Minor in Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies

The minor in Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies is for students who seek to become proficient in Portuguese, the world’s sixth most widely spoken language, and to acquire a good grasp of Brazilian culture and Brazil’s historical, political, economic, literary, and artistic importance around the world, especially in Latin America.

For students beginning their study of Portuguese at Boston University, the minor builds on four prerequisite terms of language work (CAS LP 111–212 or equivalent). Minors take two additional 300-level language-focus courses; they study the historical roots and contemporary expressions of Brazilian literature/film/culture in Portuguese; and, in consultation with their minor advisor, they choose additional courses with a focus on Brazil or another Portuguese-speaking region such as Portugal, Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, East Timor, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea from an approved roster that includes offerings in African American studies, anthropology, economics, film, history, history of art & architecture, international relations, Latin American literature in Spanish, music, and political science. Students entering BU with some prior study of Portuguese join the prerequisite sequence at the appropriate level or proceed directly to the minor, based on placement test results. Native and other advanced speakers of Portuguese work with their minor advisor to design and gain approval for pathways where courses on Brazil and other parts of the Portuguese-speaking world may be substituted for the minor’s two language-focus courses.

An enriching complement to closely related majors such as Spanish, International Relations, and Latin American Studies, the minor in Portuguese & Brazilian Cultural Studies also leads to enhanced post-graduate academic and career opportunities for students majoring in any liberal arts and sciences or professional field. Brazil’s emergence as a regional power and global leader among developing countries has intensified demand for culturally competent speakers of Portuguese, and recent BU graduates have gone on to use their Portuguese language skills in workplaces ranging from the airline industry to investment banking to software engineering and social media development.


Six 4-unit courses with a grade of C or higher. With advisor’s approval, students may include up to three transfer courses from other colleges, universities, or non-BU study abroad programs. At least three courses must be taken on the Charles River Campus.

  1. Up to two language-focused courses numbered CAS LP 300–309 (unless equivalent proficiency is shown, in which case the minor advisor will determine appropriate substitute courses).
  2. Two courses taught in Portuguese on Brazilian literature and culture (courses can also include components of Portuguese literature): CAS LP 350 and CAS LP 352.
  3. Two additional courses with a focus on Brazil or another Portuguese-speaking country (to be chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor from relevant offerings in the humanities, arts, and social sciences).

Placement Examination

A placement test is required of all students whose most recent course in Portuguese was taken in high school or at a college other than Boston University and who wish to continue their study of this language here. Information about the placement test is available in the Department of Romance Studies and on the department website.