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Hispanic Studies

Durham University is home to one of the best Hispanic Studies departments in the UK, ranked among the top five by The Complete University Guide 2025. This reflects the excellence that characterises our research, our teaching, and the great pride that members of the department take in ensuring we attain the very highest standards in all aspects of our work. Hispanic Studies at Durham is a gateway to several interdisciplinary centres and institutes within the university including:


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BA Modern Languages and Cultures

Find out how to apply, all course details and structure, entry requirements and more.

Visit BA Modern Languages and Cultures course page

Excellence in Teaching and Research

  • Spanish Language courses offered by the Department can be started at two levels: ab initio (including those who have a GCSE in Spanish) and post-A Level. Entrants with AS Level Spanish normally join the 2nd year of the ab initio stream. These modules aim to equip students with a sound understanding of how the language works, the confidence to use it effectively in a wide range of situations, and an awareness of the diversity of its cultural functions. At final year, the two language streams are fully merged
  • As a result of the continuing support of the Institut Ramon Llull, we are also able to offer the opportunity to study Catalan at second and final year
  • We see Spanish as a world language, and among our staff we have instructors from various parts of the Spanish-speaking world including Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, several regions of Spain, Chile, Paraguay and Puerto Rico. Our students interact with speakers from a variety of nations and are exposed to different accents in their classes, enhancing their comprehension skills

Seville Cathedral, Spain. Photo taken by our student Barnaby Howard Hussain on their year abroad.


Hear from our students

What’s it like studying Modern Languages and Cultures? (French and Spanish edition)

In his blog post Martin talks about what the degree can involve at Durham University, and the experiences he made during his year abroad.

Student testimonial Martin Endersby

What’s it like studying Modern Languages and Cultures? (Russian and Spanish edition)

In her blog post Lily talks about her experiences studying Russian and Spanish and explains why she chose those languages.

Lily Best

Year Abroad

The Year Abroad offers an exciting range of opportunities for study or employment in Spain and Latin America. We are pleased to be able to offer Erasmus exchanges in Spain with the universities of Alcalá de Henares, Alicante, Pompeu Fabra  (Barcelona), Granada, La Laguna (Tenerife), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela (Campus de Lugo), and Vigo, and study placements at universities in Chile and Colombia.


University student
The opportunity to live in Madrid and attend a language school was more than I could have ever hoped for. It allowed me to improve my speaking skills and provided the perfect place to meet people from all corners of the globe.

Durham University languages student
University student
The year abroad was truly a transformational year. Teaching, living and travelling abroad in Paraguay has brought with it so many positives in terms of self-growth, and some wonderful memories made with the new friends I met along the way. It has illuminated the importance of transnational connections to foster a global community, so we can better understand one another in an ever-interconnected world.

Durham University languages student
University student
I worked in a primary school in Murcia, south-east Spain as part of the British Council Programme. I loved working with the children and building their English proficiency all whilst quietly learning Spanish from them too!

Durham University languages student

Research-led learning

Research-active staff in Hispanic Studies are internationally recognised experts in literature, film, and cultural studies from the Middle Ages to the present day. Our teaching is research-led, providing students with the tools to explore a wide variety of cultural forms in their historical and intellectual contexts, with topics such as:

  • Avant-garde imaginations in Atlantic literature and culture
  • Cultural identities in Latin American visual cultures 
  • Early modern Latin American medical and scientific writing
  • Golden Age theatre studies, selfhood, and subjectivity
  • History, memories, and identity in 20th and 21st century Spanish literature and theatre
  • Music, literature, and popular culture in Latin America
  • Myth and history in medieval Spanish chronicles and epic poems
  • National and gender identities in contemporary Spanish cinema
  • Postcolonial theory, subalternity, feminism, and gender studies in the Caribbean
  • Sex, the body, and identity in early Spanish literature and art
  • Environmental Humanities and Indigenous Studies

Work in these areas will serve as vital preparation for, and in some cases work alongside, the final-year dissertation which, as the most important aspect of the Durham student experience, aims to provide students with an opportunity to engage at the highest intellectual level with the ethos of research-led learning that you will encounter at levels I and II. This extended piece of work will allow you to adopt a variety of critical approaches and to explore questions of cultural importance to Latin America and Spain, looking at literary, filmic, and/or artistic production across a range of subjects and periods.

Reserva Nacional de Fauna Andina Eduardo Avaroa, Bolivia. Photo taken by our student Eloise Gibbins on their year abroad.



Meet MLaC Alumna Daria

Daria studied on the BA in Modern Languages and Cultures with a Year Abroad, specializing in French and Spanish. She now works as a Blockchain and Metaverse Senior Manager.
Read Daria's alumna profile and find out more
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At postgraduate level, a variety of Latin American and Spanish topics can be studied in the context of Research Degrees supervised by specialist research-active members of staff, or as part of the School’s taught programmes in Visual Culture, Translation Studies, Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies



Meet MLaC Alumna Sophia

When studying at the School for Modern Languages and Cultures, Sophia specialised in Spanish and Arabic and graduated in 2016. She now works as a journalist, author and content creator.
Find out more about Sophia's experiences studying Arabic and her career
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Discover more

Find out more about our members of staff responsible for Hispanic studies, other language courses, employability, study abroad and scholarships.


Find out more about our modules for Hispanic studies.
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See a complete list of all members of staff responsible for Hispanic studies.
Staff Meeting


Find out more about other language courses we offer.
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Find out more about job prospects and careers with a degree from MLaC.
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Study Abroad

Find out more about where and how to study abroad.
Study abroad


Find out more about scholarships for eligible undergraduate students.
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BA Modern Languages and Cultures Course Page

Find out how to apply, all course details and structure, entry requirements and more.
The Eiffel Tower framed by glass panels inscribed with writing in different languages