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Romance Languages and Literatures

morrissey college of arts and sciences

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Undergraduate Program Description

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 extensive 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. 

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

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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 4400-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 Composition, Conversation and Reading II (FREN2210) is an approved entry level course for the French Studies major and minor.

 

French Studies Major Requirements

30 Credits (Ten 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

12 credits (four 3-credit foundation courses) to be chosen from among the following:

  • FREN3305 Introduction to Drama and Poetry
  • FREN3306 Introduction to Narrative Forms
  • FREN3307 Masterpieces of French Literature
  • FREN3308 Advanced Language Studies in French
  • FREN3309 Topics in French Culture and Civilization

Students may repeat a semester of FREN3307, FREN3308, or FREN3309 as an elective with departmental permission

12 credits (four advanced courses) in French language, literature, or culture at the 4400 level or above.

6 credits (two elective courses) to be chosen among the following:

  • FREN2210 French Composition, Conversation and Reading II (as entry level course only)
  • Additional courses at the 3300 or 4400 level in French
  • Related courses with departmental permission

Notes and Conditions

  • French majors are required to enroll in at least one advanced course each semester of their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the ten-course requirement for the major (4400 level or above).
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the major.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a major: 15 credits (five 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 9 credits (three 3-credit courses) for one semester of study. No RLL credit will be granted for courses abroad conducted in English taken during a semester or academic year program.
  • Credit toward the French Studies major will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in French; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of French-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.
  • Students who transfer 9 credits (three 3-credit courses) or more from study abroad must take their remaining courses towards the major in the department.
  • Students who do not study abroad may take up to two courses related to their major program of study outside the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, with departmental permission.
  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

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French Studies Minor Requirements

18 Credits (Six 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

6 credits (two foundation courses) to be chosen from among the following:

  • FREN3305 Introduction to Drama and Poetry
  • FREN3306 Introduction to Narrative Form
  • FREN3307 Masterpieces of French Literature
  • FREN3308 Advanced Language Studies in French
  • FREN3309 Topics in French Culture and Civilization

3 credits (one advanced course) at the 4400 or 7700 level

9 credits (three elective courses) to be chosen among the following:

  • FREN2209 and FREN2210 French Composition, Conversation and Reading I and II (as entry level courses only)
  • Additional Courses at the 3300 or 4400 level in French

Notes and Conditions

  • French Studies minors must enroll in at least one advanced course during their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the six-course requirement for the minor.
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the minor.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a minor: 9 credits (three approved 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 6 credits (two approved 3-credit courses) for one semester of study
  • Credit toward the French Studies major will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in French; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of French-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.

o   All courses for the French minor will normally be in French, though one relevant course taught in English may be counted toward the minor with permission from the French Section.

  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Undergraduate studies in consultation with the French section.

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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. Post-intermediate, advanced and native speakers should seek advisement from the department to determine where to enter the program.

Conversation, Composition and Reading II (SPAN2216) and Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) are approved entry-level courses for the Hispanic Studies major and minor. 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 (SPAN3395), and Contextos (SPAN3395) is a prerequisite for all upper-level courses (SPAN6000 and above).

Hispanic Studies Major Requirements

30 Credits (Ten 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

3 credits (one course) in SPAN3395 Contextos

12 credits (four advanced courses) at the 6000 level in literature and culture, which must include at least one course in each of the following categories:

  • Pre-1800 Peninsular literature and culture
  • Pre-1900 Latin American literature and culture
  • Post-1800 Peninsular literature and culture
  • Post-1900 Latin American literature and culture

15 credits (five elective courses), which may be chosen from:

  • SPAN2216 Spanish Composition, Conversation and Reading II (as entry-level course only)
  • SPAN3392 Advanced Spanish
  • Additional courses at the 3000 or 6000 level in Hispanic Studies
  • Related courses with departmental permission

Notes and Conditions

  • Hispanic Studies majors are required to enroll in at least one 6000 level course during their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the ten-course requirement for the major.
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the major.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a major: 15 credits (five 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 9 credits (3 three-credit courses) for one semester of study. No RLL credit will be granted for courses abroad conducted in English taken during a semester or academic year program.
  • Credit toward the Hispanic Studies major will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in Spanish; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of Spanish-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.
  • Students who transfer 9 credits (three 3-credit courses) or more from study abroad must take their remaining courses towards the major in the department.
  • Students who have taken SPAN3392, Advanced Spanish, will not receive credit for language or proficiency-building courses taken abroad.
  • Students who do not study abroad may take up to two courses related to their major program of study outside the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, with departmental permission.
  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

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Hispanic Studies Minor Requirements

18 Credits (Six 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

3 credits (one course): SPAN3395 Contextos

6 credits (two advanced courses) at the 6000 level in literature and culture

9 credits (three elective courses), which can be chosen from: 

  • SPAN2216 Spanish Composition, Conversation and Reading II (as entry-level course only)
  • SPAN3392 Advanced Spanish
  • Additional courses at the 6000 level in Hispanic Studies

Notes and Conditions

  • Hispanic Studies minors must enroll in at least one advanced course (6000 level) during their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the six-course requirement for the minor.
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the minor.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a minor: 9 credits (three approved 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 6 credits (two approved 3-credit courses) for one semester of study.
  • Credit toward the Hispanic Studies major will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in Spanish; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of Spanish-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.
  • Students who have taken SPAN3392, Advanced Spanish, will not receive credit for grammar or proficiency courses taken abroad.
  • All courses for the Hispanic Studies minor will normally be in Spanish, though one relevant course taught in English may be counted toward the minor with permission from the Hispanic Studies Section.
  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by- case basis by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Hispanic Studies section.

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 Conversation, Composition and Reading II (ITAL2214).

Italian Studies Major Requirements

30 Credits (Ten 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

18 credits (six advanced courses) in Italian literature or culture (5000 level and above)

12 credits (four elective courses) to be chosen from the following:

  • ITAL2213 and ITAL2214 (Italian Conversation, Composition and Reading I and I, as entry-level courses only)
  • Additional courses at the 3000, 5000 or 8000 level.
  • Related courses with departmental permission.

Notes and Conditions

  • An Advanced Placement (AP) high school course in Italian with an exam score of 4 or 5 will count as a 3-credit elective.
  • Italian Studies majors are required to enroll in at least one advanced course each semester of their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the ten-course requirement for the major (5000 level and above).
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the major.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a major: 15 credits (five 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 9 credits (three 3-credit courses) for one semester of study. No RLL credit will be granted for courses abroad conducted in English taken during a semester or academic year program.
  • Credit toward the Italian Studies major will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in Italian; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of Italian-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.
  • Students who transfer 9 credits (3 three-credit courses) or more from study abroad must take their remaining courses towards the major in the department.
  • Students who do not study abroad may take up to two courses related to their major program of study outside the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, with departmental permission.
  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

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Italian Studies Minor Requirements

18 Credits (Six 3-Credit Courses), Which Must Include:

6 credits (two foundation courses): ITAL2213 and ITAL2214 (Italian Composition, Conversation and Reading I and II)

6 credits (two advanced courses) in Italian Literature or Culture at the 5000 level or above (courses for undergraduates)

6 credits (elective courses) in Italian Literature or Culture at the 3000 level or above

Notes and Conditions

  • An Advanced Placement (AP) high school course in Italian with an exam score of 4 or 5 will count as a 3-credit elective.
  • 1-credit practicum courses do not count for the minor.
  • Italian Studies minors must enroll in one advanced course (6000 level) during their senior year, regardless of whether they have completed the six-course requirement for the minor.
  • Maximum transfer credit from study abroad toward a minor: 9 credits (three approved 3-credit courses) for one year of study; 6 credits (two approved 3-credit courses) for one semester of study.
  • Credit toward the Italian Studies minor will be granted for courses taken abroad
    (1) conducted in Italian; (2) of a sophistication and level of expectations appropriate for our program; (3) directly related to analysis of Italian-speaking peoples’ cultural production. Students taking courses in other disciplines are encouraged to seek credit for those courses in the appropriate departments.
  • All courses for the Italian Studies minor will normally be in Italian, though one relevant course taught in English may be counted toward the minor with permission from the Italian Studies Section.
  • Approval for summer courses taught by Boston College faculty, including courses abroad, will be granted on a case-by- case basis by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Italian Studies section.

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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 (617-552-3827).

No RLL credit will be granted for courses taken abroad conducted in English.

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

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 foreign study credit transfer, see our web page: https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/schools/mcas/departments/romance-languages/undergraduate-programs/study-abroad.html

For further information or to declare a major or minor, please contact the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, Lyons 304, 617-552-3820.

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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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Cultural Diversity Core

The curriculum of Romance Languages and Literatures offers students 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.

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The Departmental Honors Program

The Honors Program offers RL&L 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 our website. After consulting the guidelines, interested students should contact their current RLL instructor to inquire about nomination to the program.

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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.

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