of the senior year.
- Can I study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country if I'm not a Spanish major or minor?
Bucknell en España is the approved program for study in Spain for students who have completed SPAN 207 or the equivalent. Students who are at the elementary level of proficiency in Spanish may study with the CIEE program at the Universidad de Alicante.
Students who wish to study in Latin America and have completed Intermediate Spanish II or the equivalent may choose one of the approved programs in Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
The Office of International Education in Taylor Hall can provide you with more detailed information about programs approved by the Spanish department. For approved summer programs, please consult with the Spanish department chairperson.
- As a Spanish major or minor, how will my study abroad courses be counted at Bucknell?
If you have taken up to SPAN 208/ OR one 200-level course beyond 208, the courses you take abroad will be counted as 200-level courses (beyond 208) and will help to complete the requirement that students take at least two 200-level courses (beyond 208) before going to the 300 level. You must be sure that the courses you take abroad are approved by the Spanish department before you leave campus in order to receive credit for them.