Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Hispanic Studies

Why choose Hispanic Studies at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Edinburgh has one of the widest ranges of languages and joint honours programmes of any UK university. That creates a uniquely exciting and stimulating environment for language study. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, modern languages at Edinburgh was rated 4th in the UK and 17th in the world.

  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 70 per cent of our European languages and cultures research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, in a joint submission with Celtic and Scottish Studies.

  • Hispanic Studies at Edinburgh is, thanks to the diverse expertise of our staff and the rich Hispanic culture of Edinburgh, your gateway to an extraordinary range of culture, from medieval to contemporary and from poetry to popular film, from Europe, Latin America, and Africa, in small languages such as Basque as well as in the great world languages that are Spanish and Portuguese.

  • You will spend a year of your programme working or studying in the Iberian Peninsula or Latin America.

Study abroad

The great thing about studying Spanish at Edinburgh is that wherever your interests lie, be it Golden Age art and literature or modern-day Spanish journalism, you are bound to find something you enjoy. The teaching staff are dynamic and friendly and always ready to help. If you are interested in expanding your cultural and literary awareness of Spain and Latin America, then Spanish at Edinburgh is the course for you!

Victoria Anderson Hispanic Studies student
Victoria Anderson Hispanic Studies student

The countries where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken have a fascinatingly rich and diverse culture. Our programmes and our enthusiastic, expert staff reflect this diversity, through courses ranging from medieval poetry to contemporary film from Europe and Latin America.

We also offer courses in Catalan and Basque language, in addition to Portuguese and Spanish. Hispanic culture flourishes in Edinburgh, with a thriving Centre for Contemporary Latin American Studies, an annual Spanish film festival, and an annual student-led Spanish play.


Studying Spanish at Edinburgh encompasses the study not only of the language but also of Hispanic culture and history. Our resources and our expertise will give you privileged access to all major areas of Hispanic language and culture, from Catalonia to Argentina and from Latin American indigenous film-making to Castilian ballads. Our dedicated staff (including our many foreign language assistants) will ensure a supportive learning environment for your studies.


Portuguese is one of the world's most important languages, spoken across Europe, in Brazil and in Africa. Study at the University encompasses learning about the fascinating literatures and cultures of these countries, as well as the language.

Year 1

If you are studying Spanish, you will take either Spanish 1A or 1B depending on your language skills. You will also study a selection of literary texts and films.

If you are studying Portuguese, you will take Portuguese 1 which caters for both beginners and more advanced students and will be introduced to Portuguese-speaking culture through a selection of short stories and films from Mozambique, Angola, Brazil and Portugal.

It is possible to take both Spanish and Portuguese (in all four years).

Year 2

In Spanish, you will continue to develop your spoken and written language skills and continue to study Spanish and Latin American cultures. If you wish to study Catalan, you can start to learn about the language, history and culture of Catalonia. Basque language for beginners is also available.

If you are studying Portuguese, you will continue to develop your language skills, and you will study the cultures and the societies of the Portuguese-speaking world, through literature, film, music and the arts.

Year 3

You will study or work in the Iberian Peninsula or Latin America.

Year 4

You will study advanced language courses and choose from a range of specialist courses on Spanish, Latin American and Portuguese-speaking history, literature and culture.

Are there additional costs?

The normal residence requirement for a European language is 30 weeks in the relevant country or countries. Some students of French, German, Spanish or Italian may apply for posts as English language assistants in schools, for which a salary is paid. Costs vary according to destinations: capital cities are more expensive than provincial towns. For EU countries, a number of Erasmus/Socrates places are available, which include a small grant from European Union funds. Students studying more than one language must complete a minimum period of eight weeks in each country. Some limited government funding may be available from the University to assist with the cost of study abroad during the summer vacation.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in and around the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, in the University's Central Area. We are based in a state-of-the-art building, at 50 George Square, which houses computer microlabs, a language resource centre, and social facilities as well as tutors' offices, lecture theatres, and a film projection room.

Study abroad

In Year 3 you will spend time in Spain, Portugal or Latin America. The University currently has exchanges with universities in Almería, Barcelona (Autónoma), Cáceres, Córdoba, Madrid (Complutense and Autónoma), Salamanca, Seville, Granada, Alcalá de Henares, Málaga, Valladolid, Buenos Aires (San Andrés), Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica), México (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Puebla (Universidad de las Américas), São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro (Pontifícia Universidade Católica), Coimbra, and Lisbon.

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and computer-assisted learning.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework and exams. In Year 4 you will also complete advanced language work.

The employment statistics for our graduates are impressive, as is the range of careers they go into. Hispanic Studies provides you with communication and analytical skills that are valued by a variety of employers. Some of our graduates choose to apply the languages they have learned for teaching, translation or research; more of them apply their skills to journalism, the civil service, business management, publishing, or law (after completing further qualifications), or indeed any career that requires disciplined and imaginative thinking.