Explore Hispanic Culture

Program Overview

Bellarmine’s Spanish major develops Spanish-language proficiency and introduces students to the historical evolution of Hispanic culture in Europe and the Americas. Students master advanced linguistic skills, and seminar courses explore literary and cultural works with an emphasis on structural and conceptual analysis.

Nelson Study Abroad

The Spanish degree program addresses the growing demand for bilingual professionals in every field of business and prepares students for success in graduate school or in careers within the global job market, including health and government professions, entrepreneurship, politics, and education.

Nelson López

Dr. Nelson López
Dr. López, associate professor and chair of the Department of Global Languages and Cultures, earned his BA in Humanities-Drama from the University of Puerto Rico and holds two terminal degrees: an M.F.A. degree in Theatre-Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. in Spanish Golden Age Literature from the University of Florida. He is also the Bellarmine campus representative for the Imagining America Consortium, a consortium of colleges and universities that supports public scholarship and practice. Its mission is to strengthen the public role and democratic purposes of the humanities, arts, and design.

Dr. López’s research interests center on Spanish Golden Age and 19th Century Literature, as well as Hispanic and Latino Theatre, where he focuses on Performance Studies in Theatre and Film. He has given lectures and published several articles in his field, as well as a book entitled El valiente negro en Flandes: edición para actores y directores (Reichenberger Press, 2007).

He also enjoys Puerto Rican popular culture and reading detective and adventure fiction and thrillers. He has not abandoned theatre, serving an acting coach and/or directing plays for Bellarmine University’s Theatre Program.

Dr. López has traveled to Colombia, Cuba, France, Italy and Puerto Rico, and makes yearly “pilgrimages” to Spain, which holds a particular interest as being home to his weaknesses: Ribera del Duero wines, bookstores, tapas, and shopping.

Career Opportunities

The program provides preparation for internships and exchange programs here and abroad while building a foundation for careers in international relations, industry, government, and human resources, and for graduate degrees in international law, foreign relations, diplomacy, and foreign language teaching.

FLIS majors have received major scholarships (including the Fulbright) and acquired coveted graduate placements at such renowned schools and programs as Trinity College Dublin, the Monterrey Language Institute, the University of Marburg, the Patterson School of Foreign Service, law schools around the country, and the Peace Corps. Bellarmine FLIS students have also found job and internship placements with the Humana, PNC Bank, CNN, Kentucky World Trade Center, French Embassy, FBI, ATF, various international organizations in Washington, D.C., World Bank, and many others. Many graduates have chosen to begin their careers by teaching or volunteering overseas with the embassies of Spain, France, and Germany.

On-Campus Experiences

Students pursuing a Spanish major or a minor can become members of Sigma Delta Pi, the only honor society devoted exclusively to students of Spanish in four-year colleges and universities and the largest foreign-language honor society in existence.

The Bellarmine International Club (BIC) promotes student, faculty, and community interest in customs, food, music, language, general knowledge, and understanding of different cultures, and raises awareness while assisting in the support and guidance of new and returning international students. BIC is for FLIS majors, international and exchange students, and other students interested in world cultures. Some activities of the group include international potluck lunches, presentations by international students about their home countries, and field trips to various tourist spots in the region.

Spanish majors and minors are encouraged to join the Spanish Club, which promotes Hispanic/Latino diversity, education, and awareness of diversity in our community and beyond. This organization will establish a network for students interested in multicultural diversity in Spanish. The club is open to all students regardless of their knowledge of Spanish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What courses are required to complete the program?

Spanish Major:

  • 200-level (12 credits): SPAN 201 Exploration of Topics in Spanish I; SPAN 202 Exploration of Topics in Spanish II; SPAN 211 Spanish Conversation and Composition; SPAN 212 Spanish Conversation and Composition.
  • 300-level (12 credits): SPAN 312 Advanced Spanish Composition (an equivalent level course may be substituted); SPAN 315 Introduction to 20th century Hispanic Literature; SPAN 320 Hispanic Culture and Civilization; SPAN 350 Practical Translation.
  • 400-level (12 credits): SPAN 490, plus nine additional SPAN credits at the 400-level (to be chosen in consultation with advisor to form a major focus area).
  • Required Spanish Major Immersion Experience: Students majoring in Spanish with sufficient skills must do one of the following options approved by the GLC department chair in consultation with the Spanish Language advisor:
    • Internship for at least eight weeks in a Spanish-speaking environment.
    • Service learning for at least eight weeks in a Spanish-speaking environment.
    • Participate in a Bellarmine University Study Abroad program for at least one summer term.

Must I study abroad to earn this degree?

Yes. Each degree candidate must have at least one international study experience in a Bellarmine-approved program abroad, representing the language being studied as the native tongue. This can be a semester, a year, or a summer experience. While abroad, a student should focus on language study, but is also encouraged to use this opportunity for study of electives or interdisciplinary requirements.

Do you provide job or internship placement?

Yes. Bellarmine guarantees every student the opportunity to have an internship, develop a career plan and build a professional network. Bellarmine FLIS students have found internship and job placements with the TFA, EON, Humana, PNC Bank, CNN, Kentucky World Trade Center, French Embassy, FBI, ATF, various international organizations in Washington, D.C., World Bank, and many others.

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?

It is expected that students will complete a minimum of 9 hours of out-of-classroom activity per week in addition to their 3 hours in class in a normal 15-week semester.

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Contact Information

Nelson López, Ph.D., Chair
502.272.8237 or