Academics: Credit Requirements

VWM students are required to earn at least 26 Spanish credits over the course of the term.  Since the Lengua de Literatura y Cultura Españolas orientation sessions (in Santiago de Compostela and Granada) bear 2 credits, students are expected to complete at least 24 Spanish credits in coursework in Madrid. The two credits for the orientation sessions are granted upon completion of two short, guided essays in Spanish about the orientation site, Madrid or an official regular-term program excursion. In place of the second essay on a program excursion, students have the option of submitting a blog posting for the program website (more information provided for that below).

The 24 Spanish credits compute as 4 course credits at Vassar and Wesleyan.  The ratio of 6 Spanish credits to 1 American credit applies to all courses taken in Spain, whether at the UC3M or the UC3M.  It applies as well to the Santiago and Granada sessions, which therefore translate as an additional partial credit beyond the 4 U.S. course credits normally earned through coursework in Madrid (an extra .50 at Vassar and .25 at Wesleyan, for a total of 4.50 or 4.25 respectively). Since credit values for courses vary, and since courses abroad tend to be less intensive than they would be in the US, students normally take more courses in Madrid than they would on their home campuses. 

In the interest of maximizing their cultural assimilation, VWM participants are expected to take at least 12 credits (that is, half of their course load in Madrid) through the different direct-enrollment options offered through our program, at either the UC3M or the UCM.  Students with a superior command of Spanish should increase their direct-enrollment course load accordingly (to 15 or even 18 credits).

Wesleyan Hispanic Literatures & Cultures majors: Bear in mind that the (usually) required language course counts for Wesleyan graduation credit, but it does not count for the Hispanic Literatures & Cultures major. Therefore, if you want to earn the maximum number of credits abroad toward the major (4 Wesleyan credits), you will normally need to take 6 more Spanish credits (a grado or the equivalent in CHs) than the program minimum requirement (i.e., 30 rather than 24 credits + 2 for Santiago). The typical exceptions would be students excused from the language course because they are native or near-native speakers. Linguistics courses, however, do count for the major.

The blog posting option to complete the program orientation credits: The idea is to propose one thoughtful recommendation to accomplish a program objective (improve command of Spanish, integrate socially, deepen knowledge of Spanish culture). It may be a place, an activity, an information resource or a group, but it could also be a learning strategy (see Abigail Wheeler’s or Nicholas Miceli’s blog postings for examples). The only condition is that it not be obvious (visit the Prado, check out a match at the Bernabéu) and that it reflect what students truly regard as the single-most valuable recommendation they can make based on their experience in Madrid. The idea is to help future program participants make the most of their four months in Spain. It is also a chance for students to reflect on their time in Madrid. The blog posting Spanish must be corrected first by a program monitor before submission to the director.

We offer below samples of how VWM students have constructed their plans of study in the past, according to their language level. These models are not prescriptive. They are intended to give a general idea of the options that have worked best for students in the past. Please note that if the student´s language level is “intermediate” he/she will have to take two CEH language courses (grammar and a composition). However, if the student´s level is  “advanced” or “superior” he/she will only take one language course.

PROGRAM OF INSTRUCTION: SAMPLE MODELS Spanish Credits
Model I – Superior level in Spanish
  Lengua y civilización españolas (Santiago, Granada) 2
1 CEH Spanish Language (required) 6
3 GRADO courses 18
Model II – Advanced level in Spanish
  Lengua y civilización españolas (Santiago, Granada) 2
CEH Spanish Language (required) 6
1 CEH course or 2 CH minicourses 6
2 GRADO courses 12
Model III – Intermediate level in Spanish
  Lengua y civilización españolas (Santiago, Granada) 2
CEH Spanish Language (required) 6
1 CEH course 6
1 GRADO course 6
1 CEH or 2 CH minicourses 6