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Spanish Language Program

Students who wish to fulfill the RC language requirement in Spanish must complete RCLang
194 Intensive Spanish I, RCLang 294 Intensive Spanish II (or demonstrate an equivalent level
of skill), pass the proficiency examination, and complete a Readings seminar (RCLang 324).
Courses are offered in both the Fall and Winter terms.


  1. First-year students with some background in Spanish should take the LSA Placement Test and consult with an academic counselor for placement at the appropriate level, either RC Lang 194 or 294. Some students with no background at all can only take Spanish 194 in the winter term or by permission from the Program Head.
  2. Students entering the program with more extensive backgrounds and higher scores on the LSA Placement Test will consult with an academic advisor whether they are eligible to take the Residential College Spanish Proficiency Exam. Dates and times for this exam (administered before the term begins) will be posted outside 107 Greene, East Quad, at the end of August.
  3. Students who do not pass the Proficiency Exam normally enroll in RCLANG 314, Spanish Accelerated Review. This is a 4-credit review course for students who have not quite reached the required level of proficiency at the end of RCLANG 294 intensive course and for incoming students who do not need the 8 hours of the RCLANG 294 intensive course to reach our proficiency level. Depending on performance some
    students who do not pass the Spanish Proficiency Exam may still be advised to enroll in RCLANG 294 (8 credits).


The Spanish Proficiency Exam is administered three times each year: right before Labor Day, at the end at the end of the fall semester in December, and at the end of the Winter semester in April. All RC students who have completed the second-year level or the Accelerated Review, including RC students who take Spanish through LSA, are required to pass proficiency before they can take the required third-year Readings seminar.

The Proficiency examination is a five-part, comprehensive test of language ability:

  1. listening comprehension;
  2. reading comprehension;
  3. mastery of Spanish grammar;
  4. ability to write and,
  5. ability to speak (interview).

Students who let more than one semester elapse between passing the proficiency exam and enrollment in the Spanish Readings course (without having taken a Spanish course in the interim) must re-take the Spanish Proficiency Exam.


The Residential College Spanish program offers Spanish lunch tables and Spanish coffee hours
(Tertulia) to provide the opportunity to practice Spanish in informal situations. Students, faculty
and friends who wish to participate and practice their Spanish skills are welcome.

  • The Spanish table is held four days per week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 11:00 to 12:00 in the Private Dining Room at the EQ cafeteria. There are always several teachers on hand ready to converse with students. Occasionally we invite special guests to join us.
  • The Tertulia is held weekly according to this schedule in the Greene Lounge on Monday and Thursday from 2-3pm. Casual conversation and other forms of cultural exchange take place. Occasionally guests also visit our coffee hours. These are excellent opportunities for students to practice the skills they have been acquired in the classroom. Both activities are integral parts of the R.C. Spanish Program and enrolled students are expected to participate in them on a regular basis.
  • Students in the Residential College Spanish Program may participate in the Study Abroad opportunities offered by the University of Michigan or may consider other possibilities available to them through a variety of independent organizations or other colleges and universities. If interested, contact the faculty in the Spanish Program or the Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS).


RCLANG 154 ELEMENTARY SPANISH: 4 contact hours per week (4 credits). Fall only. 
The goal of this non-intensive course is to provide students with limited or no previous background in the language with a basic knowledge of Spanish grammar and functional vocabulary as well as practice in speaking and writing. It will also provide strategies for studying a second language that will prepare them for an intensive Spanish class during the winter.  A range of verb tenses and grammatical structures will be used in real-life contexts and practiced daily in small group activities.  Upon completion of this course, students should be able to comprehend and interpret simple journalistic articles and analyze short oral passages. It will also prepare students to write and sustain general conversations with native speakers about self, family, academic life and interests, cultural traditions, and current events.

RCLANG 194 INTENSIVE SPANISH I: 8 contact hours per week (8 credits)
This course meets twice a day, 4 days a week and covers in one term the equivalent of two
non-intensive courses. The goal of this course is to provide students with a basic but solid
knowledge of Spanish grammatical structures and syntax, a basic vocabulary, a familiarity with
intonation patterns and pronunciation, and practice in speaking and writing. Students in
Spanish 194 meet in the morning for a lecture where grammatical structures and vocabulary
are presented in Spanish. Both vocabulary and grammatical structures are presented in a
situational context. In the afternoon students meet in small groups for intensive practice of the
material covered in the lecture.
At the end of the term, the final exam measures reading and writing proficiency levels through
four hour-long exercises in class: a grammar test, a reading comprehension exercise, and a
composition. Speaking is measured through a final oral presentation in class but student
performance in class, especially in the recitation, weighs heavily in the final decision on whether
or not the student can go into 294. Attendance at lunch-tables and coffee-hours is also

RCLANG 294 INTENSIVE SPANISH II: 8 contact hours per week (8 credits)
This course meets twice a day and covers in one term the equivalent of two non-Intensive
courses. The goal of this course is to bring students to a level of competence in Spanish that
allows communication with ease in speaking and writing, and understanding a written or spoken
text of a more specialized interest. The morning lecture is devoted to a thorough review and
expansion of grammar, training students to develop their listening comprehension skills and
fine-tuning their vocabulary. The lecture is in Spanish. Students meet in small groups for the
recitation in the afternoon. Emphasis is placed on speaking through the discussion of assigned
readings and visual materials, as well as on writing.
At the end of the term, the Proficiency Exam evaluates the level of performance in
communicative skills achieved by each student.

RCLANG 314 SPANISH ACCELERATED REVIEW: 4 contact hours per week (4 credits)
This course is designed for students with a fairly extensive background in Spanish, who have
already taken the equivalent of three/four semesters of language but still need further
reinforcement in two or more linguistic areas, and are too advanced for second year intensive.
The main focus of this class is the discussion of primary source materials of literary, cultural
and political nature pertaining to the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the review of advanced
grammar. Students work toward proficiency with several listening and reading comprehension
exercises, grammar tests, and weekly written assignments evaluated for accuracy of
At the end of the term, the Proficiency Exam evaluates the level of performance in
communicative skills achieved by each student.

RCLANG 324 SPANISH READINGS: 3 contact hours per week (4 credits)
The Spanish Readings seminars are open to all students who have passed the Proficiency
Exam. In these courses language is used as a tool to study other subjects and is not studied
as an end in itself. The class sessions are on an informal lecture-discussion basis, and
emphasis is placed on student participation. Interdisciplinary by nature, these seminars provide
students with a way of expanding their studies of the foreign language as well as with
opportunities for applying their language skills to explore their specific interests in more depth.
The amount of reading may be equivalent to 3 medium-length books. Students also write and
revise three 4-5 essays and journal entries, and often give presentations that involve research
on a topic related to the theme of the class. Regular attendance and active participation in the
discussion are required.
The Spanish Program makes every effort to present Readings courses in relation to Latin
America and Spain.