Spanish Professor Lecturing to a Class


Become a sought-after leader in an increasingly multicultural world when you study Spanish language and Hispanic culture at USD.

Why Study Spanish?

As a Spanish Major at USD, you will gain a comprehensive survey of Spanish language, literature and contemporary civilization so you can guide your peers in a multicultural industry. Here you will find a rewarding interdisciplinary program filled with rich and diverse faculty and peer mentorship mixed with immersive experiences abroad to Spain. Our program provides you with creative experiences in and beyond the classroom so you can pursue your career in foreign service, business, health care, teaching, public service and academia.

Become a multicultural leader who can communicate globally and use foreign experiences to guide decisions as a Spanish major.

Degrees & Offerings

Spanish (B.A.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A degree in Spanish prepares you for careers in health care, tourism and hospitality, diplomacy, translating and interpreting, and foreign market analysis. Most importantly, it prepares you to be armed with valuable language skills that are highly desired in an increasingly multicultural world.

Spanish (B.A.) with Secondary Education Certification

  Vermillion Main Campus

A certificate in Spanish with Secondary Education will help you develop the skills you need to teach Spanish language and culture to middle and high school students. This program is a great complement to a secondary education degree.


  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

A minor in Spanish will help you develop reading, writing, listening, speaking and understanding of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures that will serve you in any career. This program is a great complement to a variety of majors, including international studies, health sciences, business, political science, media and journalism and more.

Basic Spanish Language Proficiency

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

The basic Spanish language proficiency certificate equips students with essential language skills to enhance professional interactions. Graduates are well-prepared to navigate multicultural environments, fostering effective communication and cultural understanding in their careers. This certificate is highly recommended for students in fields that involve diverse and multicultural workplaces, such as hospitality, healthcare, and social services.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

Do you have your sights set on Spain, Mexico, Peru, or another place in Central or South America? The USD Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics can help you get there! Our students have participated in summer, semester and year-long options for language learning.

Study Spanish in Almeria, Spain as a part of USD's study abroad program and mix language classes with social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and more. We have numerous Spanish language programs available. You can embark on a number of short-term, faculty-led programs during the summer in these locations as well. 

Modern Languages & Linguistics scholarships and the College of Arts & Sciences International Opportunity Fund can help pay for study abroad experiences.

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics. You may be interested in playing games in Spanish during La Hora de la Fiesta meetings, performing service projects with Sigma Delta Pi (the Spanish honor society), conversing with the Spanish Club, or planning events with the Latin American Student Organization, such as the Day of the Dead celebration. There are many ways to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Explore Student Organizations

As a Spanish student at USD, you can pursue unique research and creative scholarship opportunities that will enrich your college experience. 

Undergraduate students who are interested in real-world problems related to languages, literature, culture and linguistics can take part in research projects with faculty mentors. You can showcase your academic excellence and creative engagement by presenting research at local, regional and national venues such as USD's IdeaFest and the Pan-Lingua Conference.

Foreign Language Placement Testing

If you are interested in taking a Spanish language class at USD and have had previous experience with that language, it is highly recommended that you take our language placement test. This exam will help to determine which level of the language you should take as your first course. 

To take the exam, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the link for the Spanish language test.
  2. Complete the required information (name, email address and your student ID number) and click “Continue.”
  3. All questions are multiple choice. For each question, click on the letter for the correct answer and then select “Submit Answer.”
  4. Note: Do not use your browser’s back button or you will be taken back to the registration screen.
  5. When you have completed the exam, you will be given your score and placement.
  6. After you have viewed your scores, click “Finished.” Your score will be made available to the language department. You will also have access to your scores using the login information you created in step 2.
  7. The test should be taken without any notes or other materials and in a quiet setting.

Take the Spanish Placement Test

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in modern language and linguistics.
Students Working on Assignments in Classroom

Modern Languages & Linguistics

Connect with others, gain marketable skills and thrive in a culturally diverse world by learning a new language and exploring other cultures.

faculty and staff

Our faculty in the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics have consistently earned awards for their teaching and scholarship. Our faculty are experts in their fields, contributing to research in Spanish literature and theater, German language and culture, foreign language pedagogy, Russian culture, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics and phonetics.

Bio Image for Faculty Member Robert Turner

Robert Turner III

Chair-Modern Languages
Bio Image for Faculty Member Nathan Bates

Nathan Bates

Associate Professor of Practice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Angela Helmer

Angela Helmer

A student in Spain studying abroad.

Gain Real-World Experience

Each year the Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics offers student travel grants and scholarship to enrich their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Spend a semester, summer or year living with a host family in Spain or Latin America and gain the experience of a life time.

People sitting in a large room for a presentation

Participate in National Conferences

Through the Pan-Lingua Undergraduate Research Conference, students have the opportunity to present their language-related research to their peers throughout the region. Students participate in presentations including literary analysis, cultural observations, reports on service learning and much more. Pan-Lingua invites participants to engage with each other while practicing the language and learning more about the world around them.
Day of the Dead decorative skulls.

Connect with a Global Community

Whether you want to teach the Spanish language to high schoolers or work in international affairs, the best way to practice speaking the Spanish language is with your peers and faculty at USD who will set you up for success.
At monthly social meetings outside of the classroom, experience Spanish in a supportive and relaxed atmosphere. Learn new vocabulary in context and improve your listening, reading and speaking skills. Take part in activities that explore the great diversity that exists in the Spanish-speaking world.

Alum Success Story

Success story Lucas Lund smiling.
In my time as an undergraduate, I have advanced my Spanish language acquisition, been inducted into Sigma Delta Pi National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, presented my academic work at regional conferences, and have even taught introductory Spanish to college-bound South Dakota high school students through the Upward Bound summer program. I have expanded my horizons by studying abroad through incredible USD faculty-led programs in Peru, Ireland, and Greece, and was invited by the Dean of Students to participate as an ambassador in a summer study tour of China.

Lucas Lund

B.A. Spanish, Political Science and International Studies '19
Annual Giving Director, South Dakota School of Mines
Rapid City, South Dakota

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