Spanish Language

By Ethan Moser - Last update

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What is Spanish?

Spanish is the native language to over 500 million people worldwide. Additionally, it is second only to English in terms of the number of countries where it is listed as an official language. Spanish studies can refer to either the study of Spanish as a second language, or to the study of Spanish literature, culture, or history. 

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • Spanish Language – the study of Spanish as a second language.
    • Spanish Literature – the study of prominent Spanish language writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Miguel de Cervantes. 
    • Business Studies & Spanish – the study of business practices in Spanish for application in Spanish-speaking countries. 

Studying Spanish in College

First year students will often combine their Spanish studies with additional subjects and electives. Students will be introduced to Spanish language, literature, and history in their first year, preparing them for more intensive study in the following years.

Language modules will be traditionally assessed using written, oral, and aural examination. At all levels students will be required to complete assessments in and out of class in addition to sitting for regular exams.

Most undergraduate Spanish courses will run for three or four years and in certain cases universities will facilitate work experience. Many programs will also encourage study abroad programs for students to learn the language through immersion in Spanish culture.

It is common with all humanities-based subjects that students are expected to complete a Capstone project. Students will research and write on a topic of their choice (in English or in Spanish) with the aid of a faculty mentor, ensuring their successful completion of a rigorous curriculum and preparing them for life after university.

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research jobs. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in  Spanish may start working as arts administrators, translators or interpreters, diplomats or secondary school teachers. Some go on to work in publishing, tourism, law and business as well.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in Spanish will serve you well in the job market as it equips you with a unique and marketable skill. Spanish is a major language of the European Union, as such, knowledge of the language and literature opens up a world of opportunities to fluent speakers.

It is not uncommon for graduates to start off in ‘entry-level’ jobs. Many start their professional careers in international relations, tourism, translation and education.

Other jobs that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training and/or experience to qualify for, eg. teaching, research and diplomacy positions.

Most Spanish students work abroad or for international companies helping to translate and distribute media to multi-lingual customers. Many also go on to teach Spanish as a second language in primary and secondary schools.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Diplomat / Foreign Services Officer
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Translator / Interpreter
  • Journalist
  • Public Relations
  • Speech Therapist
  • Travel / Hospitality / Tourism
  • Technology Consultant
  • Museum Curator
  • Publishing Agent

Further Study

An undergraduate Spanish degree is often the first step to go onto further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of Spanish and/or undertaking work in new, sometimes interdisciplinary fields such as translation, diplomacy, or education.

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What points do I need to study Spanish?

  • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language. Some universities require that Leaving Cert students also have taken an H4 course in Spanish as well. 

Are there any particular qualities you need to study Spanish?

  • You will need to be fascinated by other languages and cultures and excited to study the world from a different perspective. You will need to possess the desire to learn to think critically through the study of literature and cinema as well as history. Finally, you will need to be detail oriented, self-disciplined, and confident.

Where can I study Spanish?

  • Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • The first modern novel, Don Quixote, was written by a Spanish author!
  • Spain boasts the second highest life expectancy of any country in the world at 83 years!
  • At the Spanish festival of La Tomatina, visitors are encouraged to throw tomatoes at each other!



Ethan Moser

Community Studies
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)


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