Spanish Basic Language ProgramDepartment of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese


Spanish 1, 2, and 3

Welcome to Spanish at Penn State. Spanish 1, 2, and 3 are courses for students who are native speakers of a language other than Spanish. Spanish 1 is a 4-credit online only course. There is no in-class component for this course. The Spanish 2 and 3 courses are divided into two components — in-class and online. Two hours of these 4-credit, one-semester courses are completed in class and the rest (instruction + homework) is fulfilled on-line.

The purpose of these courses is to develop and improve communication skills when listening, reading, speaking, and writing in Spanish. The courses follow a communicative information-based task approach, which springs from the idea that languages are best learned when real world information becomes the focus of students’ activities. Therefore, during the semester, you will exchange real-life information about yourself and your classmates.

Students who have previously completed course work equivalent to the level of Spanish 003 will not receive credit for Spanish 003 at Penn State. Also, individuals who have taken the AP exam and have received a score of 3 or above or who have taken the IB exam, and have received a score of 5 or higher on the Higher Level exam will receive the 12 credits required to fulfill the language proficiency requirement and will therefore not be able to take Spanish 3 for credit. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Spanish 10 and 20

The Spanish 10 and 20 courses are the two parts of an intensive program for students whose native language is something other than Spanish. These intensive courses meet four days a week (Monday-Thursday) and are worth 6 credits per semester. The courses can be taken as an alternative to the traditional series of basic language instruction (Spanish 1, 2, and 3) that continues over three semesters.

Spanish 10 is only offered during the Fall semester, while Spanish 20 is only offered during the Spring semester. The two courses — Spanish 10 and 20 — are designed to cover the same amount of material as the three-semester basic language program, but in two-thirds of the time. In Spanish 10, we will cover the preliminary chapter through chapter 7 of the Mosaicos textbook. Spanish 20 will cover the remaining chapters of the same text — chapters 8-15. The purpose of these courses is to develop and improve communication skills when listening, reading, speaking, and writing in Spanish, by means of:

  • Linguistic skills: grammar and vocabulary.
  • Sociocultural skills: appropriate use of Spanish based on situation and context.
  • Discourse skills: ability to use, understand and participate in different discourse tasks (e.g., comparison, description, narration) and situations (e.g., telephone, face-to-face, debate, interviews)
  • Strategic skills: (e.g., learning strategies)

This course is based on a communicative approach with focus on form, which combines content- and task-based materials in a student-centered environment. Activities follow the sequence of structured-input activities, structured-output activities, and open-ended communicative tasks.

Native speakers and students with life long contact with Spanish may not enroll in Spanish 1, 2, 3, 10 or 20. Those wishing to improve grammar/writing skills in Spanish should enroll in Spanish 100A or 301 (check with the Dept. of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese).

If you are interested in demonstrating and certifying proficiency at the Spanish 3 / 20 level, please contact the Spanish Department office (442 Burrowes Building, 814 865-4252) for information on the process and charges to do this.