Majors & Programs


Romance Languages & Literatures

We offer a combined study of language, literature, and culture from beginning to advanced levels. From beginning language courses in which students gain proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending a language, to the most advanced literature courses, material is viewed in the context of the language studied in order for students to gain the richest and the most comprehensive understanding of the patterns of everyday life of a nation, its history, geography, and cultural influence.

Our Department of Romance Languages & Literatures offers vibrant programs in:

Why Study a Romance Language?

Many students choose to pursue studies of a Romance Language and another discipline, knowing that their future interests and work will engage them with different communities and cultures. Students increasingly double major in language and science or social science (for example, French and Biology; Italian and Art History; Spanish and International Studies). Recognizing that today study abroad is a crucial element of personal and professional development, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers an array of immersion programs abroad. These include summer semester or yearlong study in France (the Loire Valley, Nice, Tolouse, Paris); in Italy (Padua); in Spain (Madrid); and Latin America (Santiago de Chile; Quito, Ecuador, and Curitiba).

As a major in Romance Languages you will:

  • Achieve global awareness and extend your purview beyond your personal and national experience.
  • Acquire language and cultural proficiency.
  • Obtain greater understanding of your own cultural identity.
  • Gain knowledge of another country’s rich and broadly influential literary and cultural tradition.
  • Acquire analytical and critical skills necessary for interpreting a wide variety of texts and cultural contexts.

A major in Romance Languages & Literatures can act as the stepping stone to careers in various areas; many will require additional graduate or professional school education. You could pursue careers in:

  • Business
  • Curatorial work
  • Diplomacy
  • Government
  • Journalism
  • History
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Medicine & Research
  • Museum Science
  • Music
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Translation
  • Writing/Editing

Romance Languages & Literatures at Washington University

  • Major and/or minor in French, Italian, or Spanish.

Requirements and Options:

  • Courses in language, literature, and cultural studies
  • Study literary masterpieces from the Middle Ages through the 20th century of France, Italy, or Spain; and from Pre-Columbian texts to the 21st century of Latin America.
  • Engage in intensive study of such literary and cultural topics as Proust, Desire and Taboo, Provence, and French Film; or Dante’s Divina Commedia, the Italian detective novel, and the rise and influence of Italian cinema; as well as Cervantes’ Don Quijote and Contemporary Spanish or Latin American women writers.
  • Attend summer, semester, and year-long academic programs in France, Italy, Spain, and Latin America.

Join us. Take the next step.

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