Kristina Wirtz, Chair
Main Office: 409 Sprau Tower
Telephone: (269) 387-0408
Fax: (269) 387-3103
Mariola Pérez de la Cruz
Mercedes Tubino Blanco
The Department of Spanish offers courses in Spanish language at all levels, as well as courses in culture, literature, and linguistics. Emphasis in language courses is placed on developing practical communication skills that will be of interest and value to students in a wide variety of disciplines and careers. Culture courses, through the use of authentic materials in the target language, provide knowledge and insights into the life of the Spanish-speaking people of Spain, Latin America, and the United States. Courses in literature and linguistics, at both the intermediate and advanced levels, facilitate a deeper comprehension of language usage and cultural understanding.
Students who have studied Spanish in high school or who have learned Spanish through travel or residence abroad must take a placement evaluation before enrolling in their first Spanish class at Western Michigan University. Students who come from Spanish-speaking families must take the Online Placement Exam in Spanish and meet with a Department of Spanish undergraduate advisor before enrolling in their first Spanish class at Western Michigan University. Students have two placement options available: (1) an Online Placement Exam and (2) the WMU Proficiency Exam. Though it cannot be used to satisfy any world language requirements, the Online Placement Exam in Spanish is designed to help students determine which WMU Spanish course is appropriate for their level of preparedness. The WMU Proficiency Exam in Spanish, on the other hand, may be taken by students who wish to try to place out of the College of Arts and Sciences two semester world language requirement. This exam may serve as well to satisfy world language requirements that exist for majors or minors in other programs at WMU. The WMU Proficiency Exam in Spanish may be taken only once and must be taken before students begin their first class in Spanish at WMU. No credit is awarded for the WMU Proficiency Exam in Spanish.
Students who place above the 2000-level in the Online Placement exam are eligible for retroactive credit if they complete Spanish classes at WMU. Students who place in SPAN 2010 are eligible for 4 credit hours (SPAN 2000) upon completion of SPAN 2010 with a grade of “C” or better. Students who place at the SPAN 3000-level are eligible for 8 credit hours (SPAN 2000 and 2010) upon completion of SPAN 3160 and 3170 with a grade of “C” or better. Any students that feel they are eligible for retroactive credits in Spanish are encouraged to meet with a Department of Spanish advisor.
Transfer students who have successfully completed Spanish courses at community colleges or four-year colleges do not need to take any placement evaluation in Spanish at Western Michigan University. They should ascertain the WMU equivalent for the courses taken at the other institution and then enroll in the next course in the sequence. Students who are unsure about equivalencies should check with a Department of Spanish advisor or the chair of the Department of Spanish before enrolling in a particular course.
Native speakers of Spanish are not required to take the placement evaluation. They must, however, consult with a Department of Spanish advisor or the department chair before registering for classes.
5000-level courses may be taken only by advanced undergraduate students. Advanced undergraduate students are defined as those who have satisfactorily completed a minimum of four courses, or equivalent, applicable toward a major or minor in any one language. Each course, however, may have more specific and/or additional prerequisites.
Students are strongly encouraged to study in a Spanish-speaking country as part of their undergraduate program. Western Michigan University offers excellent, affordable programs in Burgos (Spain), Heredia (Costa Rica), Quito (Ecuador) and Santander (Spain). Study Abroad Scholarships are available to all students who meet the minimum requirements for application through the Department of Spanish, The Office of Study Abroad and several other sources. Study Abroad credits from non-WMU programs are often accepted for credit toward the major and minor in Spanish; students interested in receiving Spanish credit for study abroad with a non-WMU program must consult with one of the Spanish study abroad advisors well in advance of such study in order to plan properly and to obtain approval.
Majors and Minors
Given the increasing importance of Spanish as an international language and within the United States, many students wish to take courses beyond the intermediate level. We encourage them to do so, whether or not they intend to major or minor in the language. It is quite common for students who major or minor in Spanish to have an additional major or minor in a related or entirely different field. All students having questions about a Spanish major or minor are welcome to speak with an advisor during walk-in hours (for specific hours, check www.wmich.edu/spanish/advising).
Students interested in seeking to major or minor in Spanish should meet with a Department of Spanish advisor. Major and minor declarations will be posted to Degree Works so that students can track their academic progress to degree. Only courses in which a grade of “C” or better is obtained can be counted toward a major or minor.
Teaching certification is approved for majors in Spanish in secondary, middle school and elementary education. A course in the methods of teaching Spanish is required for all teaching majors. Education majors are required to spend one semester of study abroad in a Spanish speaking country. Students should consult with the Spanish Education Coordinator about the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) before their senior internship.
Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement for Majors
Students who have chosen to major in Spanish will satisfy the Baccalaureate-Level Writing Requirement by successfully completing LANG 3750: World Literature in English Translation: Views of Humanity. For those having more than one major, this requirement may be satisfied in their other major.
Residency Requirement for Majors and Minors in Spanish
Majors in Spanish must take at least five courses (of the total required for the major) on campus at Western Michigan University. These five courses must be at the 3000-level or above. At least two of the five must be 4000- or 5000-level classes. Minors in Spanish must take at least four courses (of the total required for the minor) on campus at Western Michigan University. These four courses must be at the 2000-level or above. At least one of the four must be above SPAN 3170.
The Department of Spanish at WMU will recognize and accept courses taken abroad through any University-accredited program as long as they are pre-approved by the Department of Spanish study abroad advisor and the WMU Office of Study Abroad.