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School of Modern Languages & Cultures: Department of Hispanic Studies

 School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Hispanic Studies

The Top Ranked Iberian Languages Department in the UK, for the 2nd year running

(Complete University Guide, 2015)

For the second year running (2014, 2015), the Department of Hispanic Studies at Durham has been named the top ranked Iberian Languages department in the United Kingdom in the Complete University Guide. This reflects the excellence that characterises both our research and our teaching, as well as the great pride that all members of the department take in ensuring we attain the very highest standards in all aspects of our work.

Spanish Language

  • 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.
  • At Durham, we focus on Spanish as a world language, and this is reflected in our language teaching staff, where we have teachers from Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. Our aim is to ensure that you are exposed to and offered the chance to interact with Spanish speakers from a variety of nations and with a variety of accents in your classes.
  • Further reflecting this ethos, 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, Barcelona (Pompeu Fabra), Cádiz, Granada, La Laguna (Canary Islands), Salamanca, Santiago de Compostela, and Vigo, and potential study placements at universities in Chile and Colombia.

Research-led learning and teaching

At the heart of the Department of Hispanic Studies at Durham is our dedication to the vibrant cultural output of Latin America and Spain. Research-active staff in the Department are internationally recognised experts in literature, film, and visual culture from the Middle Ages to the present. These interests feed into a range of research-led undergraduate modules that explore a huge variety of cultural forms and their historical and intellectual contexts, with topics such as:

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.


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 Arts and Culture, Medieval & Early Modern Studies, and Translation.

Excellence in Research

The Department of Hispanic Studies prides itself on its first-class research and teaching, and we warmly invite students interested in working with us to apply for a place on our courses.

Dr Nicholas Roberts, Head of Department

Image of the Córdoba Mezquita © 1996 Steven J. Dunlop and used under the terms of the GFDL.
'Calle del descanso' image ©
Ulrik De Wachter and used with permission.
Image of statue of Santa Teresa in Avila © Michael Thompson 2001.