Spanish is a major language in Western Europe and the most spoken in the Americas, from Canada and the US to South America and even the Philippines, with many native and second language speakers.

Why study Spanish?

With more than 470 million native speakers worldwide, Spanish ranks as the world's number 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language, according to Ethnologue. Knowing Spanish, the language of Miguel de Cervantes, opens the doors to a wide range of countries and cultures, especially in America. Its official status in more than 21 countries, spanning South, Central, and North America, as well as parts of Africa and Europe, its rapid expansion as a second language and its versatile role as a language of tourism, diplomacy, international businesses, popular culture, etc., make Spanish the most relevant world language today after English.

Besides being the official language of Spain, Equatorial Guinea and 20 more countries in Latin America, the US (52.6 million) has become the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world after Mexico (121 million). Spanish is also one of the most widely taught languages in the world - taught in the US, UK, Brazil, China and the Philippines - according to official statistics.

Worldwide, there is a high demand for Spanish teachers in the education sector, including in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Other professions hiring professionals who know Spanish include working as an interpreter, translator, the medical profession, social worker, law enforcement professional, diplomacy, ambassador, international relations, business, journalism, management, computer specialists, technicians etc.

Career Opportunities

  • Ethnographer
  • International Development Worker
  • Lecturer
  • Museum Curator
  • Overseas Aid Worker
  • Research or Policy Analyst
  • Teacher
  • Travel and Tourism Operator
  • Translator
  • Diplomat

Hamilton, Online

Study Spanish in these qualifications

Enrolment into the PGCert, PGDip, BA(Hons) and MA in Japanese will be suspended from 2022.

At undergraduate (Bachelors) level, a Spanish specialisation is offered through a major in International Languages and Cultures.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Subject requirements

Spanish is available as a pathway within the International Languages and Cultures major or supporting subject for the BA and the BGS, and as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees, subject to academic approval of the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences in which the student is enrolled.

The focus of the specialisation is to provide students with the opportunity to develop language skills that might enhance their ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.

International Languages and Cultures major with a specialisation in Spanish
International Languages and Cultures is available as a major for the BA and the BGS, and may also be taken as a second major or as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees. A major in International Languages and Cultures with a specialisation in Spanish requires a total of 135 points and students must complete SPNSH131SPNSH231SPNSH232, SPNSH331, SPNSH332

For more information about subject requirements please refer to the Catalogue of Papers for the most up to date information.

Spanish in other majors
A minor, or specialisation in other majors requires 60 points above 100 level in Spanish, students must complete SPNSH231SPNSH232 and SPNSH331.

The point of entry into the Spanish programme depends on previous experience. Those with no previous experience of Spanish take SPNSH131. Students with 14 credits at Level 3 in NCEA Spanish, or equivalent, will gain direct entry into SPNSH231.

If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email:

Spanish papers


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