Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Frequently Asked Questions


Commonly Asked:

What are cross-listed courses?
All courses have a home department. When professors believe the subject matter of their courses should not be limited to their own department, the course can be cross-listed with other departments. A course can be cross-listed with up to six departments, but our courses are generally cross-listed with only one or two. The most common departments for cross listing in Spanish and Portuguese are Latin American Studies (LAS), Mexican American Studies (MAS), European Studies (EUS), Jewish Studies (JES), and African & African American Studies (AFR). A cross-listed course will only count once towards your degree no matter under which department you take it.
If I register for a course under a different course number, will it still count toward my major or minor?
For students in the College of Liberal Arts, in most cases the answer is yes.  For example, if you are a Spanish major and the course is cross-listed with LAS or MAS, it will count toward your major in SPN regardless of the course abbreviation and number under which you take the course.
What is required to complete a double major?
Students seeking a double major must meet the departmental requirements for both majors, in addition to the University Core and the College's general degree requirements. Also, students must officially declare both majors with the College of Liberal Arts. If a student takes a course that is cross-listed between the two major departments, the course can count toward both majors. It is best for students interested in obtaining two majors to discuss their plan with each major advisor.
What is required to get a dual degree?
In order to obtain a dual degree, the student must meet all University Core and general degree requirements required by both Colleges and complete all hours required by each major. Also, students must officially declare both degrees and majors with the College of Liberal Arts. It is best for students interested in a dual degree to discuss their plan with both major advisors.
Where can I get information about the placement exam?
Contact Student Testing Services
I need to take a class, but it shows up as closed (and/or the wait list has no spaces on it). What can I do?Students enter classes through the waitlist. If for some reason you are unable to register for a lower-division class you need this semester, contact University Extension (471-2900). They offer a limited selection of classes that correspond to ours. Alternatively, consider the option of taking a study abroad course with our Faculty Led Programs, or take a course at a nearby college or university.
Can I audit a course?
No. The department does not allow auditors in Spanish or Portuguese language classes. The only exception is made for UT faculty who must register as an official auditor.
Can I take a course Pass/Fail?
If you take any Spanish lower-division course on a Pass/Fail or Credit/No-credit basis you will not be able to register for the next level course.  The reason for this is that in order to satisfy the pre-requisite for a lower-division course, you must have earned a grade of C or better. A grade of P/F or C/NC does not guarantee that the student had at least a 73% in the course.
I want to study in Spain, Latin America, or Brazil. Where can I get information on schools and/or financial aid
The Department offers several summer study abroad opportunities. You can meet with the Department Academic Advisors or visit the Study Abroad website.
My instructor told me that the written final exam is only 2 hours long, but the university exam schedule shows 3 hours. How long do I really have?
The exam schedules are standardized to reflect 3 hours, which in effect is the amount of time you have for your final.  BUT remember that during the last class day you take the listening part of the final, which is one hour long. That is why you have two hours from the scheduled start time for the written part of the final exam.
Who can take the make-up final exam?
Only students who have a conflict with another regularly scheduled UT final exam are permitted to take the make-up final.

Advising Bars:

Will I have an advising bar? If so, how do I get it removed?
Majors in Spanish or Portuguese will have an advising bar if they are new to the major or if they are on Scholastic Probation (have an overall UT GPA below 2.0).
FYI: A student may check to see if they have a bar on their Registration Information Sheet (RIS). It is important to view the RIS as part of your preparation for registration. If you have an advising bar, you will need to see an advisor.
What if my bar is with another college/major but I have switched to Spanish or Portuguese?
In most cases, we cannot clear bars imposed by another college or major, even if you have declared one of our majors. You must contact the office imposing the bar to have it cleared.
I didn’t realize I had a bar, and now I need to register.  Can I just call and have it cleared?
No. The bar has been imposed because we need to meet with you. To clear an advising bar, you must come in to the advising office in person. We will not clear bars over the phone, unless there are exceptional circumstances to consider. It is important to view your RIS as part of your preparation for registration.



Do I have to meet the prerequisite before registering for a class?
Our department enforces prerequisites as listed by the course schedule.  The registration system will prevent you from registering for a Spanish or Portuguese class if you have not met, or are not currently enrolled in (at UT) the required prerequisites.  You must have proof of the completed prerequisites (unofficial transcript or grade report) and you must have ordered an official transcript to be sent to UT before we can waive the prerequisite.
FYI: Some other departments do not enforce prerequisites at the point of registration. You may be able to register for a course for which you have not met the prerequisites, but you will need to complete them by the beginning of the semester to avoid being dropped.
The Registration system says I do not meet the prerequisites for a class but I think I do. What should I do?
The culprit is usually credit-by-exam, an undocumented transfer course, or an unusual course number (SPN 412L) in transfer. You can claim credit-by-exam online. It is always a good idea to contact your academic advisor if you have questions.
I don’t meet the prerequisite. Can I get the instructor’s permission to take the class?
No. Prerequisites are enforced across the board in all of our Spanish and Portuguese courses and an instructor cannot waive them.


Restricted Classes:

Can I register for a Spanish or Portuguese class if it says it is “open/restricted”?
Some seats in upper division classes are reserved for declared Spanish or Portuguese majors only. If you have declared your major, you should be able to register for a restricted SPN or POR class unless it is a special section reserved for a specific population (indicated in the course description). If you have recently declared, your major code may not have changed yet, so the registration system may not recognize you as a major. If you are certain that you do meet the requirements mentioned above, but are still being prevented from registering for a course, you may contact an advisor for assistance.
What if I am not a Spanish or Portuguese major and want to enroll in a restricted class?
Generally, you need to be a declared major in order to gain access to restricted SPN or POR classes during registration. If you are a student in a different college, you will need to visit the department advisors in BEN 2.108 and then GEB 2.200 to declare. Non-majors may gain access once we lift restrictions and activate our wait lists.  Generally this is done when all students have the same access period, which is usually 1-3 days before school starts for a long semester.
What if I want to register for a class in another department that is listed as “restricted”?
Most likely the class is restricted to majors in that department or to another specific population. Contact the advising/undergraduate office in the offering department for information.


Waitlists for Spanish and Portuguese Classes:

 I want to enroll in a Spanish or Portuguese class but the registration system says it is “Waitlisted”. What should I do?
Try to get on the waitlist immediately! To do this, attempt to add the class during your access period.  The registration system will notify you that the add was unsuccessful, but should give you the option of getting on the waitlist if it is active or if there is still space.
Important Tip-Be sure to read the waitlist directions provided to you and monitor “My Waitlists” for updates regarding your status. This will inform you of common pitfalls that may prevent you from being added to the class. Those who ignore repeated error warnings may be removed from the waitlist.
If a class is waitlisted do I stand a chance of getting added?
Maybe. It is not impossible to get into a “waitlisted” class. Here’s why:
·      If the waitlist system is turned on for a class, it will say “waitlisted” as soon as it is full, even if no one is on the waitlist yet. So you could be the first person on the list.
·      It is common to have several people drop during the add/drop periods. If you are one of the first two or three on the waitlist before the first class day, your chances are usually pretty good. Our wait lists only hold five spots each, so if the class indicates that it is “closed” during the first four class days, the class is full and the wait list is full as well.
What if I can’t get on the waitlist?
If you have recently declared your major as Spanish or Portuguese, your major code may not have changed yet. Without a Spanish or Portuguese major code, the registration system will not allow you access to waitlists for “restricted” seats in our department. Depending on when you are trying to add, another possibility is that the waitlist has failed to open or may already be closed.  Advisors cannot put students on waitlists. We suggest you add an open section if possible.
Is there any other way to add a class? Could I ask for the instructor’s permission?
No. You must utilize the waitlist system. In addition, the waitlists shut down after the 4th class day.
I want to add a class in another department that is listed as “closed”. What should I do?
The possibility of, and procedures for, adding a closed class varies by department. You should contact the advising/undergraduate office for the offering department to see what must be done.



 I’m having trouble adding a Spanish/Portuguese class. Why?
The usual culprits are a restriction or a prerequisite. If the class is listed as “Open; Restricted” and you are newly declared, you may need our assistance to gain access to the class. If you do not meet the prerequisites, you cannot register.
I need to adjust my schedule but it is not my add/drop access time. Can an advisor do it for me?
No. You will need to wait until the next access time to adjust your schedule. You can view your access times on your Registration Information Sheet (RIS).
Can I still add or drop once classes start?
You can add and/or drop yourself through the 4th class day (2nd class day for summer) via the registration system. During the 5th-12th class days (3rd-4th class days for summer) you can still drop yourself via ROSE, but you can only add with permission from the offering department’s advising/undergraduate office.  We do not allow anyone to add our classes after the 5th class day.
Where do I go to drop a class?
You can drop yourself from a class via ROSE during the first 12 class days of the semester. After that, you must go to your Dean’s Office. For Liberal Arts majors that would be the COLA Dean’s Office Student Division (GEB 2.200). See the Academic Calendar for the last date to drop a class in a given semester. It is usually mid-October for fall semesters and mid-March for spring semesters.
The academic calendar shows one drop deadline “without academic penalty” and another one later on. What does this mean?
Basically “without academic penalty” means you do not have to have the instructor’s permission to drop the course. After that deadline, up to the final drop deadline (see the Academic Calendar for exact dates) you will need the instructor’s signature in order to drop the course. The instructor has the right to refuse.
Does it look bad to Q-drop a class?
A class dropped after the 12th class day is recorded with a Q (in place of a grade) on your transcript. It is not uncommon for students to have one or two Q-drops by the time they graduate. It is not likely that one or two would impact you negatively; however, it is possible that it would be noted by those who review your transcript, such as graduate school admissions officers. Multiple Q-drops, or Q-drops in key classes, may be viewed unfavorably.
FYI: In accordance with section 51.907 of the Texas Education Code, a student may drop no more than six classes for academic reasons during his or her undergraduate career. This rule applies to all students who entered a public Texas institution of higher education as first-time undergraduates in the fall semester 2007 or later.
A dropped class is counted toward the six-drop limit if the student dropped it from the thirteenth class day through midsemester in a long-session semester or from the fifth through the last class day in a summer term, and if the student did not drop the class for a substantiated, nonacademic reason as defined below. (General Information Catalog)



Can I take a class pass/fail?
Only electives may be taken P/F. This means any class you are taking to satisfy a University Core, College or major or minor requirement, must be taken for a grade. If changed to P/F it will become an elective. If the class is retaken, the previous hours earned (in the same class) will be lost.
FYI: You must have 30 semester hours of credit completed to be eligible to take a class P/F. No more than two classes a semester can be taken on a P/F basis. No more than 16 hours total can be taken P/F.
What is “passing” in a pass/fail class?
A grade of D- or better counts as passing for a P/F class. Passing is recorded as CR (credit) on your transcript and does not affect your GPA. Failing is recorded as an F on your transcript and it DOES affect your GPA.
How do I change a class to pass/fail?
You can change a class to P/F yourself via ROSE during the first 12 class days of the semester, as long as you meet the criteria (stated above). From the 13th class day until the mid-semester deadline, you must go to the Dean’s Office of your college to request the class be changed to P/F. For Liberal Arts majors, that would be the COLA Dean’s Office Student Division (GEB 2.200). See the Academic Calendar for the last date to change a class to (or from) P/F in any given semester. It is usually mid-October for fall semesters and mid-March for spring semesters. Changing a class to P/F is permanent and cannot be undone.



Which variety of Portuguese is taught at UT Austin?
Brazilian Portuguese.
What is the difference between POR 601D and POR 610S?
POR 601D is a beginners’ course designed for non-Spanish speakers, while POR 610S is a beginners’ course designed for students who already speak Spanish. POR 610S is an accelerated course and corresponds to both POR 601D + POR 610D combined.
How do I know if POR 610S is appropriate for me?
This course is designed for beginning-level students or students who have never studied Portuguese, and who are either heritage speakers of Portuguese OR fluent Spanish speakers (if you grew up speaking Spanish or can communicate fluently in Spanish). If you have any questions regarding placement, please contact our advisors.
Is POR 610S taught in Spanish?
No. It is taught in the target language (Portuguese).
Does the department offer Portuguese classes in the summer?
Portuguese language courses are currently not offered during the summer.

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    BEN 2.116
    150 W. 21st Street, Stop B3700
    Austin, TX 78712-1155
    Advising & Registration: 512-232-4506/512-232-4503; Graduate Coordinator: 512-232-4502