Undergraduate FAQ

Instructor / Course Information

How do I know which classes to take for my major or minor?
You can find the requirement sheets for the year you added the major or minor here on UCSB Registrar's website. Every student should meet with the undergraduate advisor for the department in Phelps 4206 at least twice while at UCSB: once when you add the major or minor, and again approximately a year before you plan to graduate. This way you can be sure to take all the required classes for your course of study. Meeting with an advisor in the College of L&S is not enough- please talk to your departmental advisor to be sure you take all the necessary classes to graduate! 

How do I contact a professor or TA?
Instructor emails can be found under the People tab on this website. Note that your instructor could be listed under Faculty, Graduate Student, or Lecturer.

Instructors' emails and office hours are posted outside the Undergraduate Advising office, Phelps 4206. This information is updated each quarter.

How do I get into a class that’s full or “Closed”?
If the class is full, check if there is a waitlist on GOLD. If so, add yourself to the waitlist and attend ("crash") the course during the first few days of classes. If there is no waitlist on GOLD, or if it is "closed," email the instructor listed for the course. Please note that only instructors can give out add codes.

How can I find out what classes will be offered in future quarters?
Pick up a tentative list of course offerings for the current academic year in front of the department office at Phelps 4206.

How do I know what the course is about?
Read the General Catalog, either online or in print. Once a quarter's courses are posted on GOLD, you can also find a short course discription there.

Spanish Placement Exam

When can I take it? How do I sign up? What does my score mean?

Visit this link for a thorough explanation of the Spanish Placement Exam, as well as the Spanish Fluency Evaluation (for Native/Heritage speakers of Spanish).

When can I take the placement exam?
The Placement Exam for people who are learning Spanish as a second language is offered in Phelps 1521 (main) and HSSB 1203 (secondary) Monday-Thursday 8am-8:50pm, and Friday 8am-4:50pm. Please note that the exam is only offered when classes are in session; that is to say, it is not offered during breaks between quarters or on holidays. Please bring a photo ID to the exam and allow 15-45 minutes to complete it.

What if I took the AP test or Spanish at another college?
Visit this link for info on AP placement. For information on how Spanish courses taken at another public California college or university fit into your study of Spanish at UCSB, please visit assist.org.

Declaring the Major/Minor

When should I declare a major/minor?
As soon as you are sure you want to pursue this field of study, you should declare the major or minor. This way we can advise and guide you as you complete the requirements. The only way for the major or minor to show up on your diploma is if you declare it.

If you have any questions about what it means to declare the major or minor, please contact the undergraduate advisor at ebaez@hfa.ucsb.edu, (805)893-3161, or by dropping by our office in Phelps 4206.

How do I declare a major/minor?
Come to the Department office, Phelps 4206, and fill out either a “Petition to Change Major” or a “Petition to Declare the Minor.” If you’re a minor and your expected quarter of graduation changes or you decide to drop the minor please, let us know.

How long does it take for my major/minor to appear on GOLD?
Majors usually take two or three weeks. Minors do not show up on GOLD.

Major/Minor Requirements

What are the lower-division requirements?
Span 1-6 or an equivalent AP or Placement Exam score or similar advanced intermediate language course at another college, AND Span 16A or 16B or 25.

What are the upper-division requirements?
Minor: 100, 102L, one 110ABCD, one 111ABC, two electives.
Major: 100, 102L, three 110ABCD, two 111ABC, four electives.

What should I take first?
The answer to this question depends on if you are a native Spanish speaker or if you are learning Spanish as a second language. Second language learners of Spanish should complete Spanish 1-6 and Spanish 25, or the equivalent through an AP Exam or the Spanish Placement Test. Native/Heritage speakers of Spanish should take Spanish 16A and 16B. If you are a native speaker but also have experience with Spanish in a school setting, take the Spanish Fluency Evaluation before signing up for 16A or 16B (note: this is not the same as the Spanish Placement Test for second language learners). The Fluency Evaluation will place you into either Spanish 16A or 16B. See the Placement Guidelines tab on this website for further explanation.

What classes count as electives?
Any upper-division Spanish class taught in Spanish can count as an elective.

Can I take classes taught in English?
If you want major credit for a class taught in English, you must do all readings and all assignments in Spanish and petition this fact. Exceptions are 135, 139, 153, 157 and 179, of which Spanish majors can take one (1) for major credit. Otherwise, the work for courses in the Spanish department that are taught in English must be done in Spanish. Then, once you have completed a course, you will need to fill out a simple petition in the Advising office (Phelps 4206) stating that you completed the coursework in Spanish.

Minors can take one upper division Spanish course taught in English with coursework done in English. After the first course in English, corusework must be completed in Spanish. Minors who think they might, some day, want to be majors should avoid taking classes in English.

Can I take Portuguese classes?
Sure. Majors can take up to eight units of Portuguese literature courses and petition them to count for the major. Readings and assignments should be completed in Portuguese or Spanish.


You mean like to save the whales?
No, a petition is a form you fill out when you want to do something unusual, like have something count for the major that otherwise wouldn’t. Please come to the Undergraduate Advising Office so that we can help you select the appropriate petition and ensure that all fields are completed correctly.

What classes require a petition?
Do a “Petition for Degree Requirements” for any classes taught in English but in which all readings and assignments were done in Spanish. Have the instructor sign saying you did all work in Spanish before you turn it in to the Department.

Petition any class that you want to count for the Spanish major that is not a UCSB Spanish class, for example, UCSB Portuguese classes or classes taken at another college or non-UC EAP study abroad program.

EAP courses go on a “Petition for Graduation Matters EAP,” a different but also readily available form.