Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies contributes to the academic and professional development of its students by developing their skills in critical thinking and writing as well as honing their linguistic expertise.  According to recent research, learning a second language as an adult sharpens cognitive skills correlated with academic success. Language study also improves employment prospects in a global economy; a study by Georgetown University found that foreign language majors had the lowest rate of unemployment of any field in the humanities.   

 In conjunction with the Department of Urban Education, we help students interested in teaching become certified to teach world languages as they complete their majors in Spanish or Portuguese. Many of our majors complete a second major in a wide variety of departments, including Business, Criminal Justice, English, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Nursing and Pre-Medicine, Psychology, Social Work, and Visual and Performing Arts, where knowledge of a foreign language is increasingly important for the development of both local and global connections.  We also offer a new minor in Latin American Studies.

Explore our website to learn more about what the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies has to offer you. In addition to Spanish and Portuguese, we offer classes in several other languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, and Japanese. To learn more about the faculty members teaching these languages, visit the Faculty and Staff section.

News & Announcements


    In 2015-2016, The Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies at Rutgers, Newark will sponsor a lecture series on Cuba: Vuelo Directo/Direct Flight: Havana-Newark.

    On Friday, September 11, 2015, the Department will host the inaugural event in the series, a poetry reading by Cuban author and poet Reina María Rodríguez and literary translator and scholar Kristin Dykstra. The poetry reading will be followed by a conversation between Rodríguez and Dykstra on the nuances of poetry in translation, and by a question-and-answer session.

    The event will be held at 1 p.m. in the Dana Room (4th floor of The Dana Library) on the Rutgers-Newark campus; the event is free and open to the public.

    Cuban author and poet Reina María Rodríguez is recognized for the rich quality of her writing across diverse genres, as well as for her long-term commitments to creating spaces for artistic community in Havana. The author of more than 30 books to date, and the recipient of many honors and prizes, Rodríguez won Cuba’s National Literature Prize in 2013, and the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Prize for Poetry in 2014.

    The Distinguished Scholar in Residence at St. Michael’s College, Kristin Dykstra received the 2014 Gulf Coast Prize for Literary Translation.  Dykstra is Rodríguez’s principal literary translator into English.

    This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, the Cultural Programming Committee, Latino/a Studies Working Group, and Critical Caribbean Studies.


    Wednesday, November 18, 2015,   2:30-4:00pm

    El Baile de los Elefantes:  Five Challenges for Inserting the African Diaspora into Renewed Cuba-US Relations

    Rutgers University - Newark, 15 Washington Street, Room 201

    On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, the Department will co-sponsor the Latin@ Studies Working Group's Inaugural Lourdes Casal lecture, to be delivered by Roberto Zurbano.  Zurbano will deliver his lecture in Spanish, and Dr. Lydia Barovero will provide simultaneous translation in English.  Miriam Jimenez Roma, executive director of the Afro-Latin@ Forum, will serve as respondent.

    Roberto Zurbano is a Cuban essayist, cultural critic, anti-racist activist, and researcher at Casa de las Americas, Havana's premiere cultural institution.  Zurbano is known for his controversial 2013 New York Times editorial, in which he questioned how the re-establishment of US-Cuban relations would address continued racism in Cuba.  In his lecture at Rutgers-Newark, Zurbano will discuss the challeges to the heterogeneous African Diaspora's full participation in the new chapter of Cuban History that began with Obama's re-establishment of relations with Cuba in 2014.

    This lecture is free and open to the public.  For parking information, visit


    Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - details to follow

    Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - details to follow