The study of Spanish includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of Spanish acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate Hispanic societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language.  

Western’s Modern and Classical Languages Department trains in two areas: language structure and literary analysis. Language structure is taught both holistically and analytically — with multimedia technology, study abroad, language skills courses, and linguistics courses. Literary analysis is an essential component to the curriculum, and the department provides instruction in history and culture, as well as literary theory. 

The Spanish program at Western places a strong emphasis on building a solid grammar and vocabulary base, with an equal emphasis on cultural awareness through culture, film, literature, and linguistics courses.  

The Spanish major also offers a Spanish — Elementary degree. This is a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree with a teacher certification and endorsement in elementary education, which must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in elementary education. See the  Elementary Education  for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.

The Modern and Classical Language Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“What I love the most about my program is learning about language development and working with a range of students who I learn something new from with every experience.”

-Cecilia Guzman, 2015 Outstanding Graduate, Elementary Education. Major: Spanish-Elementary, BAE; minor: Bilingual Education

Beyond the Classroom

Students are encouraged to get involved with extracurricular activities pertaining to their major and interests. Spanish studies at Western offers many ways for students to be involved. Sigma Delta Pi, The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, encourages interest in Hispanic cultural contributions, and fostering friendly relations between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking nations. Western’s local chapter, Omega Xi, offers opportunities for leadership and service.

For students interested in teaching or enhancing their Spanish-speaking skills, the WELP (Western Language Employee Program) program gives students first-hand experience teaching Spanish to speakers of other languages. The experience serves as a valuable tool in building cultural awareness. Other local volunteer opportunities for tutoring, teaching, or assisting with Spanish are available through the Spanish Program Volunteer Opportunities

Many of our students participate in the Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain: North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain. Through this program, students who have graduated can spend nine months in Spain as teaching assistants in schools.

Students are also welcome to the weekly Spanish Table for Spanish conversation with peers, professors, and pizza. 

“Studying abroad made learning the language and the material real. After speaking with people in situations where Spanish was the only shared language, I retained the language and vocabulary I heard and utilized in a lasting way.” 

-Nick Shriner

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the Spanish program graduate with career and continued education plans from locally (Bellingham) to all over the world (Spain).


Sample Jobs

  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign Correspondent 
  • Foreign Service Officer 
  • FBI Agent 
  • Educator 
  • Foreign Diplomat 
  • Travel Writer 
  • Communication Consultant

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.