Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Language Class Placement Questions

Study Abroad Questions

Majoring Questions

Minoring Questions

Trinity Foreign Language Requirement

General

What is Romance Studies?

Romance Studies is concerned with the study of the languages, and their associated literatures and cultures, derived from dialects of vulgar Latin.  French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole are all considered Romance Languages, but the group includes others, such as Catalan and Romanian.

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What languages are offered in the Department of Romance Studies?

Language courses are offered in French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole.

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How many majors are offered?

There are five majors available:  French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese  (with corresponding minors, and Romance Studies, which combines work in two language areas.

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Does the department offer courses in English?

Yes, there are numerous course offerings in English dealing with literature and culture. Many of these offer the option of a preceptorial (P) component which involves extra class time and assignments for credit toward a major or minor.

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How do I arrange an independent study in Romance Studies?

To arrange an independent study, first consult with the professor you would like to supervise your work.  Once you have agreed on a workplan, fill out the Romance Studies Independent Study Request form, obtain the necessary signatures and return it to Ms. Anita Vanerelli in Languages 104.

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Can I satisfy the foreign language requirement with an independent study?

No. Independent studies do not satisfy most general education requirements, with the exception of the Research requirement in the case of a Research Independent Study.  You may also petition for one Writing credit (W) to be satisfied by a Research Independent Study by filling out the appropriate form and submitting it to the Committee on Courses and Curriculum.

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Placement

How do I determine which language course is right for me?

Follow the general guidelines for placement. If you have any questions or doubts about which course is most appropriate, contact the relevant Language Program Director for assistance.

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What happens if I think I am in the wrong course?

If you begin a class and feel that you may be in the wrong course, whether too advanced or not advanced enough, talk to your instructor.  They will be able to advise you and put you in touch with someone in the Language Program if needed.

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Study Abroad (Global Education)

What Study Abroad opportunities are there in the Romance Studies Department?

The Department sponsors a  number of Study Abroad programs, and there are numerous other Duke-in programs, as well as Duke-approved programs. Additional information available here.

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Can I satisfy part of my FL requirement with transfer courses?

Yes. If you wish to satisfy a portion of the FL requirement with a course in a Romance language taken abroad, either in a Duke approved or petitioned program, you should consult the checklist.  Seeking preapproval from the Romance Studies Department is very important to ensure that you enroll in a course which has the potential to meet the requirement.  Once you return from your experience abroad, you must then apply formally for approval of the FL code from the Committee on Courses and Curriculum. NOTE: The FL code can only be transferred from courses taken abroad in a country where the language is a primary means of communication.  Domestic transfers in general will not satisfy the FL requirement.

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What is the procedure for getting credit for courses taken abroad?

Consult the checklist. There are two parts to the process. Seeking preapproval from the Romance Studies Department ensures that you enroll in a course which has the potential to meet the requirement. When you return from your experience abroad, you must then apply formally for approval of the FL code from the Committee on Courses and Curriculum.

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How many courses taken abroad will count for a major?

For Romance Studies Department sponsored programs, typically all courses can be counted for the major. For other Duke-in programs the number is typically a maximum of three; and for non-Duke programs the number is typically a maximum of two. Fewer courses will count from summer programs. Be sure to consult with your advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies as you make your plans.

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How many courses taken abroad will count for a minor?

For Romance Studies Department sponsored programs, typically 2 courses may be counted toward the minor.  For other programs, the number is typically a maximum of one. Be sure to consult with your advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies as you make your plans.

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Majoring

How do I declare a major?

During your sophomore year, your academic advisor will work with you to create a long-range plan for the major and will guide you through the declaration process. If you wish to add a second major (or change majors) after your initial declaration, you need only send an email to the University Registrar declaring your intention. After you have declared your major you will be assigned a program advisor who will assist you with registration for courses, and guide you as you progress through your program.

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How many majors are offered?

The Department of Romance Studies offers five majors in: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romance Studies.

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How many courses are needed for the major?

All of the majors in the Department of Romance Studies require 10 courses.

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How many courses taken abroad will count for a major?

For Romance Studies Department sponsored programs, typically all courses can be counted for the major. For other Duke-in programs the number is typically a maximum of three; and for non-Duke programs the number is typically a maximum of two. Fewer courses will count from summer programs. Be sure to consult with your advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies as you make your plans.

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Is it possible to major in more than one language?

The Romance Studies major combines work in two language areas, five in each language for a total of 10 courses. You may also major in more than one language (double major) taking a total of 20 courses, 10 in each language. (Note that some courses may count for both majors.)

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Is it possible to count the same course credits for more than one major?

There is no restriction on the counting of courses toward multiple majors.

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What is the process for graduation with distinction in Romance Studies?

The Honors Thesis involves two independent study courses during the senior year, one in the fall, and one in the spring.  You must meet minimum grade point average requirements, and devise a plan for the thesis with your advisor which must then be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the instructions here.

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Is it possible to do a thesis for honors in more than one department?

Yes, Double Honors, i.e. honors in two departments, can be awarded for a single thesis. The requirements of both departments must be met, and the project must be approved separately by both departments.

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Minoring

How do I declare a minor?

You may declare a minor by sending an email to the University Registrar declaring your intention.

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What languages offer the minor?

Minors are available in the Department of Romance Studies in French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

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How many courses are needed for the minor?

5 or 6 courses may be required depending on the language.

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How many courses taken abroad will count for a minor?

For Romance Studies Department sponsored programs, typically two courses may be counted toward the minor.  For other programs, the number is typically a maximum of one. Be sure to consult with your advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies as you make your plans.

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Trinity Foreign Language Requirement

How can I satisfy the FL requirement in Romance Studies?

It is possible to satisfy the FL requirement in the Department of Romance Studies in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Haitian Creole (Kreyól). If you begin language study at Duke at in an elementary language course, you must take three (3) courses in that language to meet your FL (Foreign Language) requirement for graduation.  If you enter language study at Duke at the intermediate level or above, the successful completion of a 300-level FL-designated course will fulfill your language graduation requirement, requiring either one, two, or three courses, depending on your entry level. See more information here.

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Can I satisfy part of my FL requirement with transfer courses?

Yes. If you wish to satisfy a portion of the FL requirement with a course in a Romance language taken abroad, either in a Duke approved or petitioned program, you should consult the checklist. Seeking preapproval from the Romance Studies Department is very important to ensure that you enroll in a course which has the potential to meet the requirement. Once you return from your experience abroad, you must then apply formally for approval of the FL code from the Committee on Courses and Curriculum. NOTE: The FL code can only be transferred from courses taken abroad in a country where the language is a primary means of communication. Domestic transfers in general will not satisfy the FL requirement.

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What is the procedure for getting credit for courses taken abroad?

Consult the checklist.  There are two parts to the process. Seeking preapproval from the Romance Studies Department ensures that you enroll in a course which has the potential to meet the requirement. When you return from your experience abroad, you must then apply formally for approval of the FL code from the Committee on Courses and Curriculum.

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Can I satisfy the foreign language requirement with an independent study?

No. Independent studies do not satisfy most general education requirements, with the exception of the Research requirement in the case of a Research Independent Study. You may also petition for one Writing credit to be satisfied by a Research Independent Study by filling out the appropriate form and submitting it to the Committee on Courses and Curriculum.

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