Romance Languages and Literatures

Undergraduates who choose a secondary field in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) discover the literatures, cultures, and critical approaches of societies worldwide where French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan are spoken. RLL offers language courses from the beginning to advanced levels, as well as opportunities for accelerated work and study abroad.  The heart of the secondary field consists of courses about literature and society taught in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.  Faculty also offer advanced courses in English on special topics that involve more than one language tradition.  These are listed as Romance Studies and count toward the secondary field.

RLL offers the secondary field in four major areas of study:

  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Each of these options requires 5 courses (20 credits). The requirements for the four options are similar, except that in Italian and Portuguese two advanced language courses may count instead of one in French and Spanish. This difference takes into account the fact that students in Italian and Portuguese are more likely to have started their language study in college.

While RLL requires certain levels of courses, the department does not impose any thematic limits within each special field. Students may focus on a particular period, genre, or cultural issue, or they may explore a variety of areas their field. They may also fulfill one of the requirements for the secondary field with one course in a related field offered in another program or department (e.g., a course on the history of Latin America or on Italian Renaissance art).

REQUIREMENTS: 5 courses (20 credits)

French

  1. A maximum of one French course at the 40s-60s level.
  2. A maximum of two French courses at the 70s-80s level.
  3. At least two French courses at the 100 level or above. One of these two courses can be replaced by a Romance Studies course at the 70 level or above.
  4. At least three courses must be taught in French.

Students who plan to pursue a secondary field in French are required to meet at least once to discuss their choice of courses with the Undergraduate Adviser in French, Kathy Richman (richman@fas.harvard.edu), or with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Cathy Downey (cdowney@fas.harvard.edu).

Italian

  1. A maximum of two Italian courses at the 40-60 level.
  2. At least three Italian courses at the 70-level or above. One of these three courses can be replaced by a Romance Studies course at the 70 level or above.
  3. At least three courses must be taught in Italian.

Students who plan to pursue a secondary field in Italian are required to meet at least once to discuss their choice of courses with an Undergraduate Adviser in Italian, Elvira G. Di Fabio (edifabio@fas.harvard.edu -- Fall 2019) or Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja (acpistoja@fas.harvard.edu -- Spring 2020), or with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Cathy Downey (cdowney@fas.harvard.edu).

Portuguese

  1. A maximum of two Portuguese courses at the 40-60 level.
  2. At least three Portuguese courses at the 70-level or above. One of these three courses can be replaced by a Romance Studies course at the 70 level or above.
  3. At least three courses must be taught in Portuguese.

Students who plan to pursue a secondary field in Portuguese are required to meet at least once to discuss their choice of courses with the Undergraduate Adviser in Portuguese, Viviane Gontijo (vivianegontijo@fas.harvard.edu), or with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Cathy Downey (cdowney@fas.harvard.edu).

Spanish

  1. A maximum of one Spanish course at the 40-60 level.
  2. A maximum of two Spanish courses at the 70-80 level.
  3. At least two Spanish courses at the 100 level or above. One of these two courses can be replaced by a Romance Studies course at the 70 level or above.
  4. At least three courses must be taught in Spanish.

Students who plan to pursue a secondary field in Spanish are required to meet at least once to discuss their choice of courses with the Undergraduate Adviser in Spanish, María Luisa Parra (parra@fas.harvard.edu), or with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Cathy Downey (cdowney@fas.harvard.edu).

OTHER INFORMATION

Secondary field students can take any RLL course offered in their chosen track (from levels 40 to 200) except for the senior tutorial (99). Students in Italian, Portuguese, and Catalan may enroll in supervised reading and research (91r), as needed.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of an approved Freshman Seminar.  Of the 5 required courses, one may be in a related field offered in another department; 2 courses may be taken abroad when approved by both the Office of International Education and RLL for Harvard credit; and courses may be taken at the Harvard Summer School.  Students will need their RLL adviser's permission for these three options.

ADVISING RESOURCES AND EXPECTATIONS

Students who plan to pursue a secondary field in Romance Languages and Literatures are required to meet at least once for an advising session with the Undergraduate Adviser in their chosen track before they have taken all of their courses. That Undergraduate Adviser, Director of Undergraduate Studies, or the Undergraduate Program Coordinator must approve the final application for secondary field credit. For more information students may also contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Cathy Downey (cdowney@fas.harvard.edu).