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Spanish is the third most widely-spoken language in the world, after Chinese and English. It is the official language of almost all of the countries in Latin America, one of the three original charter languages of the United Nations, and a base language of the European Union. In the United States, Spanish is the fastest expanding second language, and people of Hispanic origin already constitute the largest minority and are set to become the largest single ethnic group within a few decades. The richness, diversity and importance of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world have also contributed to the rapid expansion in the number of students taking Spanish at schools and universities in the UK, Europe and throughout the world.

The Spanish sub-faculty, which celebrated its centenary in 2005, is one of the largest centres in the United Kingdom for research into the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. It enjoys a flourishing research culture in which its traditional strengths in medieval and Golden-Age literature, and also in the history of the language and linguistics, are complemented by its research strengths in the modern and contemporary literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. The creation of new posts in recent years has reinforced Oxford's historic strengths and also extended the range of specialist expertise and critical approaches, further enhancing opportunities for research collaboration, interdisciplinary activity and graduate supervision.

The sub-faculty is also dedicated to promoting Spain's minority languages and is one of the very few universities in the UK to offer teaching and research opportunities in Galician studies, under the auspices of the Centre for Galician Studies. It also receives funding from the Catalan government for a Generalitat Teaching Fellowship in Catalan.

Graduate work has been a major component of the sub-faculty's activities for many years. Graduate students have come from the UK, Europe and the Americas to do research on a whole range of topics; many of them go on to posts in other UK and foreign universities or in the corporate world. There are two fortnightly seminar series attended by researchers, teachers and graduate students, with papers given by members or visiting speakers on work in progress and current research. Graduate students also have the opportunity to share and discuss work in the sub-faculty's two reading groups, and are encouraged to collaborate on the numerous research activities and colloquia held in Oxford. The postgraduate M.St. and M.Phil. degrees reflect the wide range of research interests and expertise available to students at Oxford.

To learn more about the research activities of the Spanish sub-faculty, please see research and teaching interests of permanent post-holders and associated members.