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Romance Languages and Literatures

Romance Languages and Literatures may be elected as a departmental major program. A major in Romance Languages and Literatures allows students to include more than one Romance language in a program of study that also encourages them to discover and to make connections between the two Romance languages and cultures that they choose to pursue. All students should consult with an RLL major advisor to develop a program of study that best corresponds to their interests and career plans.


Advising appointments are scheduled online or at the department office, 4108 Modern Languages Building, (734) 764-5344.

Study Abroad

Majors in Romance Languages and Literatures are encouraged to consider the possibility of studying abroad for at least one of their languages. The University of Michigan jointly sponsors study abroad programs in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Information about these programs is available at the Center for Global and Intercultural Study, (734) 764-4311. 

Major Requirements

Effective Winter 2014

Major Prerequisite

Same as those for majors in French, Italian, and Spanish and for the minor in Portuguese:

  • FRENCH 235 for students of French
  • ITALIAN 230, 232, or 233 for students of Italian
  • PORTUGUESE 232, 280, or 415 for students of Portuguese
  • SPANISH 277 (or 275 and 276) for students of Spanish

In addition, upper-level courses have the following prerequisites:

  • Two French courses FRENCH 250-299 for most French courses 300 and above
  • ITALIAN 230, 232, or 233 for other major-level Italian courses
  • PORTUGUESE 287 for other minor-level Portuguese courses
  • Three 279-399-level Spanish courses for most 400-level Spanish courses

Major Program

A minimum of 42 credits consisting of the following:

I. A minimum of 33 credits of coursework from French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish which meet the following qualifications:

• only courses that would count toward majors in the individual language may be used to satisfy this requirement
• courses must be listed in the LSA Bulletin as taught in the target language
• a minimum of 12 credits in each of the first two target languages
• a minimum of 21 credits from upper-level courses (at least six credits in each of the first two target languages) 

N.b. "upper-level" means:

  • 300 or above in French and Italian
  • 400 or above in Spanish
  • 400 or above in Portuguese

II. A minimum of 9 additional credits, including:
1. one course in Romance philology or linguistics
2. one elective:
a. a ROMLANG/ROMLING number; or
b. another concentration-level course in French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish (in English or the target language)
3. ROMLANG 498, the Senior Seminar in RLL

Part I of the requirements gives students the choice between treating the languages more or less equally and having "primary" and "secondary" languages.

Part II of the requirements fosters "bridges" between the two languages that are of both a practical/linguistic nature and an intellectual one.

Requirement II.1 grounds the concentration in Romance Languages and Literatures in an understanding of the linguistic "kinship" between Romance languages. The following courses have been approved by the RLL curriculum committee as options for fulfilling the linguistics requirement (II.1):

  • ROMLING 300, Introduction to the Romance Languages
  • ROMLING 400, Topics in Romance Languages & Literatures, sections titled, "Romance-Based Pidgins and Creoles" or "Romance-Based Bilingualism"
  • LING 446/LACS 446

Requirement II.2 encourages students to explore the intellectual connections between the fields of French and Francophone studies, Hispanic studies, Italian studies, and Portuguese studies while fostering both a comparative and interdisciplinary understanding of Romance studies. Students should have their elective (Requirement II.2) approved by the RLL advisor.

All RLL majors will be enrolled in the senior seminar (Requirement II.3) during the fall semester of their senior year. This seminar builds on students' prior coursework as a basis for reinforcing connections between courses in French, Italian, Portuguese, and/or Spanish as well as offers an introduction to the methods of Romance Studies and an exploration of potential topics for which crossing boundaries between languages might provide productive avenues of inquiry. A major component of the senior seminar involves individual research projects tailored to each student's linguistic competences.

Residence requirement: A minimum of 21 of the required 42 credits must be taken either in residence or through a study abroad program affiliated with the University of Michigan.

RLL Major Worksheet (PDF)

Teaching Certificate

By taking a number of courses in each language beyond the requirements for the major in Romance Languages and Literatures, students may qualify for teaching certification in both a major and a minor language. The exact requirements for certification are available at the School of Education website. Candidates for a secondary school teaching certificate should study the general information about teaching certificate requirements,which appears under the Teacher Certification Program in this Bulletin, and contact the School of Education.