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Novels. Film. Literary Theory. Poetry. Short Stories.

Explore It All and More at BU

French & Spanish Graduate Programs

The Department of Romance Studies provides students a challenging and intellectually stimulating curriculum that prepares them with a nuanced and global understanding of today’s world. Through rigorous training, our students learn a mastery of language, literature, and visual cultural productions in a global context, as well as the skilled application of a variety of research methodologies and theoretical perspectives. Our graduates are capable of understanding, interpreting, and explaining a wide variety of “texts”, both written and visual, making them uniquely positioned to provide deep insights into cultures around the globe

We prepare our alumni for careers in the humanities as teachers and scholars whose knowledge can serve in college and university instruction and research, as well in a wide variety of other institutions with international reach. As our world becomes smaller, the understanding of past and present works of literature, film, and visual culture can help us to understand the new global world of today and tomorrow.

The PhD programs in Romance Studies

Our PhD programs, open to those who hold a BA or an MA, are supported by generous five-year fellowships. They offer depth of expertise, individualized attention, abundant opportunities for professional development, and world-class resources in one of the United States’ most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities. Boston has been ranked the “Best Student City” in the U.S. and one of the top ten in the world.

We offer doctoral programs in the literatures and cultures of France and the Francophone world and Spain and the Hispanic world. Our faculty provide expertise in the literatures, films, and other cultural productions of a range of regions and time periods, including modern Francophone Africa, Golden Age Spain, 19th and early 20th-century Spain, Iberian modernist studies, fin-de-siècle Mexico, medieval France, the contemporary Caribbean, 21st century French cinema, colonial era Latin America, and many others.

BU’s Romance Studies Department boasts particular strengths in interdisciplinary approaches to literature and film, and we are committed to existing trends of thought as well as emerging fields within the Humanities and beyond. 

We offer courses on methodologically diverse subjects in literature, film, and visual and material culture. Students explore a wide range of topics, including globalization, migration and exile, Holocaust studies, Latino studies, literary theory, gender studies, modernist studies, the avant-garde, Meso-american studies, post-Marxist thought and cultural theory, queer theory, transatlantic studies, translation, and more.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Our commitment to interdisciplinary studies shows in the certificate programs available to our graduate students in Linguistics; Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies; African Studies, and other fields. Within the Romance Studies Department, we provide our students with rigorous training and broad experience in teaching, and our students can choose to complete a Certificate in Teaching Language, Literature, and Film.

A Dynamic, Supportive Community

At BU Romance Studies, you’ll be joining an active, close-knit community of students and faculty. Our department prides itself on the small size of our graduate level classes and our personal and holistic approach to advising doctoral students.  Our pedagogy faculty carefully prepare students for teaching and support them throughout their time teaching classes at BU.

Romance Studies graduate students are active both in the broader academic realm and in developing enriching activities for our community at BU. Our students present their work at a wide range of conferences both within the United States and internationally in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Sweden, and other places. At BU, our students organize an annual Francophone film festival as well as a graduate student conference each spring that attracts participants from across the country, and internationally as well.

Boston University’s support for doctoral students extends beyond the Romance Studies Department. The university’s Educational Resource Center sponsors a dissertation writing support program to assist doctoral students throughout the dissertation writing process. The Provost’s Office at BU provides robust support for professional development of our doctoral students, with workshops and other events to help students develop the skills to plan and launch their career.

The Broader Community

With its many colleges and universities, the city of Boston offers an uncommonly rich environment for graduate study. Our students are encouraged to pursue cross-disciplinary projects across Boston University and beyond.

BU boasts a robust set of regional and thematic studies centers that constantly host visiting filmmakers and authors, philosophers and musicians, diplomats and statesmen. Our sister department, World Languages & Literatures, in cooperation with Romance Studies faculty, supports a Translation Seminar that has organized a series of lectures on translation annually since 1978.

Other institutes and organizations at BU and in the wider community, including the BU Center for the Humanities, the Alliance Français, the Instituto Cervantes, and the consulates of 14 Romance language countries contribute a plethora of events and activities to invigorate and enrich our students’ experience.  Our departmental events calendar demonstrates the richness and diversity of activities available to members of our community.

Links between BU and other Boston area academic enterprises expand the resources available to our students in a variety of ways. Our students are able to take courses in the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies (GCWS), based at MIT, which offers classes for credit in women’s and gender studies taught by various professors in the Boston area. Additionally, BU maintains cross-registration agreements that enable our students to take graduate level classes at nearby Boston College and Tufts University. And Boston University’s participation in the Boston Library Consortium opens to our students access to the resources of 19 academic research libraries in New England.

Our Alumni

You can find our PhDs on the tenure track and in tenured positions at major universities from the Universidad de Chile to Yale University. Recent grads have held fellowships with the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies) and the UN, and they continue to play leading roles in career pathways at national cultural institutions in the United States and abroad. Other alumni have become noted poets, novelists, and human rights activists.

Learn More

Graduate Administrative Contacts

Photo of Odile Cazenave

Odile Cazenave

Director of Graduate Studies, Head of French Section, Professor of French