With more than 400 million speakers worldwide, Spanish is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, and one of the six official languages of the United Nations. The United States boasts 41 million Spanish speakers. The language has an important role in California’s history and contemporary society, including the Central Valley.
The major and minor in Spanish at UC Merced is part of the Department of Literature, Languages and Cultures. Our program accommodates both heritage and second language speakers. The Spanish program prepares learners with academic and specialized language skills and intercultural competence necessary to participate effectively in professional and local contexts where bilingualism is in demand (e.g. business, education, healthcare). Thus it helps students face the demands of an ever more globalized society, one that requires and values broad linguistic and cultural competence, by requiring the study of Iberian, Latin American, and Latina/o literatures, linguistics, and cultures. Learners are challenged to think critically, to analyze literary works and discourse using linguistic approaches. Our curriculum is designed to engage students’ capacity for rigorous analysis and independent thought within a considerable range of disciplines and endeavors, and to cultivate the intellectual, creative, ethical, and social qualities essential for leadership in a rapidly changing global community. We believe we have established a lively intellectual environment that fosters innovative thinking among faculty and students alike.