Tradition, culture, and enlightenment

Over 600 million people speak Spanish. In the United States, it is the second language. Spanish is becoming increasingly important and popular in Canada as NAFTA and other commercial links are established with Spain and Latin America. This creates a need for translators, interpreters, and teachers, as Spanish-speaking persons are needed in tourism, finance, management, diplomacy, consulate, and embassy work.

Spanish is an excellent complement to UPEI degrees in Business, Veterinary Medicine, and Environmental Science, and for individuals seeking employment opportunities in the United States, Latin America, and Spain.

two students talking outdoors

UPEI presents the only opportunity in Prince Edward Island for learning this language. This means that most students wishing to study Spanish start with 1000-level courses which require no prior background in the language. Those who have had some contact with the language through exchanges, family background, or travel may enter at a higher level. Students who have taken Spanish at the high school level will write a placement test.

Courses in the 1000 and 2000 levels are chiefly language courses, while courses above these levels focus mainly on cultural studies. Students may complete a seven-course minor in Spanish or a major. In the latter case; however, two of the 14 semester courses must be taken in one of the partner institutions the Modern Languages department has with the University of Salamanca (Spain), Academia de Humanismo Cristiano (Chile), and Universidad de la República (Uruguay).

Meet Abby Gibson, UPEI Modern Languages graduate (Class of 2022)

UPEI alumna Abby Gibson's graduation portrait
Abby Gibson in Burgos, Spain with a cathedral in the background
upei graduate abby gibson in europe
Success Story, Students
Abby Gibson

After graduating from UPEI's Modern Languages program, Abby is living and working in Spain as an educational assistant and cultural ambassador. 


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Course Structure

Note: Current UPEI students should refer to Student Planning in myUPEI and the UPEI Academic Calendar governing their entry year, and speak to an academic advisor about course requirements. The course structure presented for this program is a recommended, unofficial progression for prospective students.

Note: As per Academic Regulation 1h, all undergraduate degree programs require successful completion of IKE-1040 (new for students beginning or returning after re-application in Fall 2022); one of UPEI-1010, UPEI-1020, or UPEI-1030, and a Writing Intensive Course. 



Under the supervision of the Department, a student is allowed to major in Spanish if the student shows a high level of interest and competency in the subject and intends to cover the minimum requirement of 42 semester hours.

This would be done under the approval of a Departmental Committee and the Dean of Arts after all courses taken or intended to be taken, at UPEI or another Canadian or foreign institution, have been considered. Students are highly recommended to participate in the exchange programs available.

A major consists of a minimum of 42 semester hours of Spanish.


Students must include at least 12 semester hours in a modern language or modern languages other than Spanish.

Students should discuss these courses or other alternatives with the Chair of Modern Languages as early as possible.

Requirements for a Certificate of Proficiency in Conversational Spanish

Studies leading to a Certificate of Proficiency in Conversational Spanish are designed for individuals with no background in Spanish. The program accommodates people wanting to learn Spanish to communicate proficiently with people in another culture, increase professional qualifications, or gain new skills and expertise. Courses at the 1000- and 2000-level focus on basic language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Courses at the 3000-level emphasize oral linguistic competence by discussing cultural and socio-political issues in the Hispanic world.

A Certificate of Proficiency in Conversational Spanish consists of:

  • 18 semester hours of courses in the following sequence:
    • 1010-1020 Introductory Spanish
    • 2010-2020 Intermediate Spanish
    • 3030-3040 Advanced Spanish
  • After completion of the required course work, success in an oral examination of linguistic competence in Spanish and knowledge of civilization and culture pertaining to the Hispanic world.




A minor in Spanish consists of 21 semester hours of courses in the following sequence:

  • Spanish 1010/1020 Introductory
  • Spanish 2010/2020 Intermediate
  • At least 9 semester hours at the 3000 or 4000 level in Spanish, at least 6 semester hours must be taken at UPEI at the upper level.
SDU Main Building
SDU Main Building
What can you do with an Arts degree? Anything you want!

UPEI provides a solid education in the liberal arts, committed to rigorous study and inquiry, belief in the value of knowledge, lifelong capacity-building, and the development of the whole person.

Admissions Criteria
What's Required for Arts Admission?

High School Graduates

Canadian High School Equivalency Chart

Successful completion of Grade 12 examinations in a University Preparatory Program with an overall average of at least 70% (75% for Quebec Secondary V students) in the following subjects:

  • English;
  • one Social Studies or Language;
  • any 3 other academic courses. Grade 12 math recommended.
    Note: Grade 12 Math is a prerequisite for some 1st year Arts courses.

Please refer to the UPEI Academic Calendar for complete admissions information.

Student Opportunities
Careers and Opportunities

Graduates of UPEI's Spanish program may find work in:

  • Translation
  • Teaching
  • Diplomacy
  • United Nations, European Union, International Monetary Fund, and other major international organizations
  • Consulates and embassies in the Hispanic world

a group of students walking in UPEI's quad in fall

Spanish students can also take advantage of unique opportunities at UPEI, including

  • Spanish 2030, a four-week immersion course taught at the University of Salamanca, Spain
  • the Tertulias Spanish Club, where students can meet and practice their Spanish skills in a relaxed, social setting
  • presentations of their own research at the Association of Hispanists of the Atlantic Provinces (AHPA) Symposium

We also hire students in our Spanish major and minor programs to help teach language labs for Introductory Spanish I and II. This allows them to gain self-confidence in their Spanish language skills and gain valuable teaching experience.

students in UPEI quad
students in UPEI quad
Millions in scholarships and awards

Each year we award over 3,000 scholarships and awards to qualified students. Our comprehensive program—valued at over $8 million—includes some awards that are equal to full tuition and renewable!

Fees and Funding
Faculty of Arts Programs Tuition

UPEI's undergraduate tuition is the second-lowest in the Atlantic region, and we offer millions of dollars in scholarships and awards.


$6,828 per year, based on 30 credit hours ($682.80 per 3 credit course).
International students pay $8,010 per year in addition to full-time student tuition.

For a complete breakdown of part-time or full-time study as a student in the Faculty of Arts, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Scholarships and Awards

UPEI supports you and your educational goals. We administer millions of dollars in scholarships and awards to our undergraduate and graduate students every year. Depending on your faculty or program, and year of study, you may be eligible for available awards.

Search the complete list of scholarships for information and application forms.  

Celebrating Student Achievement

Including Guaranteed Entrance Scholarships and Academic Excellence Awards, these awards recognize the academic achievements of all students who meet the eligibility criteria while studying towards their first undergraduate degree.

Visit the Scholarships site for complete information.

Faculty Members
Your mentors. Our professors.

UPEI has about 250 faculty—exceptional scholars, teachers, and mentors, with more being hired each year as we open new, progressive, and unique programs. But the story isn’t just in the numbers. It’s in the quality of our people. Award-winning faculty from around the globe have made UPEI home. Here, you’ll learn directly from these world-class professors and researchers in small classes where you’ll have easy access to them.


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