Bachelor of Arts in Spanish

Preparation for the Major

The Spanish major consists of up to 14 units of lower-division and 30 units of upper-division coursework. Students must complete the lower-division sequence -- or the equivalent -- prior to beginning upper-division coursework. The program may waive some or all lower-division requirements if the student demonstrates appropriate proficiency through advising, by taking the placement test, by having taken the equivalent coursework elsewhere.

Lower-Division Spanish

SPAN 101 and SPAN 102 are four-unit classes and are designed for students who have had no previous formal training in Spanish and are not native speakers. These classes emphasize the four basic language skills, understanding, speaking, reading, and writing.

The second-year sequence (SPAN 205 and SPAN 206) reviews and expands upon the principles learned in SPAN 101 and SPAN 102. Second-year courses are 3 units each.

Heritage speakers of Spanish (students who speak Spanish at home but who may not have had any formal training) have to enroll in SPAN 215 Spanish for Heritage Speakers (3 unit) instead of in SPAN 205 and SPAN 206 upon advisement.

Students should meet with an adviser or take the placement test prior to enrolling in their first Spanish class. To take the online placement test, contact the Spanish program coordinator at

Upper-Division Spanish

Upper-Division requirements are 18 units (SPAN 301, SPAN 341, MLL 325, SPAN 401 or SPAN 405, SPAN 595, and SPAN 371GW or MLL 400GW) and Upper-Division electives are 12 units. However, if students don't take SPAN 371GW or MLL 400GW, because they take the GWAR course in the second major, they have to take an elective in the upper-division of the Spanish Program. This would mean that students in this situation take 15 requirement units and 15 elective units.

Writing in the Major

Students must complete the University’s GWAR requirement by taking SPAN 371GW or MLL 400GW. Students who have a double major can take the GWAR in the other major instead of in the Spanish major. Students in this situation are expected to take an additional elective in the upper-division of the Spanish Program instead of SPAN 371GW or MLL 400GW.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Oral Comprehension: understand the utterances of native speakers and extract main ideas and can sustain a conversation on a general topic, narrate and describe on a variety of topics at paragraph length and respond to spontaneous developments in an exchange.
  2. Reading Comprehension: understand and summarize main ideas in Spanish language texts intended for general readers, including social correspondence, general purpose essays, short stories and news writing.
  3. Writing: produce narratives and descriptions, cohesive summaries and routine social correspondence (e.g. business letters, resumes), demonstrating awareness of orthography, syntax and stylistics in the writing process
  4. Situate cultural objects such as literature and films within their historical context and analyze them in order to understand societal processes and examine them critically.
  5. Understanding of basic linguistic processes, including phonology, phonetics, morphonology, and syntax of the Spanish language
  6. Understanding of the historical development of the Spanish language, including sociolinguistic variation.

Spanish (B.A.) — 30-44 units

Lower-Division Foundations (0-14 units)

SPAN 101First Semester Spanish4
SPAN 102Second Semester Spanish4
SPAN 205Intermediate Spanish I3
SPAN 206Intermediate Spanish II3
SPAN 215Spanish for Heritage Speakers3

Upper-Division Requirements (18 units)

MLL 325Linguistics for Foreign Languages3
SPAN 301Advanced Grammar (should be taken the first year)3
SPAN 341Introduction to the Reading of Literary Texts3
SPAN 401Culture and Civilization of Spain3
or SPAN 405 Culture and Civilization of Spanish America
SPAN 595Senior Survey in Spanish or Spanish American Literature3
SPAN 371GWHistory and Development of the Spanish Language - GWAR3
or MLL 400GW Reading and Analysis of Cultural Texts - GWAR

Electives (12 units)

Choose any four courses in Spanish numbered 300 to 699. At least two of these courses should be at the 400-level or above.

Note: A minimum of 30 upper-division units must be completed for the degree (including upper-division units required for the major, general education, electives, etc.). A student can complete this major yet not attain the necessary number of upper-division units required for graduation. In this case, additional upper-division courses will be needed to reach the required total.

Note: Students can use a GWAR in the second Major with that Spanish program's approval. If this is the situation, students have to take another upper-division SPAN elective.

Complementary Studies

Required of all candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish are 12 units of Complementary Studies, which must come from courses bearing a prefix other than SPAN, and not cross-listed with SPAN. Complementary Studies for the Spanish major can be satisfied via four possible routes:

  1. 12 units in any foreign language other than Spanish (may include up to 3 units of MLL prefix courses);

  2. 12 units of coursework taken in an approved study abroad program (including CSU Study Abroad and SF State Bilateral);

  3. 12 units of coursework taken as partial completion of a second major, a minor, or a certificate;

  4. 12 units of coursework in related disciplines with the approval of a Spanish Program advisor.

Related disciplines typically include linguistics, literature, philosophy, history, education, and any aspect of Spain, Latin America, or Latino/Latina Studies.

Where a course with a non-SPAN prefix, and not cross-listed with SPAN, is taken as a core requirement or elective for the Spanish major, the said course may also (double) count towards Complementary Studies only via the Study Abroad option or the second Major, Minor, or Certificate option listed above. Students satisfying Complementary Studies through the Foreign Language option are allowed a maximum of 3 units of overlap of MLL-prefix courses between Spanish major and Complementary Studies units. Students satisfying Complementary Studies through the Related Subjects option are not allowed to double-count major and Complementary Studies units.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.

First-Time Student Roadmap

SF State Scholars

The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in Spanish.
SPAN ADT Roadmap

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Spanish

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.