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Spanish Program

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“Spanish. Bestow great attention on this and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connection with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition.”

Jefferson’s words have never rung more true than they do in today’s shrinking world. As the language of one of the most influential and complex cultures of the Old and New Worlds, and as the second language of the United States, Spanish is indeed a valuable acquisition.

The University of Virginia has long been recognized as a leading national center for the study of languages, literature and culture. In his original plan for the University, founder Thomas Jefferson established a School of Modern Languages offering instruction in Anglo-Saxon, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Jefferson’s commitment to language study has been maintained, and today the Spanish Department is ranked at the top among public universities. With over sixteen faculty members and visiting scholars in Spanish, and more than forty graduate students and instructors, the Department offers a broad variety of language, culture and literature courses, leading to Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Spanish and Spanish American studies.

Spanish Tutoring

The Spanish tutor list is maintained by the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese. The department does not offer free tutoring services. Individuals from this list are contracted independent of any participation by the department. They establish their own scheduling and fee rates for tutoring services. If you are interested in tutoring, you may contact one of the tutors in our department.

Click here for the tutors who are currently available.

La Casa Bolívar often offers free tutoring for undergraduate students. For more information, contact La Casa Bolivar at casa@virginia.edu.


La Casa Bolívar (The Spanish House)

THE SPANISH HOUSE through its name, La Casa Bolívar, honors UVA’s first Latin American student, Fernando Bolívar, nephew of patriot Simon Bolívar. Since 1980, La Casa Bolívar has housed about two dozen students, allowing them with an atmosphere to improve their Spanish (the official language of the house), and to earn one credit in the process. La Casa BolÍvar is open to all undergraduates and applications are available in early spring. For further information, please contact Nasser Meerkhan, the director for 2014-2015.

Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be processed in early November, 2014.  Applications will be available in October, 2014. The application deadline for 2014-2015 is in November, 2014 (the specific date is still pending). After the application is received, the director will contact you to organize an informal interview.

The process entails completing a written application and attending a group interview hosted by current house residents. Application forms are available on the UVa housing website:http://www.virginia.edu/housing/applications.php(click "Returning undergraduates").


Student Life

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese is one of the more active departments within the University, and we encourage students to strengthen their knowledge and love of Hispanic culture by participating in our many activities.

LATINO ORGANIZATIONS AND PROGRAMS - For information, consult the Office of the Dean of Students.

MADISON HOUSE - Though a separate organization, students of Spanish frequently become involved with their voluntary programs, particularly the Migrant and Latino Aid Program.

TERTULIA - A conversation group meets  the Casa Bolívar on Thursdays at 3:00pm. For more in information, please see Casa's website:http://uvalacasabolivar.wix.com/casa. For more information please contact Nasser Meerkhan .

THE SPANISH PLAY - The Spanish Drama Group draws its actors from undergraduates, graduates and faculty, and performs a play each spring at UVa and at other universities. For information, contact Fernando Operé.

CINE CLUB/FILM CLUB - Every Sunday at 7pm La Casa Bolívar shows a movie in Spanish with English subtitles. Undergraduate and graduate students are invited to attend as well as faculty and employees of the University. For the current listing of movies, please see the Casa's website:http://uvalacasabolivar.wix.com/casa. For more information please contact Nasser Meerkhan.


Grants & Awards

Each year, the Department rewards excellence in Undergraduate and Graduate studies by awarding the following fellowships and awards (see Department Chair for details):


T. Braxton Woody Fellowship: This fellowship, administered by the Jefferson Society, is given to rising 4th year students in Spanish. The T. Braxton Woody Fellowship honors students who have demonstrated superior academic performance and have contributed to the Department and other Hispanic activities at the University.

Hispanic Studies Program Award: This award is given to an undergraduate student who has contributed to the UVa Hispanic Studies Program in Valencia.

Virginia Louise Garth Scholarship: This scholarship is offered to an undergraduate student from Virginia who has demonstrated outstanding academic performance and who has contributed to the life and well-being of the Spanish Department. This scholarship is offered by the Garth family in honor of their late daughter.

Marie M. Giuliano Award: This award is given to a fourth-year graduating student on the basis of demonstrated academic excellence in Spanish or Italian language study and a contribution to the growth and nurturing of Spanish or Italian at the University.

Wyatt Family Summer Fellowship for Distinguished Majors in Spanish: This award provides support up to $3,000 for Distinguished Majors in Spanish to conduct research in a Spanish-speaking country during the summer between their third and fourth years. The funds may be used for field research, archival research, interviews, museum study, or other activities related to the student’s proposed thesis topic.


Charles Gorden Reid, Jr. Summer Travel Fellowship (Graduate Students): The Charles Gordon Reid, Jr., Summer Travel Fellowship provides a stipend of approximately $3,000 for a selected student who wishes to pursue a research project or course of study in a Spanish-speaking country. This award may be used for study or research in any Spanish-speaking country. (Please note that academic credits earned while abroad cannot be transferred to your UVa degree).

The Annual Del Greco Graduate Essay Prize: A prize consisting of a cash award conferred annually at the end of the spring semester for the best essay written by a graduate student on any topic having to do with Spanish and/or Spanish American language, literature, or culture. The Del Greco Essay Prize may be conferred upon one essay, may be split between two winners in the event of a tie, or may not be awarded at all in any given year if the entries are deemed to be unmeritorious.

Case Del Greco Library Travel Stipend: The Casa Del Greco Library Travel Stipend is a summer stipend for graduate students to study in Salamanca for the summer. The purpose of the fellowships is to support graduate students in Spanish for weeks of study in Salamanca where they enroll in courses conducive to improving their skills in the language.   This fellowship for non-native speakers comes from the proceeds of the funds given to us by Professor Arnold Del Greco.

Charles Killian Woltz Summer Fellowships: The Charles Killian Woltz Summer Fellowships is a summer stipend for graduate students in a Spanish American country of their choice. The purpose of the fellowships is to support graduate students in Spanish to improve their skills in the language.  This fellowship for non-native speakers comes from the proceeds of the funds given to the Department by Judge Robert K. Woltz and Rita H. R. Woltz.