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College of Arts and Sciences

Study Abroad

romance languages and literatures

Madrid Street Festival.
Madrid Street Festival. Photo by Dan Mouhot.

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures strongly encourages all of its students to study abroad, both to strengthen their linguistic skills and to benefit from the experience of living in another culture. Boston College offers a variety of study abroad options of specific interest to students studying French, Italian, or Spanish. For a general overview of semester and academic-year study abroad programs and to apply, visit the Office of International Programs located at Hovey House.

Guidelines and Policies on Study Abroad

Although most study-abroad courses can count towards the general elective requirement for graduation, students should be aware that not all the courses offered by study-abroad programs available to BC students are automatically acceptable toward the RLL major or minor or BC graduation requirements (e.g., fulfillment of the College's language proficiency requirement with study-abroad courses in French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese, which necessitate the approval of the RLL Department).

Students intending to study abroad are urged to gain approval for specific courses before departing. Students who seek approval only after they return from abroad risk not getting credit for study-abroad courses. Final approval of courses taken abroad requires the signature of the department's study-abroad advisor, Prof. Jeff Flagg. To obtain approval for courses, students must complete a Course Substitution form (available at Student Services, Lyons Hall, 1st floor or online) and bring it to the department for approval. Completed forms are to be returned to Student Services.

To schedule appointments with the RLL study-abroad advisor, Prof. Jeff Flagg, please contact the Dept. of Romance Languages Main Office, Lyons 304, telephone 617-552-3820, e-mail:

Please note: Approval for Core "Cultural Diversity" courses taken abroad are handled by the Office of the Associate Dean for the Core. "Lit Core" credit is not given for any study-abroad courses.

Transfer of Credit from Study Abroad

RLL majors may earn credit for up to three courses (nine 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 (six credits) toward their minor in a single semester of study abroad, and credit for up to three courses (nine credits) in a yearlong program.

No RLL credit will be granted for courses conducted in English, except for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty (in which case a maximum of three credits is transferrable). 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.

In approving study-abroad courses, the department will also determine the level of the courses in question with respect to RLL courses offered at BC (3000, 4000, etc.). In choosing courses abroad, students should keep in mind the following criteria:

  • 3000-level courses at BC advance the student's linguistic proficiency as their primary objective. They develop the ability to narrate and describe, emphasizing close work with primary texts. They have at least 38-42 hours of contact time and must include a formal written component or its equivalent.
  • 4000-level (French), 5000-level (Italian) and 6000-level (Hispanic Studies) courses develop a student's ability to think critically, articulate abstractions, and construct an intellectual argument about a text and its contexts. They have at least 38-42 hours of contact time and must include a substantial analytical written component or its equivalent.
  • In the case of Hispanic Studies, majors and minors who have completed SPAN3395 (Contextos) will receive credit only for courses taken abroad at the 6000-level.