Undergraduate Degree Details & Requirements

Romance Languages Special Major

The major in Romance languages and literatures. This major requires advanced coursework in French, Italian and Spanish, with one of the three languages as the focus of primary emphasis.

Required Courses

  • Language I: courses through the 400 level, including 307, 308, two literature surveys (French 325 and 326, or Italian 323 and 324, or two among Spanish 341, 342, or 343), and two 400-level courses (in Italian, two literature courses; in French, two literature courses or one literature course and French 411; in Spanish, either two literature courses or one literature and one linguistics course).
  • Language II: courses through the 400 level, including 307, 308, at least two literature surveys (French 325 and 326, or Italian 323 and 324, or two among Spanish 341, 342, or 343), and one 400-level course (in Italian and French, a literature course; in Spanish, either literature or linguistics).
  • Language III: courses through and including one literature survey (307, 308, plus, depending on the language, French 325 or 326; Italian 323 or 324; Spanish 341, 342, or 343).
  • One WI (writing intensive) course either in Spanish or Italian, or via French 411 (fall only).
  • A capstone experience, either by completing Latin honors or by completing a senior undergraduate seminar in your junior or senior year with a grade of B+ or better.

We encourage students to think about doing an honors thesis, perhaps combining French and Spanish. The 6 units of 495 (honors) would be above and beyond the requirements listed above for each language.

You will need to take these classes for a grade (not pass/fail) and earn a B- or better, with a B average overall, per departmental requirements of all majors.

Special Major Approval Form

French

Focused on cross-cultural communication, disciplinary dialogues, and skills that prepare students with knowledge and skills that expand horizons to the Francophone worlds of arts, business, and culture.

French Major Requirements

Beginning this coming Fall, 2019, new courses FR 203 and FR 204 (two semesters) will replace FR 201.
FR 204 will replace FR 201 credits toward the minor and major in French for student who take this course at the university (no high school credits apply).
Students who have completed FR 201 are not eligible to take either FR 203 or FR 204.
FR 201 and will continue to count as credit toward the minor and major for students who will have taken it at the university prior to Fall, 2019.

Starting Fall, 2019:

Minor:
FR 204  (NOT FR 203) will count toward the minor for student who take this course at the university.  
Major:
FR 204  (NOT FR 203) will count toward the major for student who take this course at the university.  

Total units required: 30 units (27 units for second majors).**

Required courses (in French)

  • French 307. Advanced French
  • French 308. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis
  • French 325. Dramatic Voices: Poets and Playwrights
  • French 326. Narrative Voices: Fiction and Nonfiction
  • French 411 or French 4131. Writing Intensive
  • French 4xx. Upper-level seminar before the Revolution (Medieval, Renaissance, Seventeenth- or Eighteenth-Century)
  • French 4xx. Upper-level seminar after the Revolution (Nineteenth- or Twentieth-Century or Francophone)

** Students who take Fr 201 at the university may count it as one course towards the major (out of nine for the second or ten for the prime). Students may also count one 3-credit course towards the major at the 300-level or above that is taught in English by a member of the French faculty either within or beyond the bounds of the department at Washington University. This course does not replace the requirements in French.

Students must maintain an average of B- or better. Both 400-level courses required for the major must be taken at Washington University. All primary majors must complete a capstone experience by achieving a B+ or better in one of the 400-level seminars.

French Minor Requirements

Beginning this coming Fall, 2019, new courses FR 203 and FR 204 (two semesters) will replace FR 201.
FR 204 will replace FR 201 credits toward the minor and major in French for student who take this course at the university (no high school credits apply).
Students who have completed FR 201 are not eligible to take either FR 203 or FR 204.
FR 201 and will continue to count as credit toward the minor and major for students who will have taken it at the university prior to Fall, 2019.

Starting Fall, 2019:
Minor:
FR 204  (NOT FR 203) will count toward the minor for student who take this course at the university.  
Major:
FR 204  (NOT FR 203) will count toward the major for student who take this course at the university.  

Units required: 21**

Required courses (in French):

  • French 307. Advanced French
  • French 308. Introduction to Literary and Cultural Analysis
  • French 325. Dramatic Voices: Poets and Playwrights; or
  • French 326. Narrative Voices: Fiction and Nonfiction

** Students who take Fr 201 at the university may count it as one course towards the minor (out of seven). Students may also count one 3-credit course towards the minor that is taught in English by a member of the French faculty either within or beyond the bounds of the department at Washington University. This course does not replace the requirements in French.

ONLY ONE 200-level CONVERSATION COURSE, TAKEN AT HOME (French 215 or 216) OR ABROAD, CAN COUNT TOWARD THE MINOR. ALL 300-level CONVERSATION CLASSES COUNT TOWARD THE MINOR.

Additional Information

Three credits can count towards the minor from the Summer French Language Institute in Paris and six credits can count from the French for Pre-Med Program in Nice. Literature and Medicine, a survey course offered at the Pre-Med Program in Nice, can replace Fr 325 or 326.

We strongly recommend that students who spend a semester in Toulouse or Paris take French 318D before going abroad. Students spending a semester abroad may take 318 instead of 308. Any student who completes French 318 and does not go abroad should take French 308 as well.

Courses taken credit/no credit do not count toward the minor. Students must complete courses taken for the minor with a grade of B– or above and are expected to maintain a B average or better in all French courses.

French Language Sequence

Once the proper placement is determined (see Placement Test), students should take, in order, three courses: FR 101, 102, 203, 204, 307, 308, and then additional 300-level courses taught in French in order to meet the Linguistic and Cultural Diversity (LCD) WU requirement for the degree.

Italian

Italian Major Requirements

Total units required

27 units (24 units for second majors). Of these 27 units, three may be taken outside of the Italian (L36) with the approval of the major advisor.

Required courses (in Italian)

  • Italian 307. Grammar and Composition I (3 units)
  • One of the following courses: Italian 308. Grammar and Composition II (3 units); Italian 322; Italian Through Theater (3 units)
  • Two of the following courses (6 units): Italian 323. Italian Literature I; Italian 324. Italian Literature II; Italian 327. History of the Italian Language
  • Two Italian 400-level seminars (6 units)

Additional Information

Students must maintain an average of B- or better and must maintain a B or better in Italian. Courses taken Credit/No Credit do not count toward the Italian major.

Transfer Credits

18 of the 27 units required for the major must be taken in residence. Non-WUSTL courses may count toward the major only with departmental permission.

Italian Minor Requirements

Total units required: 18

Required courses (in Italian):

  • Italian 307. Grammar and Composition I (3 units)
  • Italian 308. Grammar and Composition II (3 units)

Two of the following courses (6 units)

  • Italian 323. Italian Literature I
  • Italian 324. Italian Literature II
  • Italian 327 History of the Italian Language

Elective Courses

  • Italian 301 Oral Communication
  • Italian 319 Advanced Conversational Italian
  • Italian 3221 The Jewish Experience in Italy
  • Italian 3224 From Basilisks to Botticelli: The Development and Politics of Museums in Italy
  • Italian 332 Introduction to Italian Cinema
  • Italian 334 Topics in Italian Cinema
  • Italian 350 Special Topics in Italian Literature and Culture
  • Italian 428 The New Sicilian School
  • Italian 430 Divergent Voices: Italian Women Writers
  • Italian 433 Literature of the Italian Enlightenment
  • Italian 437 Italy in the Age of the Grand Tour
  • Italian 473 Macchiavelli and Guicciardini
  • Italian 481 Dante- Italian 483 Boccaccio, Decameron
  • Italian 485 Ariosto, Orlando Furioso
  • Italian 491 Italian Postmodernism
  • Italian 492 The Italian Detective Novel

Additional Information

Students must maintain an average of B- or better and must maintain a B or better in Italian. Courses taken Credit/No Credit do not count toward the Italian major.

Spanish

Major Requirements

 

  • To declare the Spanish major, a student must first file an "intent to major" form on WebStac. The student must then request an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Spanish (DUS) for review and approval of his/her major program.
  • To major in Spanish students must take a minimum of 30 units (double majors: 27 units) at the 300-level or above, of which 21 units must be taken in residence. Study at Washington University’s own programs in Spain or Chile is considered “in residence.”
  • Students must complete all courses with grades of B- or above and maintain a B average or better overall in Spanish. Courses taken Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) do not count towards the Spanish major.
  • Transfer students with an advanced level of Spanish and native/heritage speakers need to be certified by the Director of Undergraduate Studies prior to declaring the major.

The following courses must be included in the 30 units:

Advanced Grammar and Composition (6 units)

__Spanish 307 (or elective if placed in 308E)
__Spanish 308E Advanced Reading and Writing (Spanish 308E is now offered instead of 308D).
•Students who place out of 307 through Washington University’s placement exam and consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies receive back credits toward graduation, but not toward the major. These students will need to take another advanced (300- or 400-level) Spanish course to obtain the credits typically obtained through Spanish 307.
•Spanish 307 is a prerequisite for the 300-level literature surveys.
• Students are strongly encouraged also to take Spanish 308E before registering for the survey classes, but may take 308E and their first 300-level survey concurrently (see below).

3 Literature and Culture Surveys (9 credits)

__Spanish 341 Literary and Cultural Studies in Spanish
__Spanish 342 Iberian Literatures and Cultures
__Spanish 343 Latin American Literatures and Cultures

Study Abroad Options

__Spanish 354 A View from the Southern Cone (Chile)
__Spanish 3341 Literatura Española (Spain)
__Spanish 3361 Literatura Hispanoamericana (Spain/Chile)
__Spanish 350 Topics in Spanish Literature

•A minimum of two survey courses are prerequisites for all 400-level courses.
•One literature course taken in the Chile or Spain RLL semester programs, designated as an acceptable substitute, may be used as one of the three required 300-level surveys. Students who still must fulfill a survey on campus after returning from study abroad may, with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Spanish, petition to take an appropriate 400-level seminar in place of the remaining 300-level survey. Otherwise, students may not take a 400-level course to replace a required 300-level survey.

1 Topics in Culture or Linguistics Course

__Spanish 370 Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
__Spanish 380 Topics in Hispanic Cultures

Study Abroad Options:

__Spanish 3181 Spanish Culture and Civilization (Spain) semester (Please note that this is the only course for students at Carlos III or the Autónoma in Madrid that will count as a substitute for 380).
__Spanish 311 Spanish Culture and Civilization (Spain) summer in Madrid
__Spanish 313 Chilean Culture (Chile)

2 400-level seminars:

__Spanish 405W Major Seminar
__Spanish 410 Major Seminar
__Other 400 level literature and/or culture class taught in Spanish

•When offered, one of the following linguistics seminars may be substituted for one of the two 400-level literature seminars:
__Spanish 417 Phonology and Second Language Acquisition
__Spanish 411 Advanced Grammar and Syntax
•Spanish 370 (or instructor approval) is a prerequisite for the 400-level Linguistics courses taught in Spanish.

Study Abroad Options:

•One 400-level seminar must be taken on campus.
• Approved 400-level course from the Madrid or Chile Program. (See study abroad guidelines)

Elective Courses (2 for Single Majors; 1 for Double Majors)

__Spanish 324/ U27 324 Conversation in Cinema (please note, this is the only University College course that counts as elective credit toward the major).
__Spanish 331 Hispanic Art
__Spanish 351 Business Spanish
__Spanish 353 Medical Spanish
__Any other advanced 300- or 400-level Spanish (L38) class taught by a RLL faculty member.
__Any other advanced 300- or 400-level Spanish (L38) class taught by a RLL faculty member.

• One elective course with content relevant to the Spanish major and taught in English by Spanish faculty may be taken, when available, for the major. Please consult with the DUS.

Study Abroad Options:

__Spanish 322 Contemporary Culture and Conversation, Summer Language Institute, Madrid
__Elective credit from Semester programs in Santiago or Madrid
__Elective credit from the Latin American Studies Summer program in Peru (either "Governance, Ethnicity, and Development in the Andean Region," or “Public Health, Healing, and Traditional Medicine in the Andean Region").
__Elective credit from Petitioned, OTS, SIT or Comp Lit Programs (See study abroad guidelines)

• Spanish courses completed (and approved) from Study Abroad programs other than those at Washington University may be used for Spanish elective credit only. All Study Abroad credit requires authorization from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Other Requirements:
Prior to declaring a major, students are required to fill out a questionnaire about their previous preparation and objectives in studying Spanish. As seniors they may fill out an optional survey about the major. Double-major seniors may elect to do their capstone experience in a 400-level course; single majors must do so. The capstone may be fulfilled through the completion of a 400-level class with a B+ or better, or via Honors (see guidelines). All qualified majors in the school of Arts and Sciences may elect to meet the requirements for honors. To be eligible to earn honors in Spanish, Spanish must be the student's prime major.

Recommended for prospective teachers:

  1. A second language.
  2. Span 466, Span 467, Span 469, Span 413, Span 4013
  3. Semester of year in Spain or Chile.

Recommended for prospective graduate students:

  1. A second language related to student’s area of interests.
  2. Advanced work in other literatures, literary criticism and theory, and related course work in other literature or film programs.
  3. Year in Spain or Chile.
  4. Senior Honors by thesis or course work (See Honors guidelines)

Updated February 2019

Please click here for a PDF of these requirements.

Minor Requirements

For Students Who Declare the Minor after March, 2014

To declare the Spanish minor, a student must first file an "intent to minor" form on WebStac. The student must then request an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Spanish for review and approval of his/her minor program.

The Spanish minor includes 18 units, of which 12 must be taken in residence. Study at Washington University's own programs in Spain or Chile is considered "in residence. Students must complete courses with a grade of B- or above and maintain a B average or better overall in Spanish. Courses taken Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) do not count towards the Spanish minor.

These 18 units must be fulfilled as follows:

Advanced Grammar and Composition (6 units)

__Spanish 307 (or elective if placed in 308E)
__Spanish 308E Advanced Reading and Writing (Spanish 308E is now offered instead of 308D).
•Students who place out of 307 through Washington University’s placement exam and consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies receive back credits toward graduation, but not toward the minor. These students will need to take another advanced (300- or 400-level) Spanish course to obtain the credits typically obtained through Spanish 307.
•Spanish 307 is a prerequisite for the 300-level literature surveys.
•Students are strongly encouraged also to take Spanish 308E before registering for the survey classes.

2 Literature and Culture Surveys (6 credits)

__Spanish 341 Literary and Cultural Studies in Spanish
__Spanish 342 Iberian Literatures and Cultures
__Spanish 343 Latin American Literatures and Cultures

Study Abroad Options

__Spanish 354 A View from the Southern Cone (Chile)
__Spanish 3341 Literatura Española (Spain)
__Spanish 3361 Literatura Hispanoamericana (Spain/Chile)
__Spanish 350 Topics in Spanish Literature

Notes for Students Studying Abroad and/or Students Considering the Minor in Spanish

•A minimum of two survey courses are prerequisites for all 400-level courses.
•One literature course taken in the Chile or Spain RLL semester programs, designated as an acceptable substitute, may be used as one of the three required 300-level surveys.
Students who still must fulfill a survey on campus after returning from study abroad may, with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Spanish, petition to take an appropriate 400-level seminar in place of the remaining 300-level survey. Otherwise, students may not take a 400-level course to replace a required 300-level survey.

1 Topics in Culture or Linguistics Course (3 credits)

__Spanish 370 Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
__Spanish 380 Topics in Hispanic Cultures

Study Abroad Options:

__Spanish 3181 Spanish Culture and Civilization (Spain) semester (Please note that this is the only course for students at Carlos III or the Autónoma in Madrid that will count as a substitute for 380).
__Spanish 311 Spanish Culture and Civilization (Spain) summer in Madrid
__Spanish 313 Chilean Culture (Chile)

1 Elective Course (3 credits)

One of the following courses:
__Spanish 324/ U27 324 Conversation in Cinema (the only University College course that counts as elective credit for the minor).
__Spanish 331 Hispanic Art
__Spanish 351 Business Spanish
__Spanish 353 Medical Spanish
__Any other advanced 300- or 400-level Spanish (L38) class taught by a RLL faculty member (may be taken in English when available).

Study Abroad Options:

__Spanish 322 Contemporary Culture and Conversation, Summer Language Institute, Madrid
__Elective credit from Semester programs in Santiago or Madrid
__Elective credit from the Latin American Studies Summer program in Peru (either "Governance, Ethnicity, and Development in the Andean Region," or “Public Health, Healing, and Traditional Medicine in the Andean Region”).
__Elective credit from Petitioned, OTS, SIT or Comp Lit Programs (See study abroad guidelines)

• Spanish courses completed (and approved) from Study Abroad programs other than those at Washington University may be used for Spanish elective credit only. All Study Abroad credit requires authorization from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Updated February 2019

Please click here for a PDF of these requirements.

Honors Requirements

There are three types of academic recognition that an Arts & Sciences student may receive upon graduation: College Honors, Latin Honors, and Departmental  (“English”) honors.

College Honors

College Honors are automatically awarded to all Arts & Sciences students who graduate with an 8th-semester, overall GPA of 3.6 or higher and who have not participated in a department’s Latin Honors program. This designation is noted on a student’s transcript.

Latin & Departmental Honors: General Requirements

Latin Honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude) are awarded by the College on the basis of GPA. Latin Honors require the completion of a thesis or of honors by coursework. These honors are printed on the diploma and on the transcript.

General Requirements set by the College of Arts & Sciences

  • Latin Honors are determined on the basis of a student's performance throughout eight semesters in the college. To be eligible for such honors, the student must have maintained a 3.65 grade point average through the sixth semester and must be accepted for candidacy by the relevant department or program. Latin Honors candidates must enroll in such courses as their department or program may require, satisfactorily complete a significant project appropriate to the nature of the discipline, and pass such written and/or oral examinations as the department or program may set. To earn such honors, they must also have maintained the minimum 3.65 grade point average through the final semester.
  • Upon certification by the department that the Honors program has been satisfactorily completed, the student may be awarded the A.B.cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude according to the following proportions: the top 15 percent in overall grade point average of Latin honors candidates who complete the necessary requirements of their major departments will graduate summa cum laude; the next 35 percent magna cum laude; the next 50 percent cum laude.
  • To be eligible for Latin Honors, transfer students must have earned a minimum of 48 letter-graded Washington University units prior to the final semester. Grades earned at other institutions do not figure in the calculation of minimum averages required for eligibility for Latin Honors.
  • In addition to the General Requirements set by the College of Arts & Sciences for the college-wide Honors Program, eligibility and participation in the Latin Honors Program of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is determined as described below.

Latin & Departmental Honors: Departmental Requirements

Students may achieve Latin and Departmental Honors in French, Italian or Spanish by fulfilling all of the requirements of either of two tracks, detailed below. Students wishing to obtain Honors should consult their major advisors early to ensure that they will be eligible.

1. Honors By Coursework

  • Undergraduates who have maintained a GPA of 3.6 or higher are eligible to earn Honors through coursework. Those interested in doing so should declare their intention in the Fall of their Junior year and select their courses accordingly. All students will be required to take two additional 400-level courses in French or Spanish beyond the major requirements. These courses must be taught in the target language or approved by the Honors coordinator. The additional courses must be completed in the Spring semester of the Junior year and the Fall semester of the Senior year. Students should inform the professors of the two additional courses of their intent to complete Honors through coursework. The professors of the courses will supervise the student’s written work accordingly. Topics for the written work completed for the courses should be chosen with a view towards subsequent expansion of the assignment.
  • Once the coursework has been completed and a grade for the course has been assigned, the student will be asked to expand the written work for each course by an additional 7-10 pages, which should include the consultation and application of critical and theoretical texts if the student has not already done so. The student will thus complete an additional 14-20 pages in all, above and beyond the written work required for the two courses. The student will then submit the two revised, expanded papers to an Honors committee comprised of the professors of the student’s two additional courses as well as the professor in charge of Honors by coursework. The committee will meet in mid-March to discuss the student’s written work and the student will be given a one-hour oral examination based on the two papers. The committee will then determine the level of departmental Honors the student has merited.

2. Honors by Thesis

  • Students who wish to do a sustained research project should consult with a faculty member in their area of interest in the Junior year, keeping in mind that it may take some time to find an appropriate advisor for the project. The advisor must be a member of the tenure-track faculty. The student should then draft a thesis proposal (1-2 pp) in which he or she describes the nature of the project. The project advisor, as well as the major advisor, should then sign the proposal indicating approval. The signed proposal should be submitted to the Honors program faculty coordinator by early April; candidates will be notified of their acceptance by the end of April. Students who plan to study abroad during their Junior year are strongly encouraged to initiate contact with potential thesis advisors before going abroad, as the process may be significantly more difficult once they have left campus. Any exceptions to the April deadline require the consensus of the Honors coordinator, the thesis director and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  • If accepted, candidates for Honors by thesis should consult their thesis advisors about a research plan for the summer and should enroll in Honors 4951 (three credits, Pass/Fail) in the Fall. In 4951, students will meet in regular tutorials with their thesis advisors and draft a significant portion of the thesis. If their work in the Fall is satisfactory, they will be allowed to enroll in Honors 495 (three credits, for a letter grade) in the Spring, in which they will complete a sustained critical study, about fifty pages long, in the language of their major.
  • A defensible draft of the complete thesis is due before Spring Break, at least two weeks before the defense date. An oral examination (defense) must be held before the College of Arts & Sciences deadline for Honors Certification, which generally falls around the 25th of March. The thesis examining committee consists of three faculty members: the thesis advisor, the second reader, and the faculty coordinator of the Honors program. Students should anticipate making final revisions to the thesis after the defense. They will submit the final version to the Department by mid-April.

Honors Designations

At the end of the oral examination, based on their assessment of the quality of the student’s written work and oral defense, Honors examining committees will award the student one of the three following designations:

  • Departmental Honors with High Distinction
  • Departmental Honors with Distinction
  • Departmental Honors

Senior Capstone

Students with a prime major in French, Italian, or Spanish must fulfill a capstone requirement by either obtaining Latin honors (see details above) or completing an advanced undergraduate seminar (400-level) in their Junior or Senior year with a grade of B+ or better. 

Independent Study Policy

Students may propose to do a semester of independent study when existing course offering do not meet their academic needs.

Independent Study Details

  • The option for doing an independent study on literature exists only for students who have already completed 325 and 326 in French; two surveys in Spanish (330-333-334-335-336); 323 and 324 in Italian.
  • For independent studies on translation or culture, the option exists only for students who have already completed 307, 308, and one other 300-level course with grades of B+ or better.
  • Credits for the independent study will apply to the minor or major. However, in no case will an independent study substitute for a required course for either the minor or the major.
  • Faculty members often do not have the time to commit to directing independent studies and the department does not pressure faculty to undertake such assignments.
  • The student must first secure the provisional approval of both the faculty member conducting the independent study, and the DUS.
  • Prior to the start of the semester the student must obtain the final approval of the faculty member directing the independent study and the DUS based on their review of a detailed syllabus of the proposed course (compiled by the student with the aid of the faculty member), including all readings and written assignments. The workload for the course must resemble that of comparable courses at the same level.
  • The faculty member and the study must meet for at least one hour every other week during the semester to speak in the target language about the works studies.

Study Abroad

The Department and the University strongly encourage all students of foreign language to study abroad, both to improve their linguistic skills and to benefit from the experience of living in another culture. To permit students at virtually any level to participate, the Department sponsors a number of programs abroad, in France, Italy, Spain, and Chile. Students can select programs for summer, semester, or year-long study that award Washington University degree credits. Some of the programs are specialized and intended for students in Spanish and business or French and pre-med.

See our Study Abroad section for details

Summer Institute Courses

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures requires that all Summer Institute courses in Spanish, Italian, and French be taken for a letter grade. Consultation with departmental advisors must be completed prior to departure.

Washington University students who might instead be considering application to a program run by another university or organization should be aware that the credit earned there is not necessarily transferable to Washington University's degree program.