Duke requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language at the intermediate or advanced level. Courses suitable for meeting this requirement are designed with an FL (Foreign Language) curriculum code. Depending on your language proficiency, you must complete one of the following:
- Option One: If you begin language study at Duke in an elementary language course, you must take 3 full courses in that language to meet your FL requirement for graduation, OR
- Option Two: If you enter language study at Duke at the intermediate level or above, the successful completion of a 300-level FL-designated course will fulfill your requirement.
- If you place in the first semester of the intermediate level, you will need to take at least 3 full consecutive courses in the same language.
- If you place into the second semester of the intermediate level, you will need to take at least 2 full consecutive courses in the same language.
- If you place in a 300-level course, you will only need to take 1 course.
The Spanish Language Program (SLP) at Duke University has designed courses to develop all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. The SLP includes Elementary Spanish 101 and 102, Intermediate Spanish 203 and Advanced Intermediate Spanish 204. The SLP follows a task-based second language teaching approach throughout elementary and intermediate courses. At the end of the intermediate level, students will be able to use different modes of communication in Spanish associated with specific contexts in real life situations. Our advanced courses (300-level) focus both on the development of complexity in language as well as on the critical reflection of different thematic content. See below for course listings.
The course description and placement guidelines that follow should help you choose the proper gateway course given your background. Eligibility for Spanish 101 and Spanish 111 depends on the number of years of Spanish in High School. Normally, three years of HS Spanish (or more) place students above 101 or 111. Keep in mind that the AP Spanish exam or the SAT II test (with or without listening) will also help you guide your course selection.
If after reading the self-placement guide you are still unsure of the best course for you, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to direct you to take a placement test. Include all of the following information in your email.
- Which Spanish classes you took in high school or what is your background with the language
- Strength of academic program: if teachers and peers spoke in Spanish; if classes were online or met in person; overall rigor of previous classes
- Other IB or Spanish language test scores (if applicable)
- Experience with speaking the language (presentations, conversations, etc.)
- Experience with Spanish outside the classroom (trips, volunteer work, work environment, family, friendships, etc.)
- Types of readings (paragraphs, short stories, blogs, essays, novels, etc.)
- Types and length of writings (paragraphs, essays, etc.)
- Verb tenses seen
- Objectives for taking Spanish: to fulfill the FL; to work towards a Spanish minor or major; preparation for study abroad or Duke Engage; for personal/professional reasons
The SLP reserves the right to alter registration for students who do not follow departmental advice regarding placement.
|If you have this background and/or test scores:||You should take this course:|
Elementary Courses - 100 level courses
||Spanish 101: Elementary Spanish introduces the basic elements of the language and includes exposure to aspects of Spanish-speaking cultures. Aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing skills receive equal attention. This course meets 4 times a week. It covers present tense, present perfect, present progressive and the morphology (forms) of the preterit past tense. It introduces students to Spanish-speaking cultures through readings, audio texts and other materials. Students read 2 stories of about 550 words each.|
||Spanish 102: Second semester of elementary Spanish continues with the introduction of the basic elements of the language. This course builds on the elements of the language acquired in Elementery Spanish 101. It covers the past tenses (preterit and imperfect), past progressive, the future tense, commands and an introduction to the present subjunctive. It also studies the direct and indirect object pronouns and possessive pronouns. It exposes students to Spanish-speaking cultures through readings, audio texts and other authentic materials. Students read 2 stories of about 1000 words each. Keep in mind that the Duke in Alicante Summer Program offers an intensive immersion experience to complete Spanish I and II.|
||Spanish 111: This is an intensive course; it covers the basic elementary language curriculum (Spanish 101 and 102) in one semester, targeted to students with none or very little experience in Spanish. Duke in Alicante (summer program) and the Intensive Spanish Summer Institute (Spanish 111) offer an immersion experience to complete Spanish 101 and Spanish 102.|
Intermediate Courses - 200 level courses
||Spanish 203: Spanish 203 is the third semester Spanish course. This course is for students who have successfully completed Spanish 102 or its equivalent. The course includes a complete review of elementary grammar (everything covered in Spanish 101 and 102), past subjunctive, pluperfect tenses, application of reading strategies to progressively longer authentic texts, and regular speaking practice. There is a continued development of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing with attention to expanding the range and complexity of grammar usage and vocabulary through exposure to Spanish-speaking cultures. Reading assignments at end of course are equivalent to a 100-150-page novel (not adapted for classroom use). Keep in mind that the Duke in Alicante summer Program offers an intensive immersion experience to complete Spanish 203 and 204.|
||Spanish 204: This is the fourth semester Spanish course. This course is for students who have successfully completed Spanish 203 or its equivalent. Spanish 204 includes a complete review of basic intermediate level grammar, expansion of pronominal constructions, discourse connectors, and a range of conversational strategies. There is further development of the four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. With emphasis on various writing tasks students expand their range and sophistication of grammar usage and vocabulary and exposure to Spanish-speaking cultures. Students build comprehension and produce texts of greater extension and complexity. This course prepares students for 300-level Spanish courses through literary texts and other media (film, news, short essays, cartoons, etc.). Reading assignments at the end of course are equivalent to a 150-200-page novel (not adapted for classroom use). Duke in Chile and Duke in Madrid (Intermediate track) offer 204 and 303 combined for two credits.|
Advanced Courses - 300 level courses
Spanish 301: Advanced Spanish Writing Development of composition skills related to expository and other forms of writing, focus on techniques for organizing information, vocabulary, editing, revising, rewriting and grammatical accuracy. Substantial work on the development of writing strategies through several short papers and a final long paper. This course is strongly recommended before enrollment in literature classes in Spanish.
Spanish 302: Advanced Spanish Grammar Intended to foster students' reflection about Spanish grammar and to consolidate students' knowledge of the system of rules underlying the Spanish languages. Special attention given to grammar in oral and written communication.
Spanish 303: Introduction to Cultural Studies builds effective strategies for oral communication. Use of language ranges from informal to formal situations and concrete to abstract topics. Focus on developing structured arguments and increasing linguistic accuracy.
Spanish 306: Health, Culture and the Latino Community Issues associated with access to the health care industry for growing Latino/a population in the US. Topics: cultural competency issues, medical practices, lexical knowledge related to the field. Students will engage in experiential learning through contact with teh local community. Assessment on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, and participation in service. Recommended students take one 300-level Spanish course prior to enrolling. Pre-requisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent.
Spanish 307S: Issues of Education and Immigration Community-based interaction with Durham Public Schools. Topics: Latino/a identity, access to education for immigrants, academic performance, assimilation, general pressures of family and peers, bilingualism, configurations of ethno-racial consciousness. Required 20 hours outside of class with assigned community partners. Assessment on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, and participation in service. Recommended students take one 300-level Spanish course prior to enrolling. Pre-requisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent.
Spanish 308S: Latino/a Voices in Duke, Durham, and Beyond Formation of Latino/a identity(ies) and community voices through the lens of cultural, political, and social issues at local and national level. Topics: Minority voices, power and class, linguistic and artistic expression. Required 20 hours outside of class working with the community. Assessment on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, service. Recommended students take one 300-level Spanish course prior to enrolling.
Spanish 312: Community-Based Research with Spanish-Speakers Course partners with Duke faculty to assist them in implementing research projects in the Spanish-speaking community. Students will volunteer a minimum of 20 hours as interpreters, survey takers, assisting in home visits, etc. as needed. Exploration of topics related to research study such as education or health to contextualize CBR. Students will also focus on research methods, cultural competency, and linguistic skills necessary to interact with Latino/a community. Students assessed on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, and participation in service. Pre-requisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. Prior 300-level coursework recommended. Service Learning.
Spanish 313: Bridging Cultures - Latino Lives and Experiences in NC Exploration of key issues surrounding Latino communities in Durham and beyond, focusing on issues of culture and immigration, health, education, economy. Assigned projects and activities will emphasize bidirectional learning and cultural understanding and facilitate opportunities for building bridges to local communities. Includes a minimum of 14 hours of community engagement with a local organization. Assessment based on knowledge of content, oral and written Spanish, and community engagement. Pre-requisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent. Previous 300-level course recommended.
See the 'Courses' tab near the top of the page for a full listing of Spanish courses beyond those mentioned above.
Mesa en español
Mesa en español is a Spanish language group that meets virtually every Wednesday at 5.30pm during the academic year. It is open to all Duke students and the broader community at all levels of proficiency. All are welcome to come and join in the casual conversation and cultural exchange in a relaxed setting that encourages interaction and discovery. Come practice your Spanish among friends!
Click here for the schedule, zoom link and other useful information for Spring 2021!
Sabrosura is Duke's Latin dance troupe and an independent cultural establishment that retains amicable relations with its mother organization, Mi Gente. The crux of Sabrosura's mission revolves around a deep-seated desire to utilize the medium of performance art as a tool for the preservation and enhancement of multiculturalism at Duke and within the neighboring Durham community. Sabrosura specializes in a wide variety of dance forms including, but not limited to: salsa, merengue, bachata, cha cha, tango, flamenco, samba, reggaeton, lambada, and cumbia.
Students currently enrolled in the Spanish Language Program (SLP) courses at Duke University have several options for receiving out-of-class language assistance:
- Currently enrolled Spanish students may visit their Instructors during online student hours to review material and receive individualized explanations. Student hours are listed on your Sakai site.
- You may contact and schedule an online Zoom appointment with the tutors listed below, who are instructors or graduate students in the Spanish Language Program (30 minutes per day; up to 90 minutes per week). You may schedule regular sessions with the same tutor, or on a need-be basis. These sessions can also be used to practice speaking. This is a free service. For tutoring schedules see below.
- Students may consult the Academic Resource Center. This is a free service. They offer group tutorials for Spanish 100, 200 and 300-level courses. https://arc.duke.edu/tutoring/overview
- All Duke students may participate in the Mesa en español, an SLP sponsored event for students who want to practice their Spanish conversation skills.
February 3- April 23
Tutoring will take place via Zoom in Eastern Standard Time. To make an appointment with a tutor (or to cancel an appointment), click on the Scheduler. Your confirmation email contains the Zoom link of your tutor. For help with Zoom, consult this website: https://arc.duke.edu/intro-zoom
Guidelines for Receiving Transfer Credit
Transferring a language course to Duke from another institution may involved up to three separate steps:
- Obtaining course credit which counts towards fulfilling th 34 courses required for graduation,
- Obtaining Mode of Inquiry FL (Foreign Language) coding which counts towards fulfilling your language requirement, and
- Determining the next language course you need to take at Duke to fulfill your language requirement (if it is not completed by the transfer course).
NOTE: Obtaining Spanish 100 or Spanish 300 credit toward the 34 courses required for graduation does not automatically mean the course will also receive the Mode of Inquiry FL code. Likewise, obtaining a Mode of Inquiry FL code for a transfer course does not automatically mean that you will be prepared to successfully complete a Spanish course at Duke at a higher level.
1. Prior to taking the transfer course:
a. Familiarize yourself with the procedures for transferring a course for credit given on the Trinity Requirements web site. If you intend to request a FL coding for the transfer course in Spanish, also familiarize yourself with the requirements given in parts 2 and 3 below.
b. In order to transfer to Duke and count as one course credit toward your graduation, the first requirement is that the Spanish course must not have fewer contact hours than the equivalent course taught on campus at Duke. A Duke language course contact hour is no less than 50 minutes.
- Minimum required contact hours:
- Spanish 101: 70
- Spanish 102: 70
- Spanish 111: 112
- Spanish 203: 42
- Spanish 204: 42
- Spanish 300 and above: 42
c. In addition to fulfilling the contact hour requirement, Spanish courses that are to be transferred for elective credit must meet the following specific minimum requirements:
- All coursework and class discussion in Spanish, unless seeking course equivalency for the course in translation.
- Substantive linguistic and cultural content.
- Class size must not exceed 20 students.
NOTE: Student with three years or more of High School Spanish must not request transfer credit for Spanish 101. Student with more than 1 year of High School Spanish must not request transfer credit for Spanish 111.
d. Obtain a copy of the course description and any other documentation needed to show that the transfer course meets these minimum requirements.
e. Download the Transfer Course Approval Form from the T-Reqs web site and fill out the top of the form. Bring the form, the calculation for part b, and the documentation for part c to the Program Coordinator in Romance Studies, Kim Travlos, in Languages 107. If approved, the course will be listed on the form as an elective course in Spanish. (Spanish 100 will be used to designate an elective course at the introductory or intermediate level and Spanish 300 will be used to designate an elective course at the advanced level.)
f. Take the signed form and documentation to the office of your academic dean for final approval. Upon approval, the dean will send the form to the Registrar.
2. While taking the transfer course:
If you may later want to request that the transfer course count toward fulfilling your Duke language requirement, you should save all the course materials such as the syllabus, textbooks, papers written, quizzes, exams, etc.
3. After taking the transfer course:
a. Assuming satisfactory completion of the course with a grade of C- or better, request that the Registrar of the institution you attended send a copy of your transcript to the Registrar of Duke University, Box 90054, Durham, NC, 27708. Upon receipt of your dean's approval and the transcript showing successful completion of the course, the Registrar will add the transfer course to your Duke transcript as Spanish 100 or Spanish 300.
b. If you want the transfer course to count toward fulfilling your Duke language requirement, you must request that the transfer course be granted the foreign language Mode of Inquiry code, FL.
- See part c, below, for requirements for FL Mode of Inquiry credit for an elementary or intermediate Spanish course.
- See part d, below, for requirement for FL Mode of Inquiry credit for an advanced level Spanish course (Spanish 301 or higher).
c. For a course that was approved for transfer to Duke by the DUS in Romance Studies and your academic dean with a course number of Spanish 100, the requirement for obtaining a FL code is that the transfer course must be equivalent to the corresponding Duke language course. The requirements for establishing equivalency are given below.
- Language Modalities: Speaking, writing, listening, reading, culture.
- Teaching Methodology: Communicative, content based approach; language use in context; use of authentic materials; use of audio and video for development of listening comprehension; regular assignments that focus on writing as a process. Cultural component integrated into teaching and assessment practices.
- Writing component: At least 2 formal compositions in Spanish 101, 102, 203 and 204. All composition assignments must include at least one revision stage. Length of compositions for Spanish 101 should be one page, for Spanish 102 is 1 page and 1 page and a half; Spanish 203 and Spanish 204 is 2 pages. In addition to the formal compositions, the course should include at least 4 informal writing assignments such as electronic forum, journals, etc. Emphasis on developing competency in diverse registers and text types.
- Evaluation: For Spanish 101-204, student should be evaluated on all language modalities: two major tests, one midterm, and comprehensive final exam; 2 oral exams.
- Reading: Student should be exposed to extensive reading. Adapted reading for Spanish 101, 102, and 111; original readings for Spanish 203, 204.
- Class size must not exceed 20 students.
- Spanish 101 must cover at least half of traditional elementary textbook (including present and past tenses, direct and indirect object pronouns).
- Spanish 102 must complete the study of a traditional elementary textbook (including future tenses, conditional and subjunctive moods, conjunctions, prepositions, relative pronouns).
- Spanish 111 must include everything covered in Spanish 101 and 102 (above)
- Spanish 203 must include a complete review of elementary grammar (everything covered in Spanish 101 and 102), application of reading strategies to progressively longer authentic texts, and regular speaking practice. Reading assignments at end of course must be equivalent to a 100-150 page novel (not adapted for classroom use).
- Spanish 204 must include a complete review of basic intermediate level grammar, discussion of a diversity of literary texts and other media (film, news, short essays, cartoons, etc.). Reading assignments at end of course must be equivalent to a 150-200 page novel (not adapted for classroom use).
d. For a course that was approved for transfer to Duke by the DUS of Romance Studies and your academic dean with a course number of Spanish 300, the requirements for obtaining a FL code are given below:
- Reading: Student in literature or culture course should be exposed to extensive reading of original (rather than adapted) texts.
- Spanish 301 must include extensive work in advanced Spanish grammar and some stylistics. Emphasis on developing competency in diverse registers and text types through process writing. Daily writing assignments, two exams on grammar and reading topics, five compositions and a final 6-7 page paper.
- Spanish 302 must include a study in depth of Spanish morphology and syntax. Emphasis should be given to the reflection of grammar usage in real contexts. Evaluation in this course should include at least three 3- 4 page papers on a grammar issue.
- Spanish 303 must include extensive work in oral production. Emphasis on developing oral competency in diverse registers. Daily oral assignments, and one major presentation on a socio-cultural or socio-political aspect of any Spanish speaking country.
In addition the minimum number of contact hours, transfer course syllabus, type and amount of required work, and evaluation methods must be equivalent to those of specific Duke Spanish course for which student is seeking credit.
e. If the transfer course fulfills the requirements for the FL code given in part c or d above, download the Form for Requesting Modes of Inquiry Coding from the T-Reqs web site. Complete the form and submit it with the necessary documentation as directed on that form.
f. If the transfer course is granted a Mode of Inquiry FL code, the FL code will be added to the course on your Duke Advisement Report. (Note: Modes of Inquiry designations do not appear your transcript.)
g. A course that was approved as Spanish 300 (999) will be left unchanged on your Duke transcript; however, a course that was approved for transfer as Spanish 100 (888) will be changed on your Duke transcript to its equivalent Duke course number which means that you cannot repeat/take the equivalent Duke course to earn an additional letter grade, course credit, or FL code.
4. After receiving a Mode of Inquiry FL code for a transfer course:
a. If the FL code fulfills your language requirement in Spanish at Duke, then no further action is necessary.
b. If the FL code is not the last one you need in order to complete your language requirement in Spanish at Duke, contact the Director of the Spanish Language Program, Liliana Paredes, to schedule a placement interview. The interview will be used to determine your preparedness for the next course in the Spanish Language Program sequence.
Duke Global Education Office
Several programs offered through the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates are jointly administered by the Department of Romance Studies, have faculty and staff participants in the programs, or involve a substantial Spanish language component. Please see the Global Education links below for the following programs:
- Duke in Madrid (Fall, Spring, Academic Year)
- Duke in Madrid - Intermediate Track (Fall, Spring, Academic Year)
- Duke in Brazil (Summer)
- Duke in Costa Rica (Summer)
- Duke in Alicante (Summer)
- Duke in Spain (Summer)
- Duke in Chile (Summer)
There are also many other global education programs available that are administered by other organizations. See the Global Education Office website.
DukeEngage provides one-time funding for Duke undergraduates who wish to pursue an immersive (minimum of eight weeks) service experience by meeting a community need locally, domestically or internationally. The program currently features multiple international programs in Spanish-speaking countries:
Within the language programs in Romance Studies there are multiple opportunities for engagement in the community, the best venue for acquiring real-world linguistic and cultural knowledge. Student interaction with language communities provides occasions for developing civic engagement, cultural competence, political activism, and awareness of issues of social justice.
"Through my service experience, I have seen evidence of the themes that we have discussed in class and for me, it was a pretty heavy experience to see the topics from our readings and conversations in class occurring so close by in real life." (Spanish 307S)
Currently there are service-learning courses offered in French and Spanish. These courses require a commitment of 15-20 hours of service in the community in addition to traditional class contact hours.
“I’ve become very close with the family that I was assigned,” said Madeline Thornton, a junior majoring in French and global health. “Since I’m in the area this summer, I’ve been stopping by their home to read books with the children in order to keep up their English skills while they’re out of school. I’m grateful for Dr. Reisinger and the service learning program for connecting me with some life-long friends.” (French 270T)
Duke students interact with the community in many ways, such as getting to know community members during class visits and departmental events, visiting businesses in Durham, participating in international video conversations, and working alongside community members in service-learning courses. Some examples of service projects are working with refugees from Central Africa, organizing art activities for Latino/a elementary school students, and tutoring Latino/a adults in English.
"This course has been one of the most rewarding courses I have taken at Duke. I absolutely loved the component of interacting via Skype or meetings with different health organizations in Latin America. It was inspiring to talk to leaders who are actively working in an area many of us aspire to work in. A lot of time our goals feel like unattainable dreams but this course made them seem really real." (Spanish 306)
"Learning about [my partner's] personal experience has provided me with a more complete understanding of the roadblocks, whether fiscal, social, logistical or otherwise, to adapting to life in America as a refugee," said James Johnson, a senior majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and French." (French 325S)
See how Duke language programs participate in the Community-Based Language Initiative here.