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.
The graduate curriculum offers broad coverage of French, Francophone, Iberian, Latin American, and Italian literatures. Survey courses are interspersed with seminars that are organized according to more specialized principles of research, such as author, theme, genre, or theoretical approach. Taking into account the many different ways that the study of literature has been pursued over the past two hundred years, graduate programs in RLL offer students an opportunity to explore literary, linguistic, and cultural phenomena relating to the Romance languages from a large number of traditional and contemporary perspectives, including film and media. An awareness of critical theory and the importance of history are essential aspects of our graduate programs; for this reason, students are strongly encouraged to take courses focused exclusively on theory as well as those that treat the history and philology of the Romance languages. With few exceptions, courses are taught in the target language.
The general aim of courses in the department is to combine the close, careful, analytical reading of major works of a Romance language with an appreciation of how and why the study of literature continues to occupy a privileged position for confronting the challenges of communication and understanding that necessarily underlie all the liberal arts and that are negotiated daily in every walk of life. In other words, the study of literature is the study of life.
The Office of Student Services Course Information and Schedule includes course descriptions, faculty, meeting times, and room assignments.
Graduate students in Arts and Sciences are also eligible to cross-register for one course per semester during the academic year (not including summer sessions) at any of the Boston-area consortium universities. Cross-registration in consortium courses is subject to the approval of the student’s BC academic advisor and the RLL Director of Graduate Studies.
As part of their training, each semester, M.A. students teach two sections of elementary or intermediate language (three-credit courses meeting three hours per week), under the close supervision of a language coordinator. Each year in late August before the start of the academic year, the department offers a two-day comprehensive Orientation Program for new Teaching Fellows, supplemented by one-day orientation programs offered by the BC Office of Graduate Student Life and the Connors Family Learning Center (held during the same week in August) and by additional RLL dept. workshops on foreign language pedagogy offered during the academic year.
The professional formation of students also includes a one-semester one-credit course,
RLRL 9990, "The Graduate Professional and Pedagogy Seminar," held during the Fall semester, representing a systematic introduction to issues of graduate student life and a preparation for a successful career. Presentations by members of the RLL faculty and other university officials include professional ethics, pedagogy, research methods, strategies for conference participation and scholarly publishing, the evolving role of critical theory, long-term career planning, as well as specific information on departmental requirements.
Students are also afforded direct experience (writing, editing, reviewing, etc.) in the realm of scholarly publication through participation in The Romance E-Review, the online Graduate Journal of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
They also gain direct experience of presenting papers at professional conferences through the annual RLL Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Conference completely organized by students in the department.
“The skills I developed through pursuing an MA at Boston College have been valuable at every step of my doctoral studies. One of the program's key strengths is its structure, which allows students to take a variety of courses on Latin American and Spanish literature from faculty who are well-recognized in their fields.”