Majors

Students majoring in Brazilian and Global Portuguese Studies will acquire competency in spoken and written Portuguese, as well as familiarity with the literature and culture of Brazil and Portugese-speaking regions. Lusophone countries--those who speak Portuguese as the official language--include Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau.

Requirements: 10 Courses

Overall, 8 of the 10 courses taken for the major must be at the 300 level or above, and at least 6 of those courses must be taught in Portuguese or have a Portuguese preceptorial component. (See Portuguese studies course listing)

  • If you begin your study at the elementary or intermediate level (language proficiency below the 300 course level), up to 2 of the following courses can be counted towards your major requirements:
  • Up to 4 courses taught in English that focus on Brazilian or lusophone culture (See Portuguese studies course listing)
    • These courses may be taught by the department, or cross-listed courses with at least fifty percent Brazilian or lusophone content offered by other departments such as History, African & African American Studies, Cultural Anthropology, English, Film/Video/Digital Studies, International Comparative Studies, Literature, Music, Poliltical Science, Religion and Theater Studies. Brazil-themed Thompson Writing Program courses may also count. Such courses must be approved in advance by the Undergraduate Major Advisor. Duke-approved courses taught in Portuguese in study abroad program may also count towards the major.

Students majoring in French will acquire a considerable degree of competency in the written and spoken language as well as knowledge of the literature and culture of France and the French-speaking world. The Department offers a wide array of courses in language, literature, and culture, and strongly encourages interdisciplinary work in French through courses emphasizing the relation between literature, the arts, history, and society. A major in French is an excellent portal to a variety of careers in the humanities, the economic world, government, and science, and to a lifetime of global awareness and cultural reflection. An honors thesis option is available, including the possibility for these interweaving two fields for students pursuing double or second majors.

Major Requirements: 10 Courses

At least 8 of the 10 courses must be taken at the 300 level or above. At least 3 courses must be taken at the 400 level or higher (students are encouraged to take 500-600 level courses, which are constructed with the undergraduate experience in mind), or complete an honors thesis. If you begin studies at the elementary or intermediate language level (language proficiency below the 300 course level), the following courses below the 300 level may count:

If you begin studies at the advanced language level (language proficiency at or above the 300 course level), all 10 of your courses will be at the 300 level or above.

French majors are encouraged to write a senior thesis, and to consider interdisciplinary topics capable of linking French studies to their additional fields of academic interest.

Students majoring in Italian develop language skills in their social and cultural contexts. The combination of linguistic and cultural competency is excellent preparation for a variety of professional careers in business, government, the humanities, and science. Double (second) majors are encouraged and supported. Numerous opportunities are available, including programs of study abroad, work study, interdisciplinary programs, and Fulbright. We offer two tracks for the Italian major: Italian Studies and Italian and European Studies.

Major Requirements: 10 Courses

Italian Studies Track

Overall, 8 of the 10 courses taken for the major must be at the 300 level or above, and at least 6 of those courses must be taught in Italian or have an Italian preceptorial component.

  • Up to 2 of the following courses can be counted towards your major requirements if you begin studies at the elementary language level (language proficiency below the 300 course level):
  • At least one course from each of the following areas:
    • Medieval
    • Renaissance
    • Modern/Contemporary
    • Linguistics
  • Up to 4 courses focused on Italian content taught in English, such as courses in Romance Studies or cross-listed course offered by other departments or programs.
    • Courses may be offered by departments such as Art History, Cultural Anthropology, English, Film/Video/Digital Studies, History, International Comparative Area Studies, Literature, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, and Theater Studies. Duke-approved courses taught in Italian in Study Abroad Programs may also count towards this major concentration.

Italian and European Studies Track

Overall, 8 of the 10 courses taken for the major must be at the 300 level or above, and at least 5 of those courses must be taught in Italian or have an Italian preceptorial component.

  • Up to 2 of the following courses can be counted towards your major requirements if you begin studies at the elementary language level (language proficiency below the 300 course level):
  • At least 1 course from two of the following areas:
    • Medieval
    • Renaissance
    • Modern/Contemporary
    • Linguistics
  • Up to 5 courses (taught in English) on any Italian and/or European topic. Such courses can be offered by the Department of Romance Studies or other departments or programs.
    • Duke-approved courses taught in Italian in Study Abroad Programs may also count towards this major concentration.

Did you know that Spanish is the second largest world language as a vehicle of international communication and the third as an international language of politics, economics and culture? Or that about 330 million people in the world speak Spanish as their first language? Or that Spanish is the official language in 21 countries? Or that Spanish is expected to be the first language of 50% of the population of the United States within 50 years? Our department sponsors two summer study abroad programs (Duke in Spain and Duke Intensive Spanish in Alicante) and one semester/year study abroad program (Duke in Madrid). We encourage students to plan early in order to attain an advanced level in Spanish and to work into their study plans the possibility of studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.

Major Requirements: 10 Courses

A total of 10 courses at the 300 level and above, at least 7 of which must be from departmental offerings and taught in Spanish. Courses taken as part of department sponsored Study Abroad programs may count toward this requirement.

The 7 core courses must include any two of the survey courses listed below and at least 3 courses numbered above 400. The remaining courses may be on peninsular, Latin American or Latino/a-related topics and may be taken either in the department or in other departments.

Study Option: A Brazilian or Lusophone literature or culture course taught in Portuguese at or above the 300 level, offered by the department, may be substituted for one of the 10 total courses required for the major.

The Romance Studies major at Duke involves advanced study in two of the department’s language/culture sections and an international and experiential learning experience. This major consists of foreign language study at the major level (300 level or above taught in the language) within two departmental fields. Example combinations include: two continental fields, for example peninsular Spanish and Italian; two fields encompassing the diversity of cultures and engagement in the “developing” and the “developed” worlds, such Creole and French; or two fields in geographically proximate postcolonial spaces such as lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) and francophone Africa, or Spanish and Portuguese-speaking environments in South America. Our course requirements are paired with international/experiential learning requirements.

Requirements: 10 Courses

  • 5 courses at the 300 level or above taught in the language in each of your two chosen fields. Depending on where you begin your study of the language, courses below the 300 level may count (i.e. the entry level for the minor of each field):
  • 2 of the following international/experiential learning opportunities. Each must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
    • Study abroad (up to 2 programs may be counted)
    • An appropriate Duke Engage or another Duke service and/or experiential learning program
    • Research experience related to the Romance language/culture field in a humanities lab, a fellowship, a research independent study, research assistantship, professional research environment, etc.
    • An honor’s thesis uniting your two chosen fields
    • A certificate in a related field with content directly related to that of the fields of language/culture study

Study Option: Students with unusual depth of study in Creole or Portuguese may petition the Romance Studies faculty to substitute one sequence of five foreign language departmental courses with a combination of three courses and a required thesis (involving two semesters of independent study courses) in Creole or Portuguese. The Romance Studies major in French, Italian, or Spanish and Creole or Portuguese therefore requires unusual initiative and experience in the field of either Creole or Portuguese. Petitions to undertake this option must include a one-page abstract of the project, a bibliography, and the names of three committee members who have consented to serve on the thesis committee.