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College of Arts and Sciences


romance languages and literatures

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers courses in French, Italian, and Spanish languages, as well as their corresponding literatures and cultures, at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Language Program

The language curriculum focuses on building communication skills and fostering progressive acquisition of proficiency in Romance languages while imparting a deep understanding of the varied, vibrant cultures that speak those languages. Each semester, the Department of Romance Language and Literatures offers language courses in French, Italian, and Spanish for students at all levels of proficiency and a year-long introductory sequence in Elementary Portuguese. From the first day of class, students are immersed in the target language, practicing essential speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills in a dynamic academic environment, and exposed to the cultures and literature of that language.

Undergraduate Majors and Minors

The undergraduate majors and minors in RLL are designed to help students attain a broad interdisciplinary insight into the literature and culture of other nations, while achieving a high linguistic proficiency in one or more Romance language. Students can major or minor in French, Hispanic Studies, or Italian and courses range from elementary language to advanced seminars in languages, literatures, and cultures. The major offers solid preparation and guidance for students interested in teaching or in graduate studies, as well in fields such as law, medicine, interpreting, and international business (see our Foreign Language Careers page). The minors serve as a useful adjunct to a wide range of academic specializations.

Graduate Program

The Romance Languages and Literatures department offers the Masters of Arts degree in French, Hispanic Studies, and Italian.

The two-year graduate curriculum encompasses a wide coverage of French, Francophone, Iberian, Latin American, and Italian literatures. Broad-based survey courses are interspersed with monographic or thematic seminars that often take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of literary texts, authors, themes, or other questions. Also included in the curriculum are courses on critical theory, the development of the Romance Languages, and foreign-language pedagogy. With few exceptions, courses are taught in the target language. Within certain parameters, students can also take related courses in other departments on campus.

Azores, Portugal
The Azores, Portugal, homeland of many Portuguese immigrants to New England (photo: Wikimedia Commons)