Return to: Departments, Programs and Areas of Study
Professor Virginie A. Duzer, department chair
Professors Abecassis, Chávez-Silverman, Divita, Duzer, Montenegro1, Waller1
Professor Jack I. Abecassis, French coordinator
Adjunct Professor Grace Dávila-López, Spanish coordinator
Adjunct Professor Dávila-López
Associate Professors Cahill, Cartagena-Calderón,
Visiting Assistant Professors Dahi, Garrigou-Kempton, Gomez, Najera
Visiting Instructor El
Melissa Fitzpatrick, academic coordinator
The objective of a major in Romance Languages and Literatures is to develop advanced language skills and to provide a broad and deep understanding of diverse literary and cultural traditions of French- and Spanish-speaking countries. In upper-division classes, the aim is to develop analytical and writing skills along with oral proficiency through intensive critical study of Francophone and Hispanic literature, cinema, culture and history.
To foster an awareness of a culture different from our own, departmental courses are often interdisciplinary in approach, introducing art and music; historical background; social, philosophical and political issues; and other cultural concerns. Many are affiliated with the programs in Gender & Women’s Studies, Chicano/a-Latino/a Studies, Latin American Studies and Media Studies. Most of the courses make extensive use of multimedia. The department also works closely with the Study Abroad Program.
Majors in French, Spanish and Romance Languages and Literatures have gone on to a wide variety of careers (medicine, law, business, government, allied health care, university and secondary school education). They have served in the Peace Corps and accepted prestigious scholarships (Watson, Fulbright, Rotary, etc.). The ability to speak a foreign language and the knowledge of another culture are highly prized by employers and lead to a significant degree of satisfaction in work and in life.
The department also offers a minor in French and in Spanish.
|1On leave fall 2022
||2On leave spring 2023
||3On leave 2022-23
Placement. Any entering student who has previously studied and plans to take French and/or Spanish must take the appropriate placement examination to ascertain the appropriate course level. This includes students who have received Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit in the language. Scores on the placement exam do not fulfill the language requirement; they indicate the appropriate course to take at Pomona.
Oldenborg Center. All students may apply to live in the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations, a coeducational residence hall on the Pomona College campus. Residence sections in French and Spanish provide daily opportunities to practice and improve language skills. The formal requirement for living in Oldenborg is one semester’s study of a foreign language at the college level or the equivalent. Conversation classes led by the foreign language residents are available in Oldenborg. Oldenborg Center also hosts language tables for students and faculty and native speakers of the language. Any student of the Claremont Colleges is welcome to attend the language tables. Further information about the Oldenborg program is available from the director and at www.pomona.edu/administration/oldenborg-center.
Transfer credit: Approval for transfer credit satisfying foreign language or major/minor requirements in RLL will be considered after departmental review of syllabi and work completed. Students may consult with coordinators in advance regarding the equivalency of courses taken at another institution.
Limitation on enrollment. So far as is practicable, enrollment in Romance languages may be limited. Courses numbered 1, 2, 22 and 33 should not exceed 18 students per section; courses numbered 44 and higher should not exceed 15 students per section.
Preparation for graduate study. Students who plan to continue a romance language or romance literature in graduate school are reminded that a second modern language is usually required.
Study abroad is considered an important part of the French and Spanish major curriculum at Pomona and students in Romance languages are expected to complement their Claremont curriculum with a semester or a year stay in France, Spain, Latin America or French-speaking countries, offered through the Study Abroad Program of Pomona College. Most of the coursework completed in France or French-speaking countries counts toward the major and minor. (See below.)
It is strongly recommended that students studying abroad take a French or Spanish course the semester prior to leaving. Currently, students may study abroad on the following approved programs:
Paris, France: Middlebury College
Montpellier, France: The Global Campus of the University of Minnesota
Nantes, France: Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
Yaoundé, Cameroon: School for International Training (Brattleboro, VT)
NOTE: For the major and the minor, only courses taught in French count. For the major, courses must consider French or francophone literature, cultural history, politics, economics, geography, etc. Grammar courses do not count toward the major, but they do count toward the minor.
Spanish: Spain/Latin America
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Middlebury College Program
Santiago, Chile: Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
Cali, Colombia: CET
Monteverde, Costa Rica: CIEE (Biology and Ecology)
Havana, Cuba: Sarah Lawrence College (SLC)
Quito, Ecuador: School for International Training (SIT)
Merida, Mexico: IFSA-Butler University Program
Madrid, Spain: Middlebury College Program (Córdoba, Getafe, Logroño)
Salamanca, Spain: Institute for the International Education of Students (IES)
NOTE: For the major and the minor, only courses taught in Spanish count. For the major, courses must consider Spanish or Latin American literature, cultural history, politics, economics, geography, etc. Grammar courses do not count toward the major.
Requirements for all Majors
Students completing a major in French, Spanish or Romance Languages and Literatures are required to complete senior exercises as described below. They are expected to have an advisor in the department, to participate in the Study Abroad Program and to reside in Oldenborg Center for one year.
Senior Exercises. Detailed information concerning the senior exercises for each of these majors is contained in the information packets, available in the department office or from the coordinator. All majors should obtain a copy of the appropriate document during their junior year.
Majors in French are required to write a Senior Paper (FREN 192 PO ) or Senior Thesis (FREN 191 PO ) in French and to enroll in the Senior Oral Presentation (FREN 193 PO ). All senior majors meet as a group once per month in the fall. By the end of the third week of the fall semester senior year, every major must have the topic for the senior paper or senior thesis approved by a director. Another faculty member must agree to serve as a second reader for the paper or thesis and the proposal must be approved in writing by the section coordinator. The senior paper counts as a half-course and must be at least 12-15 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes. It must be completed during the first semester of the senior year, although under exceptional circumstances, a student may request to do the senior paper in the spring. The senior thesis earns one course credit (one-half course credit per semester) and must be at least 30 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes. Approximately one-half of the thesis (bibliography and 12-15 pages of the thesis itself) must be completed during the first semester of the senior year and the remainder completed during the second semester. At the end of the fall semester, the grade for the thesis will indicate that the course is in progress (N) and the grade earned upon completion of the thesis will replace the ‘N’ grade.
Majors in French who choose to write a thesis must prepare an oral presentation of 20-30 minutes in length in French on the topic of the thesis; those who write a senior paper will present an oral presentation of 15-20 minutes. The presentation will be delivered in mid-April during the second semester of the senior year to the faculty and majors of the French section and to other interested students. A single grade will be awarded for the paper/thesis; this grade will be posted on the student’s transcript after the second semester of the senior year. No course credit is awarded for the oral presentation, and it is graded on a Pass/No Pass (P/NP) basis. Students who do exceptionally well on the senior thesis will be eligible to obtain distinction in the senior exercise and may receive a Phyllis Johnson Award.
Majors in Spanish are required to write a Senior Research Paper (SPAN 192 PO ) or Senior Thesis (SPAN 191 PO ) in Spanish. The senior research paper will be based on a seminal paper that the student has written in the context of a Pomona College upper-division course (SPAN 120A PO or higher). The senior research paper counts as half-course and must be at least 25 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes. By the end of the first week of the semester (fall or spring of the senior year) in which the research paper will be completed, the student must submit a description of the project, which will be reviewed by the Spanish section Senior Exercise Committee for approval. A director, ideally the professor of the course in which the seminal paper was written and a second reader will oversee the exercise. Students who wish to write a senior thesis must present a senior thesis proposal by the 13th week of their junior year. The thesis proposal must be approved by the Spanish section Senior Exercise Committee. If the senior thesis proposal is not approved, the student must complete a senior research paper. The senior thesis earns one course credit (one-half course credit per semester) and must be at least 35 pages in length, exclusive of bibliography and notes. Approximately one-half of the thesis (bibliography and 15-20 pages of the thesis itself) must be completed during the first semester of the senior year and the remainder will be completed during the second semester. At the end of the fall semester, the grade for the thesis will indicate that the course is in progress (N) and the grade earned upon completion of the thesis will replace the ‘N’ grade. Students who complete the senior thesis meritoriously will be eligible to obtain distinction in the senior exercise.
Read more about our learning objectives:
Return to: Departments, Programs and Areas of Study