Hispanic Studies BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Hons Hispanic Studies
UCAS code
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via foundation year)
Required subjects
Spanish A level (B minimum) required for the post-A level programme. No Spanish qualification is required for the beginners' pathway
IB score
32; 5 in Spanish at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) for post-IB pathway
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course will give you the opportunity to study the Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultural aspects of the Portuguese and Spanish-speaking worlds.
Read full overview

On this course post-A level students of Spanish will study Spanish from advanced level and will begin study of the Portuguese language, whereas beginners or GCSE students  will undertake intensive language study in Spanish to progress to degree level. Students on the degree also study aspects of the histories, cultures, cinemas and literatures of the Portuguese and Spanish-speaking worlds. Most post-A level students opt to study Portuguese throughout the degree, but it is possible to concentrate exclusively on Spanish after the second year.

Year one 

If you have an A level or equivalent in Spanish, you will begin a structured course in Spanish to take you from A level to degree level, and begin the study of Portuguese.. If you are a beginner or GCSE student in Spanish, you will begin an intensive course in Spanish to enable rapid progress. You are also introduced to aspects of modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature, culture and history.

Year two

If you are studying Spanish post-A level, you will develop your knowledge of both Spanish and Portuguese to prepare you for the year abroad and deepen and widen your knowledge of more specialist aspects of modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature, culture and history. If you are studying on the intensive beginners’ pathway, you will continue your language study alongside modules focusing on culture and history to prepare you for your year abroad.  

Year three

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Year four

In this year, you will build on your language acquisition in year three to develop your language skills to degree level, and will select specialist options from a range of research-based topics in the literature, culture and history of Spain, Portugal and Latin America.


Entry requirements

A levels:  ABB including B in Spanish for post-A level pathway (no foreign language required for beginners' pathway).

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative requirements 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules
Spanish 1

This module will combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on appropriate thematic areas. It will consolidate and build on basic written, aural and oral language skills through spending three hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Portuguese 1

This module aims to introduce you to the basic structures of Portuguese, to enable you by the end of the course to be able to comprehend a variety of texts on everyday life and current affairs in written Portuguese, to be able to conduct an elementary conversation on everyday matters, to be able to produce basic written texts in Portuguese covering everyday issues and to be able to comprehend basic spoken Portuguese in certain situations appropriate for learners at this stage. You will have three hours per week of classes in this module.

Spain and Portugal in the Twentieth Century

In this module you’ll study the evolution of Spanish and Portuguese history, politics and culture from 1898 to the present day. You’ll be encouraged to draw links between the Portuguese and Spanish experiences, and place both countries’ experience of the twentieth century within the broader context of European and wider global history in this period. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the development of both countries from a perceived position of ‘difference’ and ‘backwardness’ to relatively prosperous, economically developed and culturally diverse members of the European Union. You’ll spend two hours in classes each week.        

Introduction to Lusophone Societies and Cultures

The Portuguese speaking-world is made up of people on four different continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, and there are eight countries in which Portuguese remains the official language. The spread of the language is a representation of the reach of the Portuguese Empire at its height as well as a reflection of the legacy of Lusophone cultures. This module covers the major social and cultural practices from modern Lusophone societies, including aspects of popular culture such as football and soap operas, but also cultural and artistic currents in literature and film. Questions of social relations and identity are also examined through a consideration of religious practice and religious expression, as well as themes of conflict, crisis and revolution through formations of political identity and political mobilisation. For this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.                

Introduction to the History of Modern Latin America

In this module you will be introduced to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history between the late colonial period and the mid-to-late 20th century which will give you a thorough grounding of the major issues, themes and forces that have shaped the societies in the region. In one part of the module you will study the history of the Spanish-speaking America and in the other half consider the history of Brazil and aspects such as the various patterns of change and development of the region and political radicalism. For this module you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.

Introduction to Literature in Spanish

You’ll read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

Typical year two modules
Spanish 2

This module will build on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in Spanish 1. Written classes will concentrate on developing essay writing skills in Spanish using a range of Spanish texts as stimuli. Special attention will be given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes will use a range of contemporary audio-visual materials from Spanish and Latin-American.

Portuguese 2

In this module you will develop linguistic skills acquired from the beginners’ Portuguese module taken in year one (Portuguese 1). The module aims to provide you with a more rigorous understanding of grammar and enable you to express yourself in Portuguese. Your Oral and Aural skills will be encouraged through spoken and written comprehension exercises and a more extensive use of vocabulary. You will have three hours per week of classes in this module.

Hispanic Visual Culture

In this module you will be given a general introduction to cinema and painting in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In the first semester you will be introduced to painting in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century with an emphasis on how to analyse paintings and understand the styles and contexts from which paintings emerge. In the 2nd semester you will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, socio-historical context and narrative context. In this module you will have a two-hour class per week.

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (e.g. Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early nineteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth, movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism-Decadence/Modernismo, the Avant-garde, and Modernism. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.

Renaissance and Baroque Culture in Spain in Text, Image and Film

This module provides you with a comprehensive overview of the history of Iberian Renaissance and Baroque culture (1500-1650). During this period, known as the Golden Age or Siglo de Oro, Spain possessed the greatest empire in the world, extending from the Iberian Peninsula to South and Central America, and the Pacific Ocean. Spain was also a leader in the arts; her output in poetry, fiction, theatre, and painting rivalled that of all other countries in quantity and quality. The module provides an introduction to this rich Golden Age culture by looking at selected masterpieces of literature and painting, together with aspects of the philosophy and history of the period. To give a sense of the cultural legacy of the age, it also examines modern versions and film adaptations of these classics, and of comparable works by Shakespeare. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes.

Discoveries, Empire and Colonies in the Lusophone World

This module brings together the histories and cultures of key regions of the world in which Portugal establishes varying degrees of colonial rule between the 16th and 20th centuries. In this module you will examine the historical background to the age of Discoveries against which Portugal emerged as a leader in maritime exploration and European Imperialism. You will also examine the historical and political events of Portuguese colonialism and imperialism in Africa and Brazil, with an emphasis on understanding the political and social significance of cultural production in developing countries. In this module you will have two hours of classes per week.

Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World

In this module you will be introduced to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. You will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through cultures of the Lusophone world. You will study the ways in which cultural production is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity and therefore culture are examined through its political and historical context. For this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.

Year abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Typical year four modules
Spanish 3

This is a module for all students of Spanish language, and will consist of three hours per week of oral work and writing skills. Recognising that significant progress will have been made in colloquial and informal language skills during the year abroad, this module intends to introduce you to a more formal and sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish using print, off-air and internet sources.

Advanced Spanish Translation

This module offers coaching and practice in high-level translation from Spanish to English. You will work with a variety of texts over the semester, exploring different registers in Spanish and English, and equivalences between source and target languages. You will be required to reflect on the process of translation through annotations on specific translation decisions which will be part of the given task each week. You will also be given a brief for each translation and asked to research the target publication/context for their translation and specify ways in which the target context may differ from the original.

Spanish American Narrative

You’ll explore the work of key writers in 20th century Spanish America, all of whom bear the recognisable imprint of literary Modernism. You will closely study two writers of what has become known as the ‘Boom’(namely, Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar); and three precursors of that generation (Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier and Juan Rulfo). The module will examine the ways in which they make use of myth, the fantastic and experimental narrative techniques to write about history, traditional, popular and/or mass culture, gender and sexuality. You will have a two-hour class each week.

The Radicalisation of Nationalism in Modern Latin America: Cuban Revolution in Continental Perspective

This module is concerned with the emergence, nature and evolution of the Cuban Revolution. You will consider the Revolution in question within a wider historical and ideological context: the Latin American tradition of an increasingly radical nationalism. Dating from the 19th and early 20th century this is a time when there was a need to engage in serious and collective nation-building. The module therefore examines how the Cuban Revolution went on to influence the subsequent radicalisation of that tradition, shaping a range of political manifestation. For this module you will have a two-hour class each week.

Renaissance and Baroque Culture in the Golden Age

The Renaissance was one of the three or four key cultural movements in Western civilization. Spain, due to its meteoric rise to power as the first world-wide empire, was at the forefront in defining that culture, particularly in its transformation into the 17th century Baroque—an aesthetic of excess, theatricality, religiosity and scepticism that ushered in certain fundamental symptoms of modernity. The Golden Age of Cervantes, Calderón and Velázquez was thus the grandest, and yet also in some respects the most esoteric, moment of artistic creation in Spain’s history. This course addresses the cultural history of this critical period by looking at some of the greatest Spanish literary achievements of the period (poetry, prose, and drama), together with aspects of the philosophy, science, history, and visual arts of the period.

Civil War and Memory Wars in Contemporary Spain

This module will give you an understanding of the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the character of the war itself, the factors which determined its outcome, and the implications of that outcome for Spanish history since 1939. The module will also consider the legacy of this period of history in contemporary Spanish politics and culture. You’ll have one two-hour seminar each week to study for this module.

Exotic Iberia

This module will look at representations of Spain and Portugal in European literature, travel writing, opera and painting from the late 18th century onwards. It will examine the construction of an "exotic", Romanticised "other" Iberia in works of art, music and literature which are as popular today as they were over a century ago and, to some extent, still inform perceptions of European Hispanic identity among non-specialists. You will be trained to compare and contrast cultural production over a range of genres and disciplines (opera, painting, literature) and to inform your discussion with appropriate elements of cultural and historical context. You will be enabled to analyse the manipulation of cultural stereotypes and offer critical assessments of the impact and derivation of these manipulations.


And for students who carry on with Portuguese into year four:

Portuguese 3

In this module you’ll enhance and reinforce the language skills developed in your year abroad. A number of key areas will be targeted, including essay writing and oral presentations. You’ll be expected to conduct a discussion in written and spoken Portuguese at a high level of sophistication in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary and intellectual debate. You’ll have two hours of seminars, an hour of lectures and an hour of language lab classes per week throughout the academic year.

Lusophone Identities, Culture, and Modernity in Portugal and Africa

In this module you will focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of Lusophone societies and culture in the 20th century. You will focus on two particular areas: the political ramifications of contending conceptions of race, gender, and sexuality in the last century and the role of cultural identity and ‘identity’ politics’ in nation-building and in the negotiation of, and recovery from, collective crises such as regime change and civil conflict. For this module you will have a two-hour seminar each week.

Brazilian Slave Society
This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazilian society and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems and slave societies in the Americas. In the first semester the module introduces students to the different disciplinary and intellectual approaches to the study of slavery in Brazil. This will require students to draw on comparative contexts of slavery across the Americas both thematically and theoretically. Topics covered in the first part of the module include: the ideology of slavery, economics of slavery, systems of slave labour, slave culture and community, slave identity, and slave resistance. Within these topics we examine themes of agency, race, class, ethnicity and gender.

The second semester focuses on presentation work in a seminar setting. Students will be required to produce individual in-class presentations based on a literature review of a topic or theme covered in the first semester. Throughout the module close attention will be paid to the problems of sources and perspectives in the study of the history of slavery. The module encourages students to develop an awareness of how different historical sources are used and think critically about them. In this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars totalling two hours per week.


Year abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.



You will have acquired a high level of competence in Spanish and Portuguese (if applicable) and will have the ability to use them in complex contexts. You will have a broad knowledge of Hispanic and Portuguese-speaking cultures, and an in-depth understanding of the topics you have chosen to focus on. Your year abroad will have shown you are adaptable and independent.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.* 

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the second and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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