"Do you know what a foreign accent is? It's a sign of bravery." — Amy Chua

We welcome brave students who want to experience the world in another language, challenging themselves to explore new ideas and forge lasting relationships with their global neighbors. Majoring in Spanish allows you to immerse yourself in Hispanic language, literature and culture while developing strong analytical thinking and communication skills. The Spanish Education major offers the opportunity to combine these skills with the coursework and practicum experiences necessary to earn a teaching certificate in Pennsylvania. In both majors, you’ll find countless opportunities to sharpen your language skills and challenge your cultural assumptions while experiencing the world from a different vantage point.

Fast Facts

  • We strongly encourage students to study abroad, and work with each student to find the program that will make this possible.

  • Mercyhurst’s diverse international student body and faculty ensure that Spanish students can practice the language in real-world settings without leaving campus.

  • The Bachelor of Arts in Spanish pairs well with many other degree programs for a double major.

  • Studying a foreign language is excellent preparation for careers in many different fields, such as business, education, human services, government or international relations, as well as graduate school.

Learning Outcomes

  • Speak and understand Spanish at the Intermediate High level or better as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • Read and write in Spanish at the Intermediate High level or better as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • Demonstrate cultural proficiency in cultures that use Spanish.
  • Discuss in both spoken and written Spanish, literary and visual texts or cultural artifacts of the target culture.
  • Conduct and produce research in Spanish.
  • Demonstrate understanding of second-language acquisition and the history of foreign-language pedagogy (education majors only).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply understanding in practice teaching situations and to analyze and critique the teaching of others (education majors only).

Course Spotlight

SPAN 209: Introduction to Spanish Civilization
An introduction to the culture and history of Spain. Literature, lecture, film, and art introduce the student to geography, history, and cultures of Spain as well as contemporary issues such as regionalism, immigration, and the membership in the European Union which are shaping contemporary Spain.

SPAN 305: Women and Gender in Hispanic Culture
An upper-intermediate seminar that will use lecture, readings, movies, and lively discussion to examine how gender and ideas of femininity and masculinity have been constructed in Hispanic cultures throughout the present day, with particular attention to the historical, social, and cultural roots of women’s present-day realities in Spain, Latin America, and Hispanic communities in the US.

SPAN 310: Seminar in Composition/Translation
Students will hone their skills in composition, writing descriptive, narrative, expository and argumentative essays. Students will examine several basic differences in the structure of Spanish and English languages before addressing problems of translation.

SPAN 317: Spanish in the United States
This course examines the different varieties of Spanish spoken in the United States, from a sociolinguistic and cultural perspective. We will discuss linguistic, cultural and historical differences across dialects of Spanish (Cuban, Mexican, Nicaraguan, etc.) and across regions of the U.S. (Northeast, Southwest, etc.); the role of language contact with English on language change, language/cultural maintenance and language loss; language identity; language policy; and how Spanish is perceived across the U.S., while also exposing students to authentic U.S. Latino culture.

service learning in puerto rico


Our students take advantage of opportunities to serve the global community through international travel to places including the Mission of Friendship in Mérida, Mexico. We also foster local relationships through our work with Erie's immigrant populations, where students use their language skills during real-world interactions through meaningful service. 

study abroad students


Mercyhurst World Language students apply their global competencies and language skills first-hand through study abroad. Our students have traveled throughout South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East as they make meaningful, lasting connections and experience the unique music, food, sights, and cultural traditions in their countries of study.

honor society


Phi Sigma Iota is an international honor society for the study of foreign languages and cultures, and is one of the highest honors one can achieve in the field. Language majors and minors are nominated in their junior or senior year based on their GPA, a faculty recommendation, and completion of a 300-level language course (or equivalent).

Contact Us

Alice Edwards, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of World Languages and Cultures
Office: Preston 206
Phone: 814-824-2548