Spanish Painting



Academic Advisor



Did you know that Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English? And that the United States ranks second among countries with the highest population of Spanish speakers, with Mexico in first place? To keep pace with the rising international and national influence 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 fields. At San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Spanish, or they can opt for a minor in Spanish that will supplement any of the majors offered at the campus. In doing so, students will not only be expanding their personal and intellectual horizons, they will also be preparing themselves for a competitive and global job market, in which speaking and writing in more than one language are crucial. At San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus students can also enroll in elective Spanish courses to fulfill the general education requirement and complete coursework toward 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 experience and interactions with Hispanic culture and Spanish language to reinforce their studies in a wide range of courses. Students may choose courses in both traditional and non-traditional literatures that cover everything, from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote to the Mexican narcocorrido. In addition to classes in Spanish Peninsular and Latin American literature, Imperial Valley campus also offers a variety of courses in Spanish conversation, composition, civilization, and linguistics. Our Spanish faculty is committed to working closely with students to meet their individual needs. If you  have questions about the Spanish program at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Magdalena Altamirano or Dr. Juan Carlos Ramírez Pimienta. We are here to help you.

Click here to view the brochure about the Department of Spanish at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley .



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 education in Spanish language, literature and culture.


A degree in Spanish is ideal for Students seeking preparation for careers in:

  • Teaching.
  • Translation and interpretation.
  • Journalism, digital platforms and social media.
  • Book production.
  • Marketing.
  • Television and film production.
  • Foreign affairs.


Faculty and Staff


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

Dr. Magdalena Altamirano

Dr. Magdalena Altamirano, Associate Professor (Spanish Peninsular literature and culture)

Dr. Altamirano holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature from El Colegio de México. Her primary area of expertise is Spanish Middle Ages and Golden Age poetry, with emphasis on popular lyrics and ballads, and the interaction of popular culture and learned culture in the literary works of the period. She has also studied the presence of popular poetry, exported from the Iberian Peninsula, in religious chapbooks of colonial Mexico. Her secondary field is modern Mexican ballads (corridos). She joined the faculty of San Diego State University Imperial Valley in 2006.

Contact Information

Office: Faculty East 105
[email protected]

Dr. Juan Carlos Ramirez-Pimienta

Dr. Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, Professor (Latin American literature and culture)

Dr. Ramírez-Pimienta holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Michigan, and has taught at San Diego State University, Imperial Valley campus since 2003. His areas of teaching and research include contemporary Latin American literatures and cultures (including popular cultures), national, transnational and post-national musical identities, as well as popular poetics. An expert on Mexican and border cultural and literary studies, Dr. Ramírez-Pimienta feels privileged to focus on teaching and research at a campus located just a few blocks away from the international border between the United States and Mexico.

Contact Information

Office: East Faculty 103
[email protected]



Spanish Academic Advisor

Virtual Advisor

Majoring in Spanish

FAQ prepared by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the San Diego campus.

Miguel De Cervantes


  • Please see the General Catalog for information about degree requirements and course offerings.
  • Please see San Diego State University Imperial Valley course schedule for courses currently offered.




Study Abroad

All Spanish majors are required to complete an approved study abroad program in a Spanish-speaking country consisting of a minimum of six units (90 hours).

For more information about study abroad opportunities, please see the San Diego campus Department of Spanish and Portuguese website, the Aztecs Abroad website, and the International Student Center’s Study Abroad website