Cueva Ventana, Puerto Rico

Cueva Ventana, Puerto Rico by Wei Zeng

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First-Year Spanish

The Spanish Language Program at Stanford University is designed to develop students’ abilities to:

  • engage in interactions with speakers of Spanish in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes, using socially and culturally appropriate forms
  • understand and interpret written and spoken language of different levels on a range of topics and demonstrate a growing awareness of the social and cultural influences shaping the production and use of Spanish
  • present information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of academic topics
  • expand on strategies that allow them to continue their study and use of Spanish outside the classroom.

Each quarter of the sequence has a set of functional objectives ("Progress Card") that students are expected to meet as they develop their language skills.

An Overview of the First-Year Sequence

In the first-year sequence, SPANLANG 1, 2, and 3, students acquire essential Spanish by using the language in meaningful ways and learn to function appropriately in a variety of social and cultural contexts. The first-year program objectives revolve around three key axes:


 Interacting with others in order to, e.g.,

  • ask and answer questions
  • exchange information about people, places, experiences, and events
  • express likes/dislikes
  • state opinions


Understanding spoken and written Spanish in, e.g., 

  • television news reports and oral presentations
  • social interactions in contexts students themselves can engage in
  • readings of up to 3 pages in length


Using academic/professional language to, e.g., 

  • give rehearsed oral presentations with limited reliance on notes
  • ask and respond to questions related to formal presentations
  • report in writing about everyday happenings and current events
  • discuss future plans and make predictions in writing

Important Note: The specific objectives of each course can be found on that course's individual page.

First-Year Courses


First quarter of the three-quarter sequence


Second quarter of the three-quarter sequence


Third quarter of the three-quarter sequence

SPANLANG 1A (Accelerated, Part 1/2)

Completes first-year sequence in two rather than three quarters

SPANLANG 2A (Accelerated, Part 2/2)

Completes first-year sequence in two rather than three quarters

Accelerated/Intensive 2-Quarter Track versus Year-long 3-Quarter Track

The accelerated, intensive track of first-year Spanish covers in two quarters (SPANLANG 1A and SPANLANG 2A) the same material that is normally covered in three quarters. As such, the accelerated track demands of its students a greater, more concentrated amount of time, effort, and dedication, as well as a good deal of previous experience. The accelerated track is thus open only to students with previous exposure to Spanish in the classroom or extensive exposure to another Romance language (for example, French, Italian, or Portuguese). Moreover, students who have studied Spanish before must place into the accelerated track via the Stanford placement exam. Students with exposure to another Romance language must demonstrate second-year proficiency (or above) in that language through the relevant placement exam or second-year coursework in that language at Stanford. For further information, contact Sabrina Grimberg at stgrim [at] (stgrim[at]stanford[dot]edu).