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Undergraduate Program

romance languages and literatures

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Undergraduate Program Description

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers both majors and minors in French, Hispanic Studies, and Italian, each of which affords a wide exposure to literature and culture in the target language.

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Major in French

Requirements: Ten 3-credit courses (30 credits)

 
Four courses (12 credits) to be chosen from among the following:
  • RL 305 Introduction to Drama and Poetry
  • RL 306 Introduction to Narrative Forms
  • RL 307 Masterpieces of French Literature
  • RL 308 Advanced Language Studies in French
  • RL 309 Topics in French Culture and Civilization

Note: Students may repeat a semester of RL 307, RL 308, or RL 309 as an elective with the permission of the instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Four advanced courses (12 credits) in French language, literature, or culture at the 400 level or above

Two electives (6 credits) to be chosen among the following:

  • RL 210 French Composition, Conversation, and Reading II
  • Additional courses at the 300 or 400 level
  • RL 572 Comparative Development of the Romance Languages
  • RL 597 Foreign Language Pedagogy
  • RL 210 French Composition, Conversation, and Reading II can be taken for elective credit as the first course in the major.
  • Only one course (3 credits) may be in English.

Senior Year Requirement: All majors must take one advanced course (3 credits) each semester of their senior year.

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Minor in French

Requirements: Six 3-credit courses (18 credits)

 
Two foundation courses (6 credits) to be chosen from among the following:
  • RL 305 Introduction to Drama and Poetry
  • RL 306 Introduction to Narrative Forms
  • RL 307 Masterpieces of French Literature
  • RL 308 Advanced Language Studies in French
  • RL 309 Topics in French Culture and Civilization
  • One advanced course (3 credits) at the 400 or 700 level.
  • Three electives (9 credits) to be chosen among the following:
    • RL 209-RL 210 French Composition, Conversation, and Reading I and II (as entry-level courses only)
    • Additional courses at the 300 or 400 level

Senior Year Requirement: All minors must take one advanced course (3 credits) during a single semester of their senior year.

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Major in Hispanic Studies

Requirements: Ten 3-credit (30 credits) courses that must include the following:

  • RL 395 Contextos (3 credits)
  • Four 600-level advanced courses (12 credits) in literature and culture, which must include one course (3 credits) in each of the following categories:
    • Pre-1800 Peninsular literature and culture
    • Pre-1900 Latin American literature and culture
    • Post-1800 Peninsular literature and culture
    • Post-1900 Latin American literature and culture
  • Five electives (15 credits), which can be chosen from among the following:
    • RL 216 Spanish Conversation, Composition, and Reading II
    • Any 300 level course
    • Any 600 level course
    • Related courses allowed by departmental permission
    • Only one course (3 credits) may be in English.

Senior Year Requirement: All majors must take one advanced course (3 credits) each semester of their senior year.

Note the following conditions:

Students enter the major at a point appropriate to their level of linguistic proficiency. The earliest point at which a student can begin the major is RL 216 Spanish Conversation, Composition, and Reading II.

The prerequisite for all 600-level courses (and above) is the linguistic proficiency level of RL 392 Naturalmente or equivalent. Once the student has completed RL 395, all subsequent courses must be at the 600-level.

Only one course may be in English.

Maximum transfer credit from study abroad: Fifteen (15) credits (five courses) for one year of study; nine (9) credits (three courses) for one semester of study. If three or more courses (9 credits) for the major are transferred from study abroad, then all other courses must be taken in the Department.

Students who do not study abroad are allowed a maximum of two related courses (6 credits) outside the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

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Minor in Hispanic Studies

Requirements: Six 3-credit courses (18 credits) that must include RL 395 Contextos (3 credits) and at least two courses (6 credits) at the 600-level.

Note the following conditions:

The prerequisite for all 600-level courses (and above) is the linguistic proficiency level of Naturalmente or equivalent. Once the student has completed RL 395, all subsequent courses must be at the 600-level.

Minimum entry level for the minor is RL 216 Spanish Conversation, Composition, and Reading II.

Senior Year Requirement: All minors must take one advanced course (3 credits) during a single semester of their senior year.

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Major in Italian

Requirements: Ten 3-credit courses (30 credits)

  • Six advanced courses (18 credits) in Italian literature, culture, and civilization (RL 500 or above or the equivalent)
  • Two electives (6 credits) to be chosen from 300, 500, or 800 level courses
  • RL 213 and 214 Italian Conversation, Composition, and Reading I and II (6 credits) (or the equivalent).
  • Only one course (3 credits) may be in English.

Senior Year Requirement: All majors must take one advanced course (3 credits) each semester of their senior year.

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Minor in Italian

Requirements: Six 3-credit courses (18 credits)

  • Two foundation courses (6 credits): RL 213 and RL 214 Italian Composition, Conversation, and Reading I and II (or the equivalent)
  • Two advanced courses (6 credits) in Italian literature or culture at the RL 500 level or above (for undergraduates)
  • Two electives (6 credits): RL 300 (or above) courses in culture, or approved course taken abroad.

Senior Year Requirement: All minors must take one advanced course (3 credits) during a single semester of their senior year.

For further information or to declare a major or minor, please contact the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, Lyons 304, 617-552-3820.

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General Information

The major curriculum is designed to help students attain a high linguistic proficiency in at least one Romance language and broad insight into the literature and culture of other nations. Graduates with Romance Languages and Literatures degrees are currently employed in many different fields including law, interpreting, and international business. For students interested in graduate studies, the major offers solid preparation and guidance.

Students who plan to major or minor in Romance Languages and Literatures should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Department in order to be assigned an advisor, review their qualifications and placement within the program, and organize a course of study suited to their individual needs and objectives.

Romance Languages and Literatures majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad and may do so through Boston College programs or other programs approved by the Office of International Programs. Upon approval from the Department, students abroad typically take five classes per semester. They may earn credit in the major program for three courses in a single semester of study abroad and five courses in a year-long program. Minors may earn credit for two courses in a single semester and three courses in a year-long program.

All majors are required to enroll in two advanced literature courses during their senior year. Minors must enroll in one advanced course in either semester of senior year.

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Information for First Year Majors and Non-Majors

Students planning to major in Romance Languages and Literatures, to study abroad during their junior year, and to apply for graduate work or Graduate Fulbright Scholarships are encouraged to place themselves in advanced-level language courses in French, Italian, and Spanish as first-year students. Students should place themselves initially in the most challenging course they can handle, and adjustments in scheduling can be made if necessary. The department carefully organizes a program to suit each student's individual needs and objectives.

Students who have not already fulfilled the language proficiency requirement through an achievement or advanced placement test should sign up for an appropriate language course. Refer to the requirements for the A&S degree programs found in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog. Placement tests in French and Spanish are available online.

The Department offers courses, some taught in the target languages and some in English, which count for University Core requirements and for elective credit in the major. Students interested in advancing their major credits at the early stages of their careers are encouraged to consider these Core courses.

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Core Offerings: Literature and Cultural Diversity

All the courses offered in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures propose an exploration of the culture and literature in countries around the world where French, Italian, and Spanish are spoken. In addition, the department has created a number of courses for inclusion in the Arts and Sciences Core in Literature and Cultural Diversity designed especially to meet the needs of non-specialists.

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Literature Core

Core offerings, whether in the target language or in translation, are distinctive in several important ways. The department is committed to reading literary texts in their fullest linguistic, artistic, and cultural context. Literature Core courses offer majors and non-majors alike the opportunity to read great books with the guidance of a teacher sensitive to their original language. Even in courses given in English, qualified students may decide to read texts in the original language. Comparative literature courses introduce students to the interplay of literary forms and themes across national boundaries. In order to achieve an intimate understanding of the texts studied, all Core courses propose close reading and thorough discussion of a limited number of texts.

For a list of courses that will satisfy the Literature Core requirement, visit www.bc.edu/core.

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Cultural Diversity Core

In addition to their focus on the languages, literatures and cultures of western Europe, the course offerings of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures also take into account the presence of Hispanic and Francophone cultures in the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. Students can choose from a number of courses that focus on these cultures in order to satisfy the Cultural Diversity Core requirement.

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The Departmental Honors Program

The Honors Program offers its majors a unique opportunity to conduct research and write a thesis on a topic of their choice, under the guidance of a faculty member in the department. Students admitted into the program will work throughout the senior year with their Thesis Director.

To be eligible, candidates must be declared majors in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures with a grade point average of 3.4 or higher. No more than 9 credits must remain for completion of the major in their senior year. Candidates must also have exhibited the maturity and self-discipline that long-term independent work requires.

Faculty members will nominate students for the Honors Program in April of their junior year. Nominated students will be invited to meet with the Program Coordinator during the semester preceding their enrollment in the program. The final decision about acceptance into the program will be made during the first week of registration.

For complete details, please read the RLL Honors Program Guidelines. After consulting the guidelines, interested students should contact their current RLL instructor to inquire about nomination to the program.

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Study Abroad Guidelines and Policies

Romance Languages and Literatures students should be aware that not all study-abroad programs available to Boston College students will have courses acceptable toward the major or minor. No RLL credit will be granted for courses conducted in English. Credit is not automatically granted for courses taken in the target language. Courses must show a direct relationship to the student's program of study in the department.

Students are urged to gain approval for specific courses from the Department's study-abroad advisor before departing. Students who seek approval only after they return from abroad risk not getting Romance Languages and Literatures credit for study-abroad courses. Final approval of courses taken abroad requires the signature of the Department's study-abroad advisor on the Approval Forms available from the Office of International Programs in Hovey House.

To schedule appointments with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, contact the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, Lyons 304, 617-552-3820.

Transfer of Credit from Study Abroad

RLL majors may earn credit for up to three courses (9 credits) toward their major in a single semester of study abroad, and credit for up to five courses (15 credits) in a year-long program.

RLL minors may earn credit for up to two courses (6 credits) toward their minor in a single semester of study abroad, and credit for up to three courses (9 credits) in a year-long program.

Applying for Study Abroad

To obtain information on programs, and to apply, please contact the Office of International Programs located in Hovey House, 617-552-3827.

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