The Department of Romance Languages offers courses in French, Italian, and Spanish language, literature, and culture. In addition to focusing on developing students’ fluency in the languages, the department provides students with a broad understanding of the cultures and literatures of the French-speaking, Italian-speaking, and Spanish-speaking worlds through a curriculum designed to prepare students for teaching, international work, or graduate study. Native speakers are involved in most language courses. Unless otherwise indicated, all courses are conducted in the respective language.
A period of study in an appropriate country, usually in the junior year, is strongly encouraged for all students of language. Bowdoin College is affiliated with a wide range of excellent programs abroad, and interested students should seek the advice of a member of the department early in their sophomore year to select a program and to choose courses that complement the offerings at the College.
This is an option primarily intended for students who are working on honors projects. It is also available to students who have taken advantage of the regular course offerings and wish to work more closely on a particular topic. Independent study is not an alternative to regular course work. An application should be made to a member of the department prior to the semester in which the project is to be undertaken and must involve a specific proposal in an area in which the student can already demonstrate knowledge.
Honors in Romance Languages
Majors may elect to write an honors project in the department. This involves two semesters of independent study in the senior year and the writing of an honors essay and its defense before a committee of members of the department. Candidates for departmental honors must have an outstanding record in other courses in the department.