Department and Program Learning Goals


The learning goals of the department can be clearly divided in three: Those belonging to the language program, the ones set for the upper level courses taken by the majors and the graduate program

I. Language Program
What students graduating from the Spanish Language Programs can do.

1. Comprehension: The student understands the content of oral or written text on current events and shows ability to 1) summarize a given text in a cohesive and coherent manner without prompting, 2) produce a statement summarizing his/her own view of the event, and 3) answer follow up questions showing both ability to comprehend and prior knowledge on general encyclopedic points related to the content of the article.

2. Grammar: The student shows ability to both narrate and describe events producing paragraph-length discourse in all major time frames (past, present, and future). S/he may have problems regarding the use of ser/estar, subjunctive and preterit/imperfect contrasts but they should not interfere with comprehension. The reference point for ‘comprehension’ is the native speaker monolingual not used to exchanges with non-native speakers.

3. Vocabulary/ Professional Vocabulary: Vocabulary may be generic in nature when dealing with personal topics, but the student shows command of professional, specialized lexicon when dealing with topics of interest (such as US and international economy, politics, and/or societal issues). Circumlocution and rephrasing are to be expected.

4. Speech/Written output: Speech is clear and does not lead to confusion. Pronunciation, lexicon, grammar and paragraph structure is not so faulty as to prevent comprehension by native speakers unaccustomed to interacting with non-native speakers. Discourse may still reflect the oral paragraph structure of the student’s own language rather than that of the target language. In preparation for upper division courses, students have moved from description and narration to develop different styles of writing, especially argumentative texts, with vocabulary and concepts that apply to literature, culture or linguistics.

5. Knowledge of Subject Matter: The student shows knowledge of the geography, customs, socioeconomic and sociopolitical structures as well as the history of Latin America and Spain. S/he is aware of and knowledgeable about the past and present status of the relationship between those countries and the United States as well as current issues of importance in the Spanish-speaking world.


Language Programs Assessment

• Oral exams (individual, in pairs, debate): graded on content, comprehensibility, and accuracy.
• Oral presentations: graded on fluency, content, comprehensibility and accuracy.
• Written exams include the following sections: reading and listening comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, cultural content, and composition. Multiple choice/bubbling always avoided: students write short (1 word-1 sentence) or long (500 words) answers.
• Compositions (out of class): 2000 words, graded on content, comprehensibility, cohesion, coherence, and accuracy.
• In-class participation, primarily based on student preparation and contribution to the class session.

II. Spanish Majors: (literature)

1. Students are familiar with the literature and culture of the entire Hispanic world. This is achieved in the classroom and experientially during their study abroad.
2. Students read and analyze the canonical texts of Spain and Latin America as well as other representative texts and cultural expressions.
4. Students know the different genres produced in all periods of the Spanish-speaking world.
5. Students are familiar and understand the fundamental and leading literary and cultural theories, and a variety of scholarly approaches.

Spanish Majors (literature) Assessment

1.Students take a set number of courses according to a distribution to ensure that they have been exposed to different periods, regions, genres, and other cultural manifestations. (Course grid for majors). A grade of B+ or above in these courses is expected.
2. Making extensive use of the technology in Blackboard:
a.Students prepare a dossier with all their papers, reflections, or any other form of work produced throughout their career at Georgetown or while studying abroad. The increasing level of difficulty and the improvement in quality should be reflected throughout time.
b.Students construct a glossary of the theoretical concepts and literary terms that would document their exposure to the fundamental as well as the cutting edge literary and cultural theories.
The faculty will evaluate the dossier at the end of the majors’ junior year to give students the opportunity to improve or complete what might be missing.
3.Exit survey – A self-evaluation about the achievement of the goals set for the major.

Spanish Majors (Linguistics).
Goals: What majors can do:

1. Students can identify the issues, assumptions, innovations, and tools of linguistic analysis and apply them to new Spanish data.
2. Students discuss the relevance of linguistics to everyday life, from language teaching to judicial procedures, computational problems, and policy.
3. Students can identify common patterns and differences among Spanish speaking communities in the US, Latin America, and Spain.
4. Students understand the external and internal conditions that have shaped the different varieties of Spanish and their evolution from Vulgar Latin. At the same time they are able to understand and explain the main differences between Spanish, English and other Romance languages in search for language universals and differences.
5. Students understand the relationship between cognitive development and cognition and the individual’s ability to speak two languages, as well as the sociolinguistic conditions for societal bilingualism to exist.
6. Critical thinking: students can critically read primary and secondary sources carefully and deliberately before determining both the validity of the argument and of the evidence on which it is based.
7. Research Methods: as a follow up to the previous point (i.e., critically review the literature in the area), students show ability to generate a hypothesis and design an ethnographic, experimental or any data-based study to test said hypothesis. For students writing an Honors Thesis, students are able to go beyond the design and complete the study.
8. Language Skills: students’ academic Spanish, both oral and written, shows descriptive and argumentative abilities and command of technical vocabulary.

Spanish Majors (Linguistics) Assessment

•To assess point 1 above. Problem solving: Language problems (i.e., syntactic trees, phonetic transcriptions, generalizations based on historical data) in class tests or as homework.
•To assess points 6, 7, and 8 above: short (squibs) and long research papers on a topic, oral presentations, group projects (Grading criteria consider points 6, 7, and 8 above).

Graduate Program in Literature

1.M.A. students are well versed in 5 of the 7 areas of concentration that the program offers.
2.Ph. D. students have a good command of the minor field of their choice.
3.Ph. D. students have a high level of expertise in the field of their specialization.
4.Students have a superior knowledge of all contemporary and fundamental literary and cultural theories.
5.Students have successful experiences at teaching all levels of language and content courses.
6.Students present their research at scholarly venues.
7.Students are able to conduct independent research

Graduate Program in Literature Assessment

1.Students complete successfully courses in six of the seven areas offered in the program.
2.MA exam in 5 fields.
3.Ph.D. comprehensive exam
4.Successful presentation of thesis proposal.
5.Successful defense of dissertation.
6.Papers accepted in scholarly fora.
7.Students have good course evaluations.

Department Integrated Writing Statement
Faculty of Languages and Linguistics
Resources for Graduate Students
Resources for Visiting Scholars

Visiting Researcher Program

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese hosts a limited number of visiting researchers from around the world each year.  As program participants, Visiting Researchers have the unique opportunity to be a part of the Georgetown community with access to Georgetown University libraries, programs, events, and other valuable university resources.  With Faculty permission, Visiting Researchers may also audit Georgetown University courses free of charge.  

Typical applicants are either researchers with PhDs or current doctoral students.  Visiting researchers are required to give at least one lecture on their research to our master's degree candidates.  Whenever possible, they work with faculty or graduate students in teams and provide advice and support, a valuable benefit to our students.

 Please note that due to limited funds, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese does not provide financial assistance or office space to visiting researchers; however, limited printing is available.

For further information, please click here or contact:

Visiting Researcher Program
    Attn: Mr. Larry Brown
Main Campus Academic Appointments Office
Office of the Provost, Georgetown University
3307 M Street, N.W., Suite 202
Washington, DC 20007

Telephone: (202) 687-2601


Application Process 

All application information must be provided to the department at least 3 months prior to the Visiting Researcher's arrival on campus. Please note that the Department works with the Graduate School and the Office of Global Education to complete all the paperwork necessary for admittance to the United States. Application materials should be submitted in English. The amount of time required to complete the process only gets longer, thus the earlier the process starts, the better. 

 Beginning January 2018, there is a facilities fee of $450 per semester for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and $400 per semester for the Graduate School. Graduate students are exempted from the Departmental Fee; senior researchers may qualify for a fee reduction at the discretion of the Department.


Click here for a listing of sites to help with Spanish Language studies.


Click here for a listing of sites to help with Portuguese Language studies.

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