What is the right word(s) to use regarding "Subject" to work on or discuss such as in "Subjects to study at the engineering course at the university" or "Today's subject to work on is Oyster"?

I learnt I could use "material" but not "asunto". I would like to know if there are other words I can use or should use.


It looks "sujeto" in Spanish is about an individual/person or a grammatical instance (who/what) which takes verbs (S + V), and not about "subject" to talk about or work on.

  • "Subjects to study at the engineering course at the university": Materias."Today's subject to work on is Oyster": Tema. May 14, 2017 at 7:04
  • You should specify a region of interest since from the answers so far we can see that there are regional differences. For instance we almost never use asignatura in Colombia which is your accepted answer.
    – DGaleano
    May 17, 2017 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


Material (or in this case materiales) would sound as if you were talking about, well, material things. Asunto is a very general word; it's commonly used to translate the "Subject:" line of e-mails, but that's it. Sujeto is as you looked up, either a grammatical category or a person, though it can also refer to the subject of an experiment.

I would say the word you're looking for is tema (for more general topics of study) or asignatura (for specific courses). We call such things as Mathematics, Spanish Language, etc. in elementary schools asignaturas or materias (but the latter is more colloquial and possibly dialectal). Asignatura is also employed in higher education.


Éstas son todas las asignaturas de la carrera de Ingeniería Civil.
Si repruebas cualquier otra asignatura no podrás pasar de año.
Esta asignatura requiere asistencia mínima a clases del 70%.


You're almost there. It's not "material", but "materia". "Materia" is the academic way to say "subject" in Spain. As pablodf76 suggests, "asignatura" and "tema" are also fine.

  • In Colombia we also use materia
    – DGaleano
    May 17, 2017 at 15:21

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