Romance Languages and Literatures

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 international culture and literature in the target language. The major offers solid preparation and guidance for students interested in teaching or in graduate studies and serves as an important foundation for work in many diverse fields such as law, medicine, interpreting, politics, publishing, and international business, to name only a few. The minor is a strong complement to other major programs at Boston College, offering linguistic proficiency as well as the analytic fundamentals of written and visual culture. To learn of the, in fact, numerous areas of employment in which mastery of a second language and culture gives you valuable, necessary skills and, indeed, a competitive edge, see Foreign Language Careers.

Unless otherwise stated, all courses are taught in the target language.

French Studies

A French Studies major assures exceptional competence in French, allowing students to work extensively and closely with literary and cultural artifacts that language makes possible. Building on their linguistic proficiency consolidated in the language program, majors expand that proficiency to a wide variety of French texts. This training exercises and assures our students' ability to analyze texts and contexts, as well as to conceive, articulate, and defend an original idea.

French Studies minors reap similar benefits, albeit to a lesser extent, by attaining linguistic proficiency and taking at least two 4000-level courses.

Language Courses for the Major and Minor

Students begin the program at the level most appropriate for their linguistic proficiency. Contact Prof. Andrea Javel (andrea.javel@bc.edu) for guidance about placement.

French Studies majors and minors may begin their program with Conversation, Composition and Reading I (FREN2209) or II (FREN2210).

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Hispanic Studies

A Hispanic Studies major assures exceptional competence in Spanish, allowing students to work extensively and closely with literary and cultural artifacts that language makes possible. Building on their linguistic proficiency consolidated in the language program, majors expand that proficiency to a wide variety of Hispanic texts. This training exercises and assures our students' ability to analyze texts and contexts, as well as to conceive, articulate, and defend an original idea.

Hispanic Studies minors reap similar benefits, albeit to a lesser extent, by attaining linguistic proficiency and taking at least two 6000-level courses.

Language Courses for the Major and Minor

Students begin the program at the level most appropriate for their linguistic proficiency. Advanced, heritage, and native speakers of Spanish should seek advisement to determine where to enter the program from Professor Adela Penagos (adela.penagos@bc.edu).

Non-native Spanish speaking majors and minors may begin the program with Conversation, Composition and Reading II (SPAN2216) or Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392). Strong students who have taken Conversation, Composition and Reading II (SPAN2216) are not required to take Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392), but may do so if appropriate.

Note that linguistic proficiency equivalent to Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) is a prerequisite for Contextos: Introduction to Literary Analysis in Spanish (SPAN3395), and Contextos is a prerequisite for all upper-level courses (SPAN6000 and above).

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Italian Studies

An Italian Studies major assures exceptional competence in Italian, allowing students to work extensively and closely with literary and cultural artifacts that language makes possible. Building on their linguistic proficiency consolidated in the language program, majors expand that proficiency to a wide variety of Italian texts. This training exercises and assures our students' ability to analyze texts and contexts, as well as to conceive, articulate, and defend an original idea.

Italian Studies minors reap similar benefits, albeit to a lesser extent, by attaining linguistic proficiency and taking at least two advanced courses.

Language Courses for the Major and Minor

Students begin the program at the level most appropriate for their linguistic proficiency. For advisement about elementary and intermediate level placement, contact Prof. Brian O’Connor (oconnobc@bc.edu). For advisement at the post-intermediate level, contact Prof. Mattia Acetoso (acetoso@bc.edu).

Italian Studies majors and minors may begin their program with Conversation, Composition and Reading I (ITAL2213) or II (ITAL2214).

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Study Abroad Guidelines and Policies

Majors and minors in French, Hispanic Studies, and Italian are encouraged to study abroad. Interested students should consult with the appropriate program director in the Office of International Programs.

No RLL credit will be granted for courses taken abroad conducted in English, except for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty (in which case a maximum of three credits are 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 order to earn credit in an RLL major or minor, courses must be in the target language, show a direct relationship to the student's program of study in the department, and have a level of sophistication comparable to departmental offerings. Students are encouraged to seek credit for courses in other disciplines, such as (but not limited to) economics, political science, communications, and history, from appropriate Boston College departments.

Students are urged to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies for pre-approval of any courses they would like to transfer into a major or minor in French, Hispanic Studies, or Italian. This should happen before departure or on-site abroad before enrollment. Students who seek approval only after they return from abroad risk not receiving Romance Languages and Literatures credit for courses taken abroad. Upon return, students should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to obtain the appropriate signed forms.

To schedule an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, contact the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, Lyons 304, 617-552-3820; rll@bc.edu.

For further information about Study Abroad requirements, please consult our department website.

Transfer of Credit from Study Abroad

Romance Languages and Literatures 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 two-semester program. Courses must be related to textual and cultural analysis and must be in the target language. Majors who transfer 9 credits or more (three 3-credit courses) from study abroad into their RL&L major must take their remaining courses in the department.

Romance Languages and Literatures 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. Courses must be related to textual and cultural analysis and must be in the target language.

For more detailed information about study abroad credit transfer, visit the Romance Languages and Literatures Study Abroad web page.

For further information or to declare a major or minor, please contact the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, Lyons 304; rll@bc.edu.

Getting Started

Students who plan to major or minor in Romance Languages and Literatures should consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies to review their qualifications, establish correct placement in the program, and organize a course of study suited to their individual needs and objectives.

Information for First-year Majors and Non-majors

Students considering a major or minor in Romance Languages and Literatures are welcome to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss how the program might relate to and enhance their career and life objectives (rll@bc.edu).

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 Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences degree programs found in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog. Placement tests in French and Spanish are available.

The RLL Department offers courses, some taught in the target languages and some in English, that satisfy University Core requirements and also earn credit in the major or minor. Students interested in advancing their major credits at the early stages of their Boston College careers are encouraged to take these Core courses.

Core Offerings: Literature and Cultural Diversity

All the courses offered in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures explore the culture and literature of 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 Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences Core, both Literature and Cultural Diversity, which are designed for non-specialists.

Literature Core

Core offerings, whether in the target language or in translation, treat texts in their full linguistic, artistic, and cultural contexts. Literature Core courses offer students close exposure to great narrative arts, whether visual or written, under the guidance of a professor sensitive to their original language. Comparative literature courses introduce students to the interplay of artistic 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 satisfy the Literature Core requirement, visit www.bc.edu/core.

Cultural Diversity Core

The curriculum of Romance Languages and Literatures offers courses that treat the cultures of people around the world who speak French, Spanish and Italian, including western Europe as well as 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.

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

The Departmental Honors Program

The Honors Program offers RLL 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 available on the Romance Languages and Literatures website. After consulting the guidelines, interested students should contact their current RLL instructor to inquire about nomination to the program.

Undergraduate Research Positions

Departmental faculty regularly obtain university funding for undergraduate majors and minors to work on research projects with them during a set number of hours per week. Interested students should contact their current professor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.