There are three basic types of Spanish degree programs: bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. A bachelor’s degree program usually introduces students to the basics of the language and builds on their knowledge with the goal of fluency. Master’s programs encourage further mastery of the language and often allow students to focus on studying either Spanish literature or technical aspects of the language. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs provide the most advanced and specialized study of the language and also allow focus on a particular concentration.
One type of Spanish program allows a student to earn a bachelor’s degree. With this type, students are introduced to the Spanish language and become proficient at not only speaking the language but also reading and writing it. As part of a bachelor's degree program, students learn the Spanish alphabet and study grammar and composition as well as some literature. In many cases, these Spanish degree programs teach students about culture and history as well. Usually, such programs include at least some courses, referred to as immersion classes, in which a person must speak only in Spanish.
Master’s degree programs delve even deeper into the Spanish language and typically allow students to choose one area of the language on which to focus primarily. For example, a person can usually choose between linguistics and literature focuses. Typically, master’s level Spanish degree programs in literature focus on the literature of different ages, including medieval times and the Golden Age. A linguistics program, on the other hand, may focus more on translation and interpretation, learning how to teach others Spanish, and speech sounds.
Sometimes students choose to take their foreign language education even further and pursue doctoral degrees. These Spanish degree programs provide advanced studies of Spanish and allow students to choose a focus concentration, such as literature, cultural studies, or linguistics. They often require students to be highly trained in the language and provide advanced studies of a wide variety of literature and dialects as well as history and culture. Often, PhD studies also cover topics like the development of the language and its evolution over centuries. In many cases, a student also studies dialect and cultural changes based on the movement of native Spanish speakers from their homelands.
Each Spanish degree program builds on the knowledge gained at a previous level. For example, a master’s degree advances knowledge of the language gained in a bachelor’s degree program. As such, most of these programs require students to hold a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. PhD programs also expand on the knowledge gained in master’s programs and usually require admitted students to possess master’s degrees. There are, however, some dual-study programs that allow students to fulfill master's degree course perquisites as part of a Spanish PhD program.