Requirements

Majors in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Students may declare a major in Francophone studies, Hispanic studies, Italian studies, or in Romance languages and literatures (with a concentration in two of the three areas: Francophone studies, Hispanic studies, and Italian Studies). All majors are expected to achieve breadth in their knowledge of the French-, Italian-, and/or Spanish-speaking worlds by taking courses on the literatures and cultures of these areas across all genres from the medieval period to the present, including at the 3000 level. Students should also take complementary courses in study-away programs or in other departments and programs.

Francophone Studies Major

Nine courses higher than FRS 2204 Intermediate French II, including: 

Required Courses a
FRS 2409Spoken Word and Written Text1
FRS 2410Literature, Power, and Resistance1
Select at least one of the following:1
FRS 2407
Francophone Cultures
FRS 2408
Contemporary France through the Media
Select three courses at the advanced level (3000–3999), at least two of which must be taught in French, and at least two of which must be taken at Bowdoin.3

Students who place out of any of the courses listed above must still take at least nine courses in Francophone studies or Romance languages and literatures for the major.  

Hispanic Studies Major

Nine courses higher than HISP 2204 Intermediate Spanish II, including:

Required Courses b
HISP 2305Advanced Spanish1
HISP 2409Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater1
HISP 2410Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Essay and Narrative1
Select three courses at the advanced level (3000–3999), at least two of which must be taught in Spanish, and at least two of which must be taken at Bowdoin.3

Students who place out of any of the courses listed above must still take at least nine courses in Hispanic studies or Romance languages and literatures for the major.  

Italian Studies Major

Nine courses higher than ITAL 1101 Elementary Italian I, including:

ITAL 1102Elementary Italian II1
or ITAL 1103 Accelerated Elementary Italian
ITAL 2203Intermediate Italian I1
ITAL 2204Intermediate Italian II1
ITAL 2305Advanced Italian I1
ITAL 2408Introduction to Contemporary Italy: Dalla Marcia alla Vespa1
Select two courses taught in English whose focus is on Italian art, culture, cinema, or music (such as courses by art history, classics, cinema studies, and music). e2
Select at least one advanced course (3000–3999) taught in Italian and at Bowdoin.1

Students who place out of any of the courses listed above must still take at least nine courses in Italian studies, or Romance languages and literatures, or approved courses for the major.

Romance Languages and Literatures Major

Nine courses higher than 2204. Students must fulfill the requirements below from two different areas.

Area-Specific Option Requirements c
Francophone studies requirements:2
FRS 2409
Spoken Word and Written Text
FRS 2410
Literature, Power, and Resistance
Hispanic studies requirements:2
HISP 2409
Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Poetry and Theater
HISP 2410
Introduction to Hispanic Studies: Essay and Narrative
Italian studies requirements:2
ITAL 2305
Advanced Italian I
ITAL 2408
Introduction to Contemporary Italy: Dalla Marcia alla Vespa
For any of the above combinations, three additional courses at the advanced level (3000–3999) are required, at least two of which must be taken at Bowdoin. These courses may be taken in either or both areas of the student’s concentration.3

Minors in Romance Languages and Literatures

Students may declare a minor in Francophone studies, Hispanic studies, or Italian studies.

Francophone Studies Minor

  • at least four Bowdoin courses in Francophone studies numbered higher than 2204
  • One must be an advanced course (3000–3999) taught in French.
  • Courses taken away do not satisfy the requirements for the minor.

Hispanic Studies Minor

  • at least four Bowdoin courses in Hispanic studies numbered higher than 2204
  • One must be an advanced course (3000–3999) taught in Spanish.
  • Courses taken away do not satisfy the requirements for the minor.

Italian Studies Minor

  • at least four Bowdoin Italian courses numbered higher than 2203 taught in Italian
  • All minors are required to take one 3000-level course at Bowdoin taught in Italian.
  • Up to one 2000-level course taken away in a semester or yearlong program may be applied to the minor, pending departmental approval.

Additional Information and Department Policies

  • No fewer than five courses for the major must be taken at Bowdoin.
  • Students must achieve a grade of C- or higher in all courses for the major or minor, including prerequisites.
  • Courses that count toward the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail).
  • No more than one course for the major may be in independent study. Courses taken in independent study do not fulfill the advanced course (3000–3999) requirement.

Placement

Entering first-year and transfer students who plan to take Francophone studies, Hispanic studies, or Italian studies courses must take the appropriate placement test administered online. Students with questions regarding placement should speak with a faculty member in the department.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

Students who receive a minimum score of four on the French Language and Culture AP exam, or a minimum score of six on the French IB exam, are eligible to receive a general credit toward the degree, not the major/minor, if they complete FRS 2305 Advanced French through Film or higher and earn a minimum grade of B-. Students meeting these criteria do not receive credit if they place into or elect to take a course lower than FRS 2305 Advanced French through Film.

Students who receive a minimum score of four on the Italian Language and Culture AP exam, or a minimum score of six on the Italian IB exam, are eligible to receive a general credit toward the degree, not the major/minor, if they complete ITAL 2305 Advanced Italian I or higher and earn a minimum grade of B-. Students meeting these criteria do not receive credit if they place into or elect to take a course lower than ITAL 2305 Advanced Italian I.

Students who receive a minimum score of four on the Spanish Language AP exam or the Spanish Literature and Culture AP exam, or a minimum score of six on the Spanish IB exam, are eligible to receive a general credit toward the degree, not the major/minor, if they complete HISP 2305 Advanced Spanish or higher and earn a minimum grade of B-. Students meeting these criteria do not receive credit if they place into or elect to take a course lower than HISP 2305 Advanced Spanish.

In order to receive credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin. 

Study Away

A period of study in an appropriate country, usually in the junior year, is strongly encouraged. 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. Students who study away for one semester receive a maximum of three credits toward the major. Those who study away for the academic year receive a maximum of four credits toward the major. Courses taken away cannot count toward the Francophone or Hispanic studies minors.

Independent Study

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 coursework. 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 and Literatures

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 faculty committee. Candidates for departmental honors must have an outstanding record in other courses in the department. Seniors engaging in independent study toward the completion of an honors project must enroll concurrently in another course in the department in the fall semester.


This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue