Department of Romance Studies

The Department of Romance Studies focuses its research and teaching on the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese) and on their literatures and cultures, including Latin America and the Francophone world. It also co-sponsors several joint majors, combining French, Italian, or Spanish with Linguistics. (A major and minor in Linguistics, and several additional joint Linguistics majors, are also available through the Linguistics Program.) Language/literature and language/linguistics majors may combine their coursework with study abroad and international internships and acquire insight into other cultures and into the nature of language. The BA prepares students for the encounter with cultural difference in an increasingly global workplace.

Divisional Studies Requirements

Please refer to the Divisional Studies section of the Bulletin for information on Romance languages courses that meet the College of Arts & Sciences Divisional Studies requirements.

Majors and Minors in Romance Studies

Majors and minors are offered in French, Italian, Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies (minor only), and Spanish. Joint majors in French & Linguistics, Italian & Linguistics, and Spanish & Linguistics are also available. Language and literature majors frequently prepare themselves for careers or advanced study in international relations, education, journalism, and teaching; language and linguistics majors also receive training that may be useful for information technology, psychology, communications, philosophy, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. Students in premedical and prelaw programs find the major and minor in language and literature or linguistics a satisfying way to broaden their programs of study.


The department encourages students, whatever their major, to obtain the greatest benefit from their foreign language requirement by pursuing a minor in their chosen language. Advanced courses increase proficiency in that language, present the great works and epochs of the literature, and acquaint students with the contemporary culture and with that culture’s roots in the past. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses taken toward the minor. Students plan a minor program with their advisor, consisting ordinarily of six courses in their language or literature. Minors are available in French, Italian, and Spanish. Internships taken during Boston University’s or other study abroad programs may not be credited toward minors offered by the department. Most minors have specific course requirements; these are detailed on the related pages for each Romance Studies minor offered (see Programs).

College of Arts & Sciences Language Requirement

Detailed information is available in the Foreign Language section of this Bulletin. Several options are available for students who must fulfill the college language requirement. Information concerning these options is listed for each language.

Courses in Other Departments and Programs

Students are encouraged to consult the offerings of the Linguistics Program and the Departments of World Languages & Literatures, Classical Studies, and English.

Geddes Language Center

The Geddes Language Center, on the fifth floor of 685 Commonwealth Avenue, includes language laboratories, specially equipped classrooms, studios, theaters, workspaces, production facilities, and libraries of audiovisual materials. Use of these facilities is required for many courses and is assigned for supplementary work in other courses.

Foreign Language Specialty Residences

French, Italian, and Spanish Specialty Communities enable majors, minors, and students taking courses in one of these languages to use the language daily and to strengthen their knowledge of the language and culture of the countries. La Maison Française is located at 153 Bay State Road; the Carlos and Velia Tosi Casa Italiana at 193 Bay State Road; and La Casa Hispánica at 188–190 Bay State Road.

Boston University Study Abroad Programs in Buenos Aires, Burgos, Geneva, Grenoble, Madrid, Padua, Paris, and Quito

These programs feature intensive language courses as well as literature, film, civilization, and other courses. Detailed information is available from BU’s Study Abroad and Internship Programs.