Spanish & Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley

Welcome to the web resource of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Berkeley. Our department is a medium-sized one, big enough to offer a wide variety of approaches to teaching and research yet small enough to afford students at both the graduate and undergraduate level personal attention and mentoring. We offer an abundance of opportunities to learn and achieve mastery of the languages and cultures we study, which include Catalan, Nahuatl, Portuguese, Romance Studies and Spanish. Our programs are specially designed for highly motivated students with a passion for other languages, literatures and cultures, for imaginative approaches to these and for careful crossing of traditionally defined geographic, linguistic and disciplinary borders.

Several of our faculty are formally involved with or are active in other departments or academic units on campus—for example, Comparative Literature, Rhetoric, Film Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, the Portuguese Studies Program, the Spanish Studies Program, the Catalan and Occitan Studies Program, and the Center for Latin American Studies. The current Director of the Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese, as is the current Director of UC Berkeley’s renowned Bancroft Library, which contains a rich collection of materials related to our fields of study.

The variety of research interests and expertise held by our faculty is echoed in the diversity of backgrounds and academic interests among our students. While most come from California, a significant number come from other states and foreign countries. At the graduate level, about a third of our fifty-some students are from Spain and Latin America. A few regularly practice, as well as study, one or more of the literary, musical, or visual arts. The graduate students publish a journal, Lucero, and organize an international conference each year, which brings leading scholars to Berkeley to engage with us over several days. The department holds professor- and student-sponsored colloquia on a regular basis.

Providing opportunities to experience the living languages and cultures studied in our department is essential to our academic mission. Besides regular co-sponsorship of cultural events and performances on campus and elsewhere in the Bay Area, we currently administer two travel study programs, one in Spain and one in Portugal, through UC Berkeley Summer Sessions. Undergraduates are also able to study abroad for an entire year in a variety of locations in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere through our participation in the University of California’s Education Abroad Program.

Further information about the department’s current membership, affiliations, activities, programs and curricula are available throughout this site. We invite you to explore our pages thoroughly, and to contact us for help if you cannot find what you need here.

We welcome your support! Did you know that our 100 percent public University is currently only 25 percent funded by the State of California? Moreover, unlike many scientific units, which rely partly on federal and other non-State funding sources, Spanish and Portuguese and most other departments and programs in the Division of Arts and Humanities of the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley are almost entirely supported by State money. Thus, when State revenues decline and its budget is in crisis, so go ours. Please help us continue to provide an excellent public education and knowledge base by making a donation of any amount to the department. Your support will help us build an endowment that will mitigate the impact of fluctuations in State funding and maintain permanently the quality of our graduate and undergraduate programs. To contribute online, click here to Give to Cal. If you would like more information about how you can directly support the mission of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, please contact one of us directly. We would be pleased to hear from you.

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