BA Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Our single honours BA Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies course will give you a strong grounding in writing, speaking and understanding the Spanish and Portuguese languages, as well as the opportunity to learn Catalan.

After Year 1, Portuguese language is not compulsory and you can choose to either concentrate more on the Spanish side of your degree, maintain the balance between the languages, or study more in Portuguese than Spanish by Year 4. You also have the option to study Catalan.

Language study offers much more than just language fluency. You'll explore diverse aspects of the culture, society, history, politics and literature of the countries in which Spanish and Portuguese are spoken, helping you to develop intercultural awareness and communication skills - both highly valued by employers.

You'll benefit from excellent teaching, student support and cutting-edge study facilities, as well as from the vibrancy and cultural diversity of Manchester itself, Western Europe's most multilingual city.

With placement options available at partner universities and in professional environments in Spanish- and/or Portuguese-speaking countries in Europe and Latin America, a compulsory third year abroad gives our undergraduate students unforgettable and invaluable personal and professional experience.

Special features

Residence abroad

Your year of study or work abroad will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in Spanish- (and Portuguese-) speaking countries., and further develop your language skills.

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • Instituto Cervantes - a centre for the promotion of Hispanic Cultures
  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film
  • Portuguese Consulate General - the official representation of Portugal in the north of the UK, which organises a number of cultural activities.


The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences including the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies Student Society.

Learn from experts

All our language tutors are native speakers of Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan, giving you a richer learning experience and exposing you to accents and language usage from multiple regions of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America

Tailor your degree

You can choose to change the balance away from Portuguese towards Spanish after Year 1, depending on your developing interests.

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre .

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • presentations;
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research);
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

You will study 100 credits of compulsory units covering the Spanish and Portuguese worlds and languages, plus 20 optional credits which can be taken within the department or used to explore other areas within the University.  

You will take a compulsory core unit on the modern spoken and written Spanish language.  

You will also be provided with an introduction to the cultural and historical development of the Hispanic world and develop the skills required to be successful in your further study of Spain and Latin America.  

You will also take compulsory core course units in Portuguese language (either for beginners, or for students with an A-level or equivalent).  

You will also explore the cultures and history of Portuguese-speaking societies in Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola and Goa.  

Students who have an A-level (or equivalent) in Portuguese can start studying Catalan in Year 1. 

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to the Cultures of the Lusophone World SPLA10130 20 Optional
Cultures of the Hispanic World SPLA10410 20 Optional
Themes in Spanish and Latin American Studies SPLA10420 20 Optional
Study Project (Portuguese) SPLA10600 20 Optional
Spanish Language 3 SPLA51030 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You follow a compulsory Spanish language course unit, refining your skills in the written and spoken language.  

Portuguese language becomes optional rather than compulsory, so you can choose to concentrate more on the Spanish and Latin American Studies side of your degree or continue to study the language and culture of the Lusophone world.  

If you continue with Portuguese, the course builds on your skills in the written and spoken language.  

You can also learn Catalan from beginner's level or, if you started to study it in Year 1, further develop your knowledge of the language and the cultures which speak it.  

You also take optional units in the cultures and histories of the Spanish- and/or Portuguese-speaking worlds chosen from a list,which includes options such as the study of Latin American History, writing women in the Spanish Golden Age, the Cold War in Latin America, and visual cultures in Modern Spain.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Mandatory
Visual Culture in Modern Spain: Film, Painting and Photography SPLA20062 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20142 20 Optional
Writing Women in the Spanish Golden Age SPLA20161 20 Optional
History of Latin America SPLA20361 20 Optional
Spanish Linguistics SPLA20772 20 Optional
Brazilian Literature SPLA20831 20 Optional
Culture and Cold War in Latin America SPLA20871 20 Optional
Modern Latin American Literature SPLA20882 20 Optional
Spanish Language 5 SPLA51050 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 12 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your third year of study is  spent abroad  under approved conditions.

Course content for year 4

Continue studying the Spanish and (if applicable) Portuguese languages, building on what you learned in Years 1 and 2 and during your year abroad. 

You will perfect your writing, reading, listening and speaking skills. 

Choose from a wide range of options, including the study of the supernatural in Latin American literature and film, social issues in Portuguese and Spanish film, and visual culture from the early modern Hispanic world. 

Opt to write a dissertation on an academic subject of your choosing, related to either the Spanish or the Portuguese side of your studies and supervised by a member of staff.

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Spanish Language 6 SPLA51060 20 Mandatory
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
Reading the Rain Forest: Visions of the Amazon SPLA30801 20 Optional
Modern Spanish Music: A Cultural History SPLA31081 20 Optional
The Politics of Business in Latin America SPLA31092 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31131 20 Optional
Memory and Culture in Post-Franco Spain SPLA31142 20 Optional
History of the Spanish Atlantic World: Empire, Trade, War SPLA31152 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 5 SPLA52050 20 Optional
Portuguese Language Project SPLA52060 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 1 SPLA53010 20 Optional
Catalan Language & Culture 2 SPLA53020 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 4


There are outstanding resources for students, including world leading collections on Lusophone Africa within the library and access to thousands of films and texts on Latin America, Portugal and Spain.

The  University Language Centre  is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms and resources for over 70 languages.

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.

Learn more on the  Facilities  page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: