Cartagena landscape photo

Major Requirements (12 courses or 36 credit hours)

Romance Language Major Advising Worksheet

The requirements for a major in Romance Languages and Literatures include competency in two languages and successful completion of 36 credit hours or 12 courses at the 20202 level and above, distributed equally between the two respective language programs.

  • One elective course at the 20202 level or above in each program. (any exception requires permission by DUS)
  • 30310 in one program;
  • Two literature and culture overview courses in each language and literature program (French or Italian); Spanish requires either four overview or area (two in peninsular and two in Latin American) or a combination of two literature and culture overview courses in two areas and two 40000-level courses in the other areas;
  • Two 40000-level courses in each program (if the area requirements in Spanish are fulfilled with two 40000 level courses, these courses may count for the 40000-level requirement in Spanish);
  • Senior seminar (53000) in one program (alternate to 30310 course program).

The Honors Track in Romance Languages and Literatures

To be eligible for the honors track as a Romance Languages Major, students must be full majors with a minimum GPA of 3.7 in the major, and a majority of coursework completed toward the major. Although majors are admitted to the honors track by invitation, qualified students may petition for admission in the second semester of their junior year.

What is the honors track?

To be eligible for the Romance Languages Major Honors Track, students must be full majors with a minimum GPA of 3.7 in the major, and a majority of coursework completed toward the major. It is strongly recommended that students take at least one 40000-level class at Notre Dame by the end of their junior year.

In addition to the general requirements for the major, Honors Track students must complete an eleventh course or 3.0 additional credit hours.  Highly motivated students who have already been accepted to the Honors Track may consider one of the following options:

  • Completing an honors thesis (35-45 pages) course under faculty direction. The student will receive (3.0) credits in the spring semester for writing the thesis that typically builds from the Senior Seminar course. The honors thesis option must be carried out under the direction of a department faculty member, in the area of specialization. Students will identify the professor with whom he or she intends to work, obtain approval of the topic, and submit application materials by March 15th of the junior year to the DUS. Students are also encouraged to take at least one course that addresses cultural or literary theoretical questions and readings; this course may be a 40000-level course offered in the Department of Romance Languages, or a similar course in a related field (English, gender studies, FTT, philosophy, sociology, etc.).
  • Completing a graduate-level ROSP course earning a grade of A- or higher, in which they will write a substantive research paper which constitutes the honors thesis. If the student does not maintain the 3.7 GPA through graduation and/or earns a grade less than an A-, he or she will receive credit for the course but will not graduate with honors.

Although majors are admitted to the honors track by invitation, qualified students may petition for admission in the second semester of their junior year.

For full consideration, students should contact Professor Keith Schaefer, Director of Undergraduate Studies, no later than March 15 of their junior year.  Applications for eligible seniors will be accepted through October 1st. Final decisions on admission to the honors track will be made in consultation with program faculty and the DUS.

Senior Thesis 

We encourage all majors to write a thesis. During your senior year, you will register in the FALL for the Senior Seminar course conducted in the target language, and during this time you will choose your thesis topic and begin to develop the thesis. In the spring semester, you will register for the independent study course designated as Senior Thesis (1.0 credit hours) in order to complete your thesis under the direction of your supervising professor

What is the senior thesis?

The senior thesis is a written capstone project that typically involves a significant research component, but the emphasis is still on original thought. Regardless of the nature of the project, the Senior Thesis might best be viewed as an extended essay. In formulating, researching, and writing the Thesis, students majoring in Spanish will work one-on-one with a Thesis director.

Your thesis will be a written document of approximately 40 pages in length. The thesis may be written in English or the target language. 

Students should begin thinking about a thesis or project in their third year at Notre Dame. Those who study in the spring of their junior year may want to write to professors they might want to work with, indicating their potential thesis interests. Ideally, students will begin to research topics and prepare a reading list for the thesis during the summer before their senior year.  Typically, the advisor for the project will be a faculty member in the department. Both advisor and student will agree on the amount of consultation required and deadlines for submitting drafts and completing readings. It is important that all parties have a clear sense of procedures and deadlines.

Students planning to write a senior thesis must:

  • Submit the title and abstract of the project, along with the names and signatures of their advisor and readers by October 15th of the student’s senior year
  • Complete at least an outline and a bibliography for the project during the fall semester while taking the Senior Seminar (Italian and Spanish); for many students the paper required for completion of the Senior Seminar will form part of the final thesis
  • The second semester of the senior year must be devoted to completing the writing or the project work, and a full draft of the thesis or project must be submitted to the advisor by March 15th
  • The final, complete version of the thesis or project must be submitted by April 15th. Students should submit one copy to each reader and one electronic and one hard copy to the Department.