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Department of spanish
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Department of Spanish

Did you know that Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world?  And that the United States ranks fourth among countries with the highest population of Spanish speakers, with Mexico in  first place?  To keep pace with the rising national and international importance of Spanish, the Department of Spanish at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus offers ample opportunities to develop a career in Spanish or to acquire a solid background in Spanish that could be extremely useful in virtually all professional areas.  At San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus students can pursue a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Spanish or a minor in Spanish.  In addition, they can enroll in elective Spanish courses and also complete some of the course requirements for the Master of Arts degree in Spanish offered at the San Diego campus.

San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus is situated in Calexico, California, within blocks of the United States/Mexico border, an area with a long history of cross-cultural exchanges.  At the Imperial Valley campus, students have hands-on experiences and interactions with Hispanic culture and Spanish language to reinforce their studies in a wide range of courses.  Students may choose both canonical and non-canonical literature courses that cover everything, from Cervantes’ Don Quixote to the Mexican narcocorrido and, of course, the literature of the Chicano people, among many other fascinating offerings.  In addition to courses in Peninsular and Latin American literature, the faculty of the Department of Spanish at the Imperial Valley campus teach a variety of courses in conversation, composition, civilization, linguistics, and several options of Spanish for the professions.   

Sor Juana Picture
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,
a magnificent example of cultural exchange across the Atlantic Ocean.


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Early twentieth century broadside with the corrido of Macario Romero.


The mission of the Department of Spanish at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus is to help students achieve their personal and professional goals by providing them with quality teaching and other intellectual resources and academic opportunities they might need to achieve success.

Major and Minor in Spanish

Please see the General Catalog for information about degree requirements and course offerings.

Click here for a PDF brochure of the Department of Spanish at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus.


Class Schedule

Please see the class schedule for courses offered during the Fall 2012 semester.


Study Abroad

For study abroad opportunities, please contact:

Miriam C. Castañón, MSBA
International Programs Coordinator
Phone: (760) 768-5505

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romances picture

The Spanish writer and musician Federico García Lorca with Encarnación López, La Argentinita. (1955).

A bestseller from the Spanish Golden Age: Cancionero de romances (1550)..


The faculty of the Department of Spanish at the Imperial Valley campus have a joint appointment with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the San Diego campus.


Full-time Faculty

Dr. Magdalena Altamirano (Spanish Peninsular literature)
Associate Professor
Office: Faculty East 105
Phone: (760) 768-5614

Dr. Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta (Latin American literature)
Office: Faculty East 103
Phone: (760) 768-5613


Other Faculty

Carmina Contreras (Business Spanish)

Dr. Sergio Elizondo (Emeritus, Spanish)

You can learn more about the Spanish faculty at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley in the NEWS (Recent accomplishments) section of this site.


Academic Advisor

Virtual Advisor

Majoring in Spanish, FAQ

Print PDF with Spanish major requirements (prepared by the Department of Spanish at the San Diego campus).

Aracely Bojorquez, Spanish Advisor (Imperial Valley campus)
Office: Student Affairs 110
Phone: (760) 768-5506


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cervantes picture

The Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quijote de la Mancha.


Foreign Languages Associations

Dictionaries, grammar, spelling

General information about language, literature and culture

Authors, texts, bibliographies, criticism and more


And remember, you can search for a wide variety of newspapers published in Spanish.



Recent Faculty Publications


Dr. Magdalena Altamirano

"Encrucijadas poéticas: una colección de villancicos novohispanos en la John Carter Brown Library." Colonial Latin American Review 21.3 (2012): 441-56.

"Magia terapéutica en el Segundo tomo del ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha de Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda: el romance del conde Peranzules y una réplica a Cervantes." Hispanic Review 80.3 (2012): 371-90.

"'Alzó el aire las faldas de mi vida': petrarquismo y antigua lírica popular en un soneto del Jardín de Venus." Calíope 17.2 (2011): 81-102.

Dr. Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta

Book. Cantar a los narcos. Voces y versos del narcocorrido.  México: Planeta, 2011.

"El narcocorrido religioso: usos y abusos de un género." Studies in Latin American Popular Culture 29 (2011): 184-201.

"Sicarias, buchonas y jefas: perfiles de la mujer en el narcocorrido." Colorado Review of Hispanic Studies 8/9 (2010-2011). Peer-reviewed e-journal.


Commencement 2012

The Spanish faculty at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus expresses its sincere congratulations and best wishes to the SDSU-IV class of 2012.  ¡Buena suerte!  


Our Graduates

Congratulations to Martha Eliana Romo (class' 08) and Ernesto Zepeda (class' 11) for their admission to the SDSU Master's Program in Spanish (San Diego Campus).

Some SDSU-IV previous graduates' professional placements include:

  • Spanish instructor, Frank Wright Middle School (Imperial, CA).
  • Spanish instructor, Southwest High School (El Centro, CA).
  • Spanish instructor, Imperial Valley College (Imperial, CA).
  • Spanish professor, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Some SDSU-IV graduates' graduate school placements include:

  • San Diego State University, San Diego (M. A. Spanish).
  • The University of Kansas (Ph. D. Spanish).
  • The University of New Mexico (Ph. D. Spanish).


  • This page is designed and maintained by Magdalena Altamirano.
  • Technical support: Juan Lagunas.
  • Last update: August 1, 2012.