Spanish Study Abroad

Getting Started

All students who wish to obtain SPAN credit for their study abroad coursework are encouraged to speak with a departmental study abroad advisor before they select a program.

These advisors are:

Students are warned that if they participate in a study abroad program without early consultation (i.e. before application to a program) with one of these departmental advisors, they run the risk of not receiving degree credit for their studies, or of not having their credit count toward their Spanish major or minor.

NB: The meeting with a departmental study abroad advisor does not take the place of watching the Education Abroad Workshop on www.studyabroad.virginia.edu or study abroad advising at the International Studies Office (ISO). All students must watch the Education Abroad Workshop prior to opening a study abroad application or requesting an advising appointment with an ISO education-abroad advisor. Click here to make an appointment with an advisor.

Picking a Program

The Spanish program distinguishes between recommended and approved programs, and allows students to petition to study in other programs:

The recommended programs are those operated by the University of Virginia (UVa). Currently, there are two that are open to undergraduates, UVa in Valencia and UVa in Costa Rica. Information about these programs is available at the program websites referenced above and at the International Studies Office (ISO) website.

The approved programs are those that have been reviewed and approved by the Spanish faculty, ISO, and the College of Arts and Sciences (CLAS). A list of these programs is below. Please note that while there are many other programs approved by the ISO for study in Spain, Central and South America, not all of these are approved for credit in the Spanish major. Students may still pursue the other program options on the ISO website for elective credit or for another major without a petition to the Spanish program.

Students who have a compelling reason to study in a program that is not on the program’s recommended or approved lists may petition to be allowed to study in such a program. For information about petitioning, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Programs in Spanish.

Students must submit a petition to the Spanish program well in advance to ensure timely approval of transfer credit. If your program is not on the ISO approved list, which is different from the Spanish program list, you must petition your program to the ISO in addition to providing the petition for major credit to the Spanish Department. Students who attend such programs must provide an evaluation of their experience upon return.

If a petition is approved, the department will treat the program as an “approved program” for the student who initiates the petition. This will ease the transfer of credit for the degree and for the Spanish major or minor.

Petitions will be granted on an individual basis. The approval of one student’s petition does not indicate that another student will necessarily be allowed to study in that program.

Non-UVa Programs Approved for SPAN Major and Minor Credit

Country City Program
Argentina Buenos Aires IES-Buenos Aires
Argentina Buenos Aires IFSA Bulter
Argentina Córdoba Spanish Studies Abroad
Chile Santiago Washington University
Costa Rica Heredia IFSA Bulter
Cuba Havana Spanish Studies Abroad
Ecuador Quito IES-Quito
Spain Granada IES-Granada
Spain Salamanca IES-Salamanca
Spain Seville CIEE
Spain Seville Spanish Studies Abroad

Selecting Courses

Students are expected to register for courses appropriate to their level of language mastery, as demonstrated by the course work they have completed at UVa.

Students must select their courses in consultation with a departmental study abroad advisor, particularly if they plan to major or minor in Spanish.

Transferring Credit

Who to see

Programs with transfer credit require approval from the Department (see list of study abroad advisors at the top of this page) for Major, Minor or Foreign Language Requirement credit. Students wanting to receive only elective credit obtain approval for courses from the CLAS Transfer Credit Evaluator, Abby Holeman.  UVa in Valencia and UVa in Costa Rica are direct-credit programs and require no such approval. Both grades and credits earned in Valencia and Costa Rica count in degree totals.

What you need to get approval

In order to gain transfer credit approval, the student must provide the departmental study abroad advisor with course descriptions, as well as with starting and ending dates for all coursework. If this information is not available, ‘post-approval required’ will be marked on the transfer credit form and the student must provide the information, either upon arrival to the program and after class choices are solidified (via email) or upon completion of the program. In the latter case, however, the student runs the risk of receiving only partial degree credit, or no credit at all.

Three (3) UVa credits are granted for every 45 contact hours of study abroad. Wherever possible, students will be given credit for actual UVa-equivalent courses. When no such equivalent exists, the departmental study abroad advisor will have the option of assigning any number of generic transfer credits (e.g. 2 credits of SPAN 3000T or 6 credits of SPAN 4000T, etc.), or of refusing to give UVA credit for the course. Such generic credit may or may not count for the major or minor, at the discretion of the departmental study abroad advisor.

Internships and service experiences that are attached to academic coursework will be treated as academic courses. Those that have no attached coursework will transfer as one generic SPAN credit, at the appropriate level (1000T, 2000T, 3000T, 4000T). These single credit experiences will not count toward the major or minor.

Receiving Major or Minor Credit in Spanish

All three tracks (GeneralLiterature & Culture and Linguistics & Philology) of the Spanish major include three core courses, a grammar course (3010 or 4010, depending upon departmental placement), Texts & Interpretation (SPAN 3300), and at least one survey course (SPAN 3400-3430). In order to count for the major or minor, these courses must be taken at UVa or in a program recommended, not merely approved (see above), by the Spanish Department.

  • Students who study in a recommended program may count up to 15 credits per semester of study abroad or 24 credits per year of study abroad toward their Spanish major.
  • Students who study in an approved program in Spain or Latin America may count up to nine (9) credits for a semester of study abroad or 15 credits for a year of study abroad toward their Spanish major.
  • Students may count up to nine (9) credits of study abroad toward their Spanish minor.

If a student wishes to appeal a decision made by a departmental study-abroad advisor, he or she should see the Chair of the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.

The Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese strongly encourages Spanish majors to participate in the study abroad programs, whether for the summer, one semester, or a year.