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Spanish Language Programs

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.  Although Spanish is the official language in many countries, it is also the unofficial second language in the United States with over 50 million Hispanic people; this makes EEUU one of the three countries with most Spanish speakers in the world.  The growth of the Spanish-speaking population, and increasing ties with Spanish-speaking countries, make this language an essential tool for success in many professions ranging from the humanities, social sciences, and education to business, marketing, communications, social services, international relations, and other diverse professional areas.

There are two Spanish Language Programs at UH

The Department of Hispanic Studies offers two separate language learning tracks for students based on their language background: 

  • The Spanish as a Second Language Program is designed for students with no previous Spanish language knowledge or background, and for those who have learned Spanish formally while in school. 
  • The Spanish Heritage Language Programis designed for students who grew up in an environment where Spanish was spoken. They may be fluent in Spanish or just understand it.
    These courses are designed for students seeking credits for degrees. Non-credit Spanish courses are not offered at UH.

Both tracks offer several undergraduate-level courses in Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced Spanish, designed to develop all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as culture.

Each program covers the same basic grammar content at the same level (neither of these programs is more advanced or moves faster than the other.) The two programs diverge in the use of different teaching approaches and classroom activities specifically created to facilitate the learning process of students from diverse language backgrounds. Placement in the correct course is based on specific Placement Exams: 

Spanish Placement Test for Second Language Learners
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Placement Test for Spanish Heritage Learners

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First-year Spanish: focus on building core vocabulary and basic grammar structures with intensive practice of four skills emphasizing oral competency.

  • SPAN1501 “Elementary Spanish I”
  • SPAN1502 “Elementary Spanish II”


  • SPAN1505 “Intensive Elementary Spanish”

First-year Spanish for HL: focus on building vocabulary and basic grammar structures with intensive practice of reading and writing.

  • SPAN1507 “Intensive Elementary Spanish for HL”

Second-year Spanish: focus on expanding vocabulary and advancing accuracy with intensive practice of four skills emphasizing oral competency.

  • SPAN 2301 “Intermediate Spanish I”
  • SPAN 2302 “Intermediate Spanish II”

Second-year Spanish for HL: focus on expanding vocabulary and advanced grammar structures with intensive practice of reading and writing.

  • SPAN 2307 “Spanish for Heritage Learners I”
  • SPAN 2308 “Spanish for Heritage Learners II”

Important Note:  To fulfill the Foreign Language Requirements at UH students need to successfully complete two courses at the sophomore level (Spanish Intermediate Level.)