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The Spanish program at Illinois State University takes pride in offering small classes where students receive individualized attention and training in all aspects of language proficiency. Just as important, our undergraduates develop critical thinking skills and appreciation for diversity as they take courses in Hispanic cultures and literatures, as well as Spanish linguistics.

Our slate of offerings includes a sturdy base of fundamentals, on which students build their own program from a selection of electives of most interest to them. We also provide community-based service learning experiences and opportunities to participate in award-winning student organizations like our Spanish Club and Sigma Delta Pi, Illinois State's chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.

Finally, our flexible study-abroad programs in Latin America and Spain—students can participate for as little as a week over spring break or for a full year—supply great opportunities for language development, cultural immersion, broadening perspectives, and friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime.

Why Study Spanish?

Everyone is speaking Spanish, across the country and around the world. Hispanics are already 17 percent of the U.S. population, and that's projected to grow to nearly 30 percent by 2060. Not only is Spanish the second most widely spoken native language in the world after Chinese, it is the third most commonly used language online.

A major in Spanish develops valuable skills, such as analytical reasoning, organized communication, and problem solving. These proficiencies position graduates to compete in an array of careers. Employers in all fields recognize that the experience, discipline, and motivation acquired through language study, along with the ability to work individually and in teams, are signs of future success. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 that the best-paid liberal arts majors are graduates in foreign languages and literature with an average starting salary of $46,900.

Speaking, listening to, reading, and writing Spanish is simply enjoyable. It enriches our lives by giving us the gift of exchanging informed ideas about books, movies, customs, and so much more, while connecting us with people everywhere.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Ability to adapt to other cultures
  • Good writing and speaking ability
  • Understand cultural diversity, different cultural values and habits
  • Critical reader
  • Ability to translate carefully
  • Strong interpersonal skills

Being Successful in the Field

  • Research and Investigation -
    The search for specific knowledge, from controlled laboratory experimentation to detective work, from scholarly endeavors to investigative journalism.
  • Organize: Information Management- The arrangement and retrieval of data and knowledge, from cataloguing to accounting, from computer programming to inventory control.
  • Communicate: Communications and Persuasion- The exchange, transmission, and expression of knowledge and ideas, from sales to film news writing to illustrating, from teaching to performing.
  • Emphasize: Humanitarian Service- The attention to physical, mental, or social needs of people, from medicine to social work, from labor relations to play therapy.
  • Administer: Organization Management- The direction and guidance of a group in the completion of tasks and the attainment of goals, from politician to minister, from industrialist to school principal.
  • Imagine: Design and Planning- The conceptualization of the future and description of a process for creating it, from the city planner to artist, proposal writer to architect.

Related Fields

Industry and Commerce

  • Overseas sales representative
  • Overseas manager
  • Overseas researcher
  • U.S.-based import/export officer or investment specialist
  • Interpreter
  • Translator
  • Technical writer/translator

Academic and Professional

  • International lawyer 
  • Medical researcher 
  • Health care professional
  • Academic researcher 
  • Librarian 
  • International researcher 
  • UNESCO project worker 
  • Translator 
  • Interpreter 
  • Foreign language/Bilingual teacher 

U.S. Government

  • Agency for International Development (AID)
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS):
  • U.S. Customs Service
  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • Immigration/Customs official 
  • Staff/Faculty at overseas U.S. school 
  • Foreign Embassy staff 
  • Overseas broadcast staff 
  • State Department staff/ Armed forces staff 
  • Translator 
  • Interpreter 
  • Intelligence Agent 

Arts, Media, Entertainment

  • Journalist 
  • Foreign/overseas correspondent 
  • Film producer 
  • Art dealer 
  • Overseas manager 
  • Translator/interpreter 


  • Employee of overseas non-governmental organization
  • United Nations agency and project employee
  • UN translator/interpreter
  • Overseas medical or agricultural worker
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Missionary

Travel and Tourism

  • U.S. based travel agent 
  • U.S. hotel staff 
  • U.S. tour guide for foreign visitors 
  • Writer of tourist literature 
  • International airline employee 
  • International hotel staff 
  • Internationaltour guide
  • Agency forInternational Development (AID)
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
  • Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS):
  • U.S. Customs Service
  • National Security Agency (NSA)


Approximately 100,000 people in this country work in the field of foreign language teaching. Over two-thirds teach in Jr. & Sr. High Schools, and the rest in colleges and universities, elementary schools and commercial and government- operated language schools with the greatest number teaching Spanish. In addition, a substantial number teach English to those who speak other languages as their native tongue. The teaching of English to speakers of other languages also offers expanding opportunities for employment abroad in government, academic & volunteer programs.

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Roger Thomas  233E Stevenson Hall  (309) 438-7982 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.62 - 3.40

Required Courses


Recommended Courses

  • Foreign language equivalent to Illinois State’s 115 level or higher
  • Introduction to psychology (PSY 111)
  • Introductory-level composition (ENG 101)
  • Introductory-level speech (COM 110)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laura Edwards  Stevenson Hall 231B  (309) 438-3279 

Middle 50% GPA

2.62 - 3.40

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always accepted.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laura Edwards  Stevenson Hall 231B  (309) 438-3279 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016