Why Specialize in Romance Studies

UBC’s Department of French, Hispanic and Italian Studies (FHIS) recently introduced a new major, minor and honours program in Romance Studies. In this article, Dr. Elizabeth Lagresa-González explains what makes this program unique and what students will gain from it.

“Romance Studies takes a global approach to the study of language and literature—crossing cultural, national and disciplinary boundaries.”
Assistant Professor of Spanish

What can students expect from Romance Studies at UBC?

A specialization in Romance Studies allows students to gain an appreciation of Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, etc., which derive from Latin), including their varied cultures and literatures through a uniquely interdisciplinary, trans-national and cross-cultural perspective.

Students have the opportunity to study more than one of the Romance languages if they wish, and develop a solid foundation of linguistic competency in at least one Romance language—French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Catalan.

Also, through a variety of courses taught in English, students will consider both a historical and contemporary approach to studying the regions of Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and their many contacts.

The exciting variety of current and upcoming course offerings includes: History of the Romance Languages (RMST 300); Language Contact, Multilingualism and Minorities in the Romance-Speaking World (RMST 306); Introduction to Literatures and Cultures of the Romance World I & II (RMST 201 & 202) and Introduction to Romance Language Cinema (RMST 305).

“One of the main features that makes Romance Studies stand apart is that it allows students to create their own one-of-a-kind learning path.”

What makes a major, minor, or honours degree in Romance Studies unique?

One of the main features that makes Romance Studies stand apart is that it allows students to create their own one-of-a-kind learning path. As a Romance Studies major, minor, or honours student, you will have the flexibility to tailor a sequence of courses to your own interests and learn through varied comparative approaches from medieval to modern times.

Another key feature of Romance Studies is that students take a global approach to the study of language and literature, crossing cultural, national and disciplinary boundaries.

What transferrable skills and knowledge will students gain?

Your appreciation of Romance languages, cultures and literatures will become more refined as you gain advanced competency in: comparative analysis; cultural, textual, linguistic, visual and film analysis; research and documentation.

Students will also develop a broad cultural and transnational perspective of yesterday and today through varied interdisciplinary courses, enriching their understanding of an ever more complex and interconnected world.

What types of students would be particularly interested in specializing in Romance Studies?

If you have an interest in transcultural perspectives and have an independent and inquisitive mind, you will find your intellectual home in our program.

Moreover, students who want to focus on transnational and multicultural studies within a particular discipline offered at UBC—including Business and Economics, Interdisciplinary Studies, Education, Health, History, Law, Politics, Linguistics, European Studies, and International Relations, among others—will find Romance Studies an excellent complement as a second major or minor.

The program will also be particularly valuable for students specializing in the study of foreign languages, and fields that value linguistic, literary and cultural diversity.