Major & minor questions

To declare a minor, simply fill out the minor declaration form available here on our website. To declare a major, you need to schedule an appointment with the Spanish and Portuguese advisor, Natalie Techentin. You can do this by making an appointment on the Student Appointment Scheduler and search for Techentin. If you are declaring a major in Portuguese, you should also contact the director of the Portuguese program, Luciana Namorato.

You can find complete details about major/minor requirements here on our website, as well as course offerings for current and upcoming semesters. The course offerings page also contains links to other resources, including the Spanish and Portuguese pages in the Bulletin of the College of Arts and Sciences, a comprehensive source of information about the program.

The College Bulletin contains program policies and requirements, as well as descriptions for all courses regularly offered by the department. If you are a major or minor, you should definitely review the Bulletin pages carefully in order to familiarize yourself with the guidelines of the undergraduate program.

Native Portuguese speakers should contact the director of the Portuguese program. Native Spanish speakers should contact the director of undergraduate studies. Call 812-855-8612 to schedule these appointments.

Many of our majors and minors are native speakers, but their particular experiences with the language are often quite varied. For example, you may have grown up speaking Spanish or Portuguese at home but never had the opportunity to study or write in the language. Or you may have grown up attending school in the language and therefore have a relatively advanced written and reading level. The DUGS and the Portuguese director can discuss your situation with you in order to determine which course you should start with.

Students working on a minor or major (which starts at S250 for Spanish and P200 for Portuguese), must complete all course work with a C- or better in order for the course to count toward the minor or major requirements.

Many courses taken on IU-sponsored programs are already approved, but as new courses become available on these programs, they require departmental review, and that review can only take place when students sign up for them.

In addition, most non-IU program courses will also require departmental approval before you can apply them to your major or minor. Whether you are going on an IU-sponsored or non-IU program, you must set up a pre-departure appointment with the advisor to discuss the courses you plan to take. Our Study Abroad information page lists the procedures you should follow in order to obtain departmental approval for the courses you plan to take while abroad. They include the following four steps (see detail at the link under the section “If You Are Going Abroad”):

  1. Set up a pre-departure appointment with the department academic advisor, Natalie Techentin. You can do this by making an appointment on the Student Appointment Scheduler (search for Techentin).
  2. Obtain pre-approvals for your courses.
  3. Stay in touch with the advisor by email while abroad regarding any course registration changes.
  4. Submit all course materials (syllabus, notes, quizzes, exams, papers, and so on) to the advisor upon your return.

It is important that you read through the details of these procedures very carefully in order to ensure that your study abroad credits are approved by the department.

Advising & course questions

If you have no prior experience with Portuguese (or Spanish), you should register for P100 as your first course. If you have some background in Portuguese, you must meet with the Director of the Portuguese Program in order to determine your correct placement. If you have some prior experience with Portuguese and/or knowledge of another Romance language (such as French or Spanish), you may be placed in P135 (Intensive Portuguese) or higher, depending on your level as determined by the Director. Note that P135 counts as an elective for the Spanish major.

Find the information you need on our undergraduate honors page. Our academic advisor, Natalie Techentin, is also available to help you consider this option.

Contact the department advisor, Natalie Techentin. You can do this by making an appointment on the Student Appointment Scheduler and search for Techentin. She can help you chart out the Spanish or Portuguese courses you will need to take over the upcoming semesters and project how to fit these courses into your schedule within the context of your other academic requirements.

If you are put on a waiting list for a course, you will be notified automatically via your IUB email account if you have been added to the course. The Computer Schedule Adjustment runs through Friday of the first week of classes. This means that the waiting list for courses is managed exclusively by Computer Schedule Adjustment during this period, not by the professor or instructor.

After the Computer Schedule Adjustment period has ended and if you still have not been added to the class, you may contact the professor to see if someone has dropped. However, if no space becomes available, you will need to register for the course during a later semester. If you are a senior and urgently need to take the course in order to be able to graduate, please contact the Spanish and Portuguese Undergraduate office.

A final grade of I (Incomplete) is rarely assigned in our department and may only be considered an option in cases where an unexpected and extreme situation, such as a personal or medical emergency, prevents you from completing the final major assignment(s) of the course. You must be passing the course in order to be considered for an incomplete, and the request must be made after the automatic “W” deadline has past. The petition form for an incomplete should be obtained from the Dean’s office in your particular school.

In major/minor courses, the decision about whether to grant an incomplete is made by the professor or the course supervisor. The petition for an incomplete must be accompanied by appropriate and verifiable documentation. If the professor or course supervisor approves and signs the petition form, it should be taken to Global International Studies Building, 2 West 2169 for the signature of the director of undergraduate studies. Call 812-855-8612 to make an appointment.

Incompletes are not issued due to chronic missed work or absences over the course of the semester; a withdrawal is more appropriate in these cases. All withdrawals must take place before the College’s withdrawal (“W”) deadline.

No. The College does not currently allow students to fulfill the writing requirement in courses taught in languages other than English.

Although all study abroad courses must be taught in Spanish or Portuguese in order to be approved, just because a course is taught in either of these languages does not mean it will count toward department credit. To be approved, a course must be similar in content to courses already offered, or potentially offered, in the department. This includes courses in all areas of Hispanic linguistics, Luso-Hispanic literature and film, and Luso-Hispanic culture. We do not grant study abroad credit for courses taken in other fields. If you want to get credit in courses from other disciplines, you need to request the equivalence from another department at IUB. The advisor can tell you which department would be the most appropriate.

Keep in mind that all of the major/minor courses in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese above the level of the advanced grammar courses (S280 and P311)—and with the exception of the advanced conversation courses (S317/P317)—have a distinct disciplinary content; i.e., they are no longer primarily focused on language learning. Thus, students who have already taken S280/P311 or S317/P317 cannot receive credit for a study abroad course based merely on the justification that it provides additional practice in the language. All study abroad courses approved for departmental credit above the level of S280/P311 (again, with the exception of S317/P317) must be justified by their academic/topical content, not only by their language of instruction.

The department certainly considers the linguistic preparation of its students to be a primary and ongoing objective. We are just as concerned, in addition, with challenging students’ critical thinking in all of our courses, particularly at the upper level. The experience of thinking and communicating critically in a second language, in a context of exposure to other cultural perspectives, is an invaluable and vital one—and it is a linguistic experience that you will not get in courses taught in English.

Language placement, credit, & transfer questions

Yes. These credits are called special credits. You can get special credits for language courses below your placement level by completing S250 or above (for Spanish) or P150 or P135 (for Portuguese) with a grade of C or better.

You can also get special credits in Spanish from having completed a Spanish AP exam (language or literature) with a score of 3 or higher. For comprehensive information special credit in Spanish and Portuguese and instructions for how to claim that credit, check out our information about Placement and Special Credit.

If you place into the S300-level and pass a validating course, you have automatically earned special credit for S250, but not for S280. You won’t need to take S280, but if you plan to major or minor in Spanish you must replace it with another Spanish course (any course at the 300 or 400 level).

If you are planning to take courses at another IU campus, you should first talk to the department advisor. Many or most Spanish or Portuguese courses at other IU campuses will transfer back to IU automatically and the department accepts them without requiring a special review, but the advisor can tell you whether a given course is appropriate for your level or whether a given IU campus offers the course(s) you need. There can also be differences in course numbers between one IU campus and another, and the advisor can help you navigate these complications (for example, “S328” at some of the regional campuses is not the same course taught at IU Bloomington under the same course number). Once the department has given the go-ahead for the course(s), you should visit the Admissions website for more information about processing an inter-campus course transfer.

For courses you wish to take at another university in the U.S., you should first check the Credit Transfer Service page on the Admissions website. This will give you all the information you need to know about getting approval for a course transfer. There is also an extensive, searchable database on this site which lists courses from other universities which have been already approved, whether for IUB undistributed credit or additionally, for specific departmental credit.

If this database does not list the course (or the program/institution) you are looking for, you will need to fill out the Credit Transfer Agreement Form found on the same website, in order to petition the Admissions department to accept the course. To gain Spanish/Portuguese major/minor credit for a course that does not already appear as departmentally-approved on the Admissions database, you will need to set up an appointment with the department’s academic advisor, Natalie Techentin. You can do this by making an appointment on the Student Appointment Scheduler (search for Techentin).

The academic advisor will consult with the DUGS in order to determine whether the course can count toward the major/minor. Final assignment of departmental credit will take place once you have completed the course and after it has been received and processed by Admissions as undistributed credit.

Study abroad

We work with the Office of Overseas Studies (OVST) at IU to offer a diverse and exciting range of study abroad opportunities. Before scheduling an appointment with them, study the options available through our department.

The Office of Overseas Studies (OVST) is highly informative about all aspects of available overseas study, both through IU and through non-IU programs. It provides information sessions, materials about specific programs, and advisors who can answer your questions about studying abroad. You are able to search for programs using various criteria such as date, location and academic level. The OVSDT website includes separate links with information and instructions for applying to IU-sponsored and non-IU programs.

It is strongly recommended that you choose an IU-sponsored program for study abroad, since the academic and administrative quality of these programs has been well verified through IU's extensive experience with them. Furthermore, many Spanish and Portuguese courses within these programs have already been set up for automatic departmental approval.

Once you have received all the information you need from OVST, you are required to set up an appointment with the Spanish and Portuguese advisor, Natalie Techentin. You can do this by making an appointment on the Student Appointment Scheduler (search for Techentin). The academic advisor can help you get pre-approval for the courses for which you want to receive departmental credit (see the next question).