Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I want to continue studying Spanish, which I studied in high school. How do I know
at which level, or in which course, to enroll?
A: The section under “Placement Policy” lays out details on what you need to do. As a reminder, you will need to do one of three things:
Take a CAPE placement test at summer orientation.
Use your College Board AP or CLEP score to determine placement.
Enter at an appropriate level using the guideline provided.
Q: Even though I have previous knowledge of Spanish, I prefer not to enroll in a difficult course. Wouldn’t it be a good idea simply to enroll in a lower course?
A: No. There is an incentive for placing high. You could receive as high as 9 additional credits for enrolling at the appropriate level. Read the Language Placement Policy to see how the incentive works.
Q: Although I studied Spanish in high school, I did very poorly on the placement test.
Can I take Spanish for Beginners 1 to start all over?
A: No. Spanish for Beginners 1 is strictly for those who have never studied Spanish formally.
Q: I took AP in high school. Can I get TCU foreign language credit?
A: Yes! But you must have taken the actual AP test. A score of 3 gives you 6 credits, and you should place in SPAN 20103. A score of 4 or 5 gives you 12 credits, and you should place in either SPAN 31103 or 31203. Once you finish your language requirement, you can still continue with your language study for elective credits or apply them toward a major or a minor.
Q: I speak Spanish fairly well because my parents, who are Spanish-speaking, talk
to me in this language all the time. What course should I consider taking?
A: You are most likely a heritage speaker. This means that you will not receive credit for courses at the 10000 and 20000 level nor are you allowed to take SPAN 31103 (Oral Communication) for credit. On the other hand, you probably need to improve upon your writing skills. You should consider enrolling in SPAN 31203 — Writing in Spanish or SPAN 31403 — Advanced Spanish Grammar.
A native speaker is considered to be someone whose primary and/or secondary education took place in a Spanish-speaking country. A heritage speaker is someone who was primarily educated in US schools but who speaks Spanish in the home and with friends and co-workers and is quite fluent.
Q: It is now the beginning of a new semester, I went to the first day of class, and
I am sure my placement is incorrect! What can I do?
A: First relax, and give it some time. You are in a new college environment, and you have a new and unfamiliar teacher, who is already speaking in the target language. It is likely that a large number of your unfamiliar classmates are feeling just as scared as you. You will be amazed how quickly and easily things settle down after the first two weeks of classes! If you have concerns, go in person to talk to your instructor as soon as possible.
However, if after the first few days of the semester, you are truly uncomfortable with your class, section, or placement and you are sure that things will not get better, you may see the Spanish and Hispanic studies chair. He can help you!
Q: I am studying abroad this semester, and when I tried enrolling in SPAN X, the system
did not accept the course I’m taking as a prerequisite. What should I do?
A: Send an email to the department administrative assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will issue you a permission number to enroll successfully.
Q: I am currently enrolled in a course that serves as a prerequisite for another course
I want to take next semester. The system does not recognize that I am taking the prerequisite.
What should I do?
A: Contact the department administrative assistant at email@example.com, x7366, who will issue you a permission number to enroll successfully upon verifying that you are indeed enrolled in the course you indicated.
Q: I plan to take a course this summer that serves as prerequisite for another course
I want to take in the Fall. The system is unaware of my intentions, so what should
I do in order to enroll?
A: Contact the department chair at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will issue you a permission number to enroll.
Q: I need to enroll in SPAN X but it is closed. What are my options?
A: First, consider shifting your other courses around so that you may be able to enroll in another section of SPAN X. If unfeasible, place yourself on the waiting list and hope that either the seats are increased or an enrolled student drops the course to make way for more students to join.
Q: Because of my busy schedule, SPAN X is the only course I can take next semester,
when I am scheduled to graduate. This course is filled. What should I do?
A: You may consider these options:
place yourself on the waiting list
share your concerns with the department chair
Q: What is the procedure for enrolling in an independent study?
A: Independent studies are special arrangements made between a student and a faculty member, with the approval of the department chair. Students who are about to graduate but for emergent circumstances (.e.g. medical) are unable to enroll in a regular course could do the following. The student should approach a faculty member and discuss his/her concerns and needs.
If the faculty member is willing or able to give of extra time, the student develops an independent study plan, complete with stated objectives and a specific research project. Once the project is approved by the faculty member, who then prepares a syllabus on the basis of the project, these documents will be submitted with a form to the department chair, who signs it and forwards it to the AddRan College Dean’s office.
For Spanish Majors and Minors
Q: I am a sophomore and already have a major, but I’m wondering if I can take Spanish
as a double major. Isn’t it too late?
A: No, it is much easier to combine Spanish with a second major than most students think. And if you study abroad, you will be surprised how few courses you will be left to take upon your return. See the department chair. There are few topics he is more passionate about than this one—guiding students to consider Spanish as a double major!
Q: I am in my first year and have been considering Spanish as a major. I am also considering
studying abroad. How do I receive help in organizing my schedule?
A: This is one of the things the department chair enjoys doing – planning your full four-year schedule as soon as you express interest in majoring in Spanish. See him, and you are sure to leave his office with a detailed four-year plan in hand.
Q: I declared my Spanish major prior to August 2009. Will the new program affect my
requirements in any way?
A: Not really. Your program requirement remains exactly the same. The only difference is that, instead of the required course entitled Analyzing Literary Texts, you may now take one of the following courses to fulfill your requirement: SPAN 32503, 32603, 32703, 32803.
Q: How about those of us who are minors under the former program?
A: The requirements are unchanged.
Q: I am a Spanish major under the former program. I see that there are many changes
in course numbers and titles. I am a bit confused. What do you advise I take toward
A: Yes, several new electives have been made available. Take advantage of them even if you are not obliged to do so. Before you graduate, you are advised to ensure your list of courses contains the following essential courses:
Oral Communication (for non-heritage speakers)
Advanced Spanish Grammar
One course in culture
Two Panorama of literature courses
Two 4000-level literature or cultural studies courses
Capstone course (Senior Seminar)
Q: How about those of us who are minors? What must we take?
A: We have good news for you: if you are considering undertaking study abroad, also consider becoming a major! You will see how easy it is to switch to a major after taking 4 courses abroad. Speak with the SHS chair or SHS study abroad adviser.
If you do continue to pursue the minor, you may take any course you wish above SPAN 10203/10213, but keep in mind that 31203 (Writing in Spanish) is a prerequisite for all content courses, so you might want to take this course, and sooner than later.
Q: Is study abroad a requirement for Spanish majors?
A: No, study abroad is not required, but it is highly recommended for your speaking ability and cross-cultural competence.
Q: When is the best time to participate in a study abroad program?
A: You may study abroad any time once you have completed SPAN 20203 or its equivalent. Most students choose to study abroad after their sophomore year during the summer or during their junior year.
Q: How do credits earned in TCU faculty-led summer study abroad apply?
A: SPAN 30013 and 30023, taken in Sevilla or Buenos Aires, earn three credits in language and three credits in culture respectively.
The culture component satisfies the Spanish major requirement of a culture course. When placed at the advanced level, the language component satisfies the Spanish major requirement of an advanced grammar course.
Students who have already taken a culture course of the same name can still receive elective credits for the culture course in the summer program.
Q: How many credit hours can I transfer from a study-abroad program?
A: Fifteen credits of the Spanish major may be earned in study abroad programs. If you earn six of those credits while on a TCU-sponsored summer program, then you may still apply nine credits to the major from a semester-long program.
For students in a year-long program, 21 credits of the Spanish major may be earned. If you earn six of those credits while on a TCU-sponsored summer program, then you may still apply 15 credits to the major from a semester-long program.
Q: What avenues exist for study abroad in the Department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies?
A: See the study abroad section.