Romance Languages and Literatures
The M.A. Programs
The Department includes the fields of French and Francophone, Italian, and Hispanic (Peninsular and Spanish American) literatures and cultures. The Master of Arts degree is offered in French, Italian, and Hispanic Studies. The degree is meant to prepare students to enter doctoral programs, to teach one of the Romance languages, or to take up professional positions in other fields, such as general education, business, or publishing.
Deadlines and Prerequisites for Admission
The M.A. application is due on February 1. Students applying for admission to graduate degree programs in the Romance literatures must satisfy the following prerequisites: (1) a general coverage of their major literature at the undergraduate level; (2) a formal survey course or a sufficient number of courses more limited in scope; (3) at least four semesters of advanced work in period or general courses in the major literature. There is no GRE requirement for M.A. candidates. For complete information concerning the graduate programs, visit the Master of Arts Degree in French, Hispanic, or Italian Literature and Culture page.
Master of Arts Degree in French, Hispanic, or Italian Literature and Culture
- Thirty-one credits (i.e., ten courses) which includes ten RLL courses and the one-credit Professional and Pedagogical Seminar
- Completion of the Independent Research Project
- Graduate students must take whatever graduate courses are offered in their language section before they will be allowed to take courses in other language sections in the department, outside of the department, or another school within the Graduate Consortium.
- In any given semester, if their language section does not offer sufficient graduate courses, students may obtain credit by taking a graduate course in another section of the department or in another Boston College department, or in a graduate seminar taught in the target language at Boston University.
- Graduate students can only earn credit for graduate-level courses (“mixed level” courses open to both graduates and undergraduates are included in this category).
- Distribution Requirement in French: Each French student should endeavor to take at least one course from as many different areas of the curriculum as possible (Early Modern, nineteenth century, twentieth century, Francophone). The fulfillment of the Distribution Requirement is to be overseen and verified by the Faculty Advisor.
- Distribution Requirement in Hispanic Studies: Hispanic Studies students must take a minimum of nine credits in Peninsular Spanish and nine credits in Spanish American Literature.
- Distribution Requirement in Italian: Each semester the Italian section faculty offer two 8000-level graduate seminars (and/or 5000-level advanced courses open to graduate students and qualified undergraduates). M.A. students in Italian are required to take both of these 8000-level or 5000-level courses each semester.
- Entering M.A. students in French and Hispanic Studies are strongly encouraged to take FREN7704 Explication de texte, and SPAN9901 Advanced Textual Analysis in Spanish and/or SPAN9904 Topics in Advanced Literary Analysis, respectively, during their first year of graduate study.
- Students wishing to register for Graduate Consortium courses may do so in their second year of study, and must secure permission from their advisor as well as the Graduate Program Director prior to registration.
- Before registering for any and all courses before the start of each new semester, graduate students must have their course selection approved by their advisor, who will sign the appropriate departmental permission form.
Independent Research Project
- All M.A. candidates in French, Hispanic Studies, and Italian are required to complete the Independent Research Project (IRP) as part of their degree program. During the summer between their first and second years, M.A. students write a paper, in the target language, which represents a significant revision or extension of a paper written in a graduate course taken during the first two semesters of study. The candidate’s formal presentation of the paper will be made before the faculty of the section, again in the target language.
- In consultation with the faculty member whose course is at the origin of the project, the student will define a precise topic by the end of the second semester of the first year of study and before the summer break. That same faculty member in whose specialization the project falls will serve as the student’s IRP director, unless another faculty member with sufficient expertise agrees to assume that role. Students should also inform their academic advisors of their plans for the IRP.
- The principal work on the project will be carried out by the student over the summer between the first and second years, under the guidance of her/his IRP director.
- The paper should demonstrate critical competence in textual analysis, in developing and sustaining an argument, and in appropriate use of evidence and citation of sources. For further guidelines, please consult and follow the instructions contained in the RLL Department’s publication, “The Graduate Research Paper: An Essential Guide.” The IRP will also be judged by the “Learning Outcomes” established by the department for Masters of Arts students.
- The IRP should be between 20–25 pages in length, including bibliography.
- The IRP deadlines must be strictly adhered to. They are as follows: (1) May 15: IRP topics and outline must be finalized and approved by the IRP director; (2) August 15: first draft of the complete essay must be sent to the IRP director; (3) September 10: no later than this date, students must meet with director to discuss the IRP draft and receive feedback for completion of the final draft; (4) October 10: final draft of the IRP must be submitted to director; (5) November 1: final version of IRP must be submitted to all faculty members in their language section.
- The student who does not meet the November 1 deadline will not be allowed to continue with the IRP and will instead be obliged to take a written, comprehensive exam. This four-hour, Pass/Fail exam will take place in the spring semester (during the week following Spring Break) and will cover all of the student's completed courses.
- Successful completion of the IRP (or the written comprehensive exam) is required for the granting of the M.A. degree. The M.A. degree cannot be granted to those who do not complete a satisfactory IRP within established deadlines (or do not pass the written comprehensive exam in its place).
- Candidate will make a brief but formal presentation (in the target languages) of the finished IRP before the faculty of his/her section, followed by a discussion with the faculty. The dates of these presentations are to be determined by each section.
- The IRP will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.
- There will be a department-wide reception/celebration for all IRP writers in the spring semester, once all three sections have completed their formal presentation. On that occasion, students will deliver brief remarks about the process of developing, researching, and writing their IRPs.
- Students may apply for the departmental Sue Nyugen Research Travel Prize to engage in research, outside the U.S., related to their IRP. The best essays will be eligible to compete in the annual departmental Sue Nyugen Prize for Academic Excellence in Graduate Studies. Information about these two Nyugen prizes can be found on our Graduate Resources page.
Complete information on the Graduate Program is available on the department website: www.bc.edu/rll.