Hispanic and Italian Studies


Associate Professors
 Olimpia Pelosi, Ph.D.
  University of North Carolina
 Lotfi Sayahi, Ph.D.
  Universidad Complutense de Madrid
 Maurice Westmoreland, Ph.D.
  University of Illinois

Assistant Professors
Ilka Kressner, Ph.D.
  University of Virginia
 J. David Lisenby, Jr., Ph.D.
  University of Kansas
 Carmen Serrano, Ph.D.
  University of California, Irvine

 J. Leonardo Correa Velasquez, M.A.
  Universidad Nacional de Colombia
 Maria Keyes, M.A.
  University at Albany
 Elizabeth Lansing, Ph.D.
  University at Albany
 Aida Torres-Horwitt, Ph.D.
  University at Albany

Adjuncts (estimated): 7
Teaching Assistants (estimated): 8 

The Hispanic and Italian Studies program expects its students to become highly proficient in speaking, understanding, reading and writing the foreign language, as well as to develop a thorough knowledge of and an appreciation for literatures and cultures of the Spanish or Italian speaking world. Proficiency in language skills is regarded not only as an end in itself but also as a means of studying a foreign culture. A full program is offered leading to the B.A. in Spanish, and there are opportunities for interdisciplinary studies in Italian. Students may instead chose minors in Spanish or Italian.


Occupational areas in which Spanish majors have been employed are teaching, public relations, state and federal service, foreign service of the U.S., airlines, travel agencies, and in businesses dealing with Spanish-speaking countries.

Combining Italian with another foreign language taught in schools, such as Spanish, French or English, at the undergraduate or graduate level would provide students with strong credentials for teaching positions. Opportunities for occupations requiring Italian or bilingual background would also be enhanced. Students could teach Italian or be involved with bilingual education. Others work for airlines that fly to Italy and with American companies doing business there.

Special Programs and Opportunities

The Hispanic and Italian Studies program also participates in interdisciplinary studies in conjunction with programs in Latin American studies, linguistics, the School of Education, and the Departments of Art, History and Music.

A semester abroad program was initiated at the International Institute in Madrid, Spain in 1970. Study abroad programs also are available in Valencia, Spain; The Dominican Republic; and Costa Rica. For more information, see Office of International Education. Use of the foreign language and the exchange of ideas are fostered through language clubs, colloquia, lectures and other activities.

The Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major in Italian Studies*

Students wishing to go beyond basic language instruction in Italian may propose their own Interdisciplinary Major by blending courses from the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and other academic department(s) on campus. Many departments on campus offer courses relevant to Italian Studies, including (but not limited to) Africana Studies, Anthropology, Art, English, History, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy and Women’s Studies. See the guidelines for the Student-Initiated Interdisciplinary Major: https://www.albany.edu/undergraduateeducation/files/IDS_Major_App.docx.

The Interdisciplinary Major must consist of at least 36 but not more than 66 credits. If the major includes fewer than 54 credits, the student will need a separate minor to meet graduation requirements. If the major includes 54 or more credits, the student will not need to declare a separate minor.

At least half of the total credits in the Interdisciplinary Major must be at the 300 level or above. Up to 25% of the credits earned toward the Interdisciplinary Major may take the form of independent study courses.

The Interdisciplinary Major must have at least two faculty sponsors, one primary and one secondary, with the primary sponsor serving as the student’s major advisor. The two sponsors must be faculty members of academic rank (i.e. Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor) and must come from two different academic departments offering courses included in the proposed major.

Formal application to initiate an Interdisciplinary Major must be made through the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education located in Lecture Center 30 (442-3950). In order to apply, a student must have already completed at least 30 general credits toward graduation. Proposals will be reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee of the Undergraduate Academic Council.

For further information and advising, please contact the Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures (Humanities 235, phone 442-4100).

*Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2011 who are declared Italian majors or Italian Honors majors, should consult the previous Undergraduate Bulletin year appropriate to their date of matriculation as well as their DARS Degree Audits for their own graduation requirements. Previous Undergraduate Bulletins are available online at: https://www.albany.edu/undergraduate_bulletin/previous_bulletins.html.

Degree Requirements for the Major in Spanish

General Program B.A.: A student wishing to major in Spanish may choose one of three sequences offered by the program. All students must take a minimum of 36 credits in Spanish courses above the 104 level, including A SPN 205 or A SPN 206  A SPN 223, A SPN 301, A SPN 312, A SPN 316 and 3 credits of Spanish electives above A SPN 206. Students must also take additional courses in Spanish according to the requirements of their sequence, as follows.

Literature Concentration *
A minimum of 18 credits to include the following: (1) 1 literature course at the 300 level; (2) 2 literature courses at the 400 level; (3) 2 language courses above A SPN 301Z; (4) one civilization course.

Language Concentration *
A minimum of 18 credits to include the following: (1) 1 literature course above A SPN 316; (2) A SPN 401 or 402; (3) 2 language or linguistics courses at the 400 level; (4) 2 additional courses as advised. A LIN 220 may be counted as one of these courses.

Secondary Education Concentration *
A minimum of 18 credits to include the following: A SPN 401 and 403 and (1) 1 literature course at the 300 level; (2) 1 literature course at the 400 level; (3) 1 civilization course; (4) 1 additional course as advised.

*Course Categories for Spanish Major Concentrations
Language courses include A SPN 302, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 410Z, 442, and 490-496.
Civilization courses include A SPN 314, 315, 317, 318, 322, 418, 453, 454.
Literature courses include A SPN 319, 320, 323, 325, 326, 333, 344, 410Z, 414, 418, 443, 445, 446, 447, 448, 449, 481, 482.

Honors Program in Spanish

The Honors Program in Spanish is designed to promote opportunities for advanced work to highly motivated, mature undergraduate majors and prepare them to do independent work. Students may apply for admission to the Honors Program no earlier than the beginning of the second semester of their sophomore year. To gain admission to the Program students must have formally declared a major in Spanish and have completed at least 12 credits toward their major. In addition, they must have an overall GPA of at least 3.25, and 3.50 in their major, both of which must be maintained in order to graduate with honors.

Students must complete the 36 credits required for the major as well as a 4 credit Honors Thesis (A SPN 499) to be done the semester in which they graduate. Students are additionally required to take one additional course at the 400-500 level within the area of their concentration. This “additional” 400-500 level course does not increase the number of credits required for the major or for the Honors Program but only mandates that one of the student’s elective courses be at the most advanced level in the area of their concentration. The Honors Thesis should be a 25-40 page research project directed by a faculty member of the Spanish program. Students interested in doing the Honors Program in Spanish first should express that interest to their faculty mentor.

Combined B.A./M.A. Program in Spanish

The combined B.A./M.A. program in Spanish provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master’s degree programs from the beginning of their junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.A. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 138 credits, of which at least 30 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credits and course distribution requirements within their M.A. concentration, and successful completion of the M.A. exams. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.A. programs.

Students may apply for admission to the combined degree program in Spanish at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits. Students entering the University with advanced standing in Spanish may be admitted after satisfying the core requirements (A SPN 205 or 206, 223, 301, 312, and 316). A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration.