USC adds doctoral program in Spanish
The University of South Carolina’s College of Arts & Sciences will offer the state’s only doctoral degree in Spanish to help meet the growing demand for educators and professionals with the highest level of Spanish proficiency.
According to the U.S. Census, South Carolina’s Latino population increased more than 460 percent between 1990 and 2007, a population shift from 30,000 to 168,000. The statistics reflect a larger trend nationwide.
Dr. Francisco Sánchez, director of the Spanish program in the college’s department of language, literature and cultures, says the new USC degree program will prepare students for faculty teaching and research positions at other colleges and universities, including ones in South Carolina, to direct high-school language programs, and to serve as consultants and translators in private and public sectors and medical settings where the highest level of language mastery and cultural understanding is required.
“Spanish is an exciting field of study that requires a broader understanding of the language and culture today,” said Sánchez. “Our program at USC has a particular strength in transatlantic studies, with a faculty research and teaching concentration in the connections between Spanish-speaking cultures in Europe and the Americas.”
Sanchez said 21st-century globalization requires graduates in Spanish to understand those connections, which is particularly relevant in the United States where the Latino population is diverse. The doctoral program will be interdisciplinary, providing that broader understanding through courses in comparative literature, linguistics and other fields of study.
“As the Latino population in the U.S. has changed, the language [Spanish] also has changed, having developed its own culture, flavor and roots,” Sanchez said. “This emerging culture is influencing- and being influenced by-the main culture of the United States.”
USC will admit its first class of degree candidates this fall; a May 2015 graduation is expected.
The Spanish program is the largest language program at USC. Its number of undergraduate majors has doubled to 200 in the last 10 years. It also is the most popular minor among undergraduates.
The doctoral candidates will serve as graduate assistants for the increasingly popular Spanish program, teaching undergraduate students in anthropology, history, international business and Latin American studies as well as graduate students in the IMBA (international master of business administration) program.