The study of languages, literatures and cultures is an essential and intrinsic component of the mission of Villanova University and of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, committed to the Augustinian and Catholic values of diversity, liberal and international education.

Upon graduating students are expected to have the following competencies:

I. Linguistic competence

  • To communicate accurately and effectively with an advanced level of language proficiency, both orally and in writing.
  • Achieve a rating of at least “intermediate high” on the ACTFL proficiency tests.
  • To articulate ideas and arguments clearly, effectively, and appropriately in a public forum for a diversity of audiences and a variety of purposes.

II. Critical Thinking

  • To employ analytical skills to interpret and engage a variety of formats including literature, visual media, and cultural practices.
  • To conduct research, and employ critical and theoretical models while writing about topics related to the major.
  • To integrate knowledge from various disciplines, and to gain a deeper understanding of the major.
  • To clearly and effectively articulate, debate and defend personal viewpoints and opinions on complex topics.

III. Content Knowledge

  • To acquire and expand breadth and depth of knowledge of a variety of literary genres, historical periods, cultural practices and theoretical frameworks.

IV. Cultural competence

  • To develop the ability to contextualize the areas of study through an informed understanding and appreciation of the cultures and communities studied.
  • To gain knowledge of specific cultural issues and debates, and propose creative and effective interventions.
  • To recognize, critically address, and collaboratively negotiate cultural diversity.

V. Career Readiness

  • To identify and apply linguistic and critical skills, as well as cultural literacy to interact and collaborate with the local community and globalized world.
  • To be able to explore and seek out job and service-related opportunities and take the necessary steps to pursue them.
  • To reflect on the personal, professional, and existential value of a humanities degree, and to articulate the meaning and purpose of the chosen course of study. 

Departments/programs/subject areas supported

The depatment of Romance Languages offers undergraduate majors and minors in French and Francophone, Italian, Spanish Studies, and a Graduate Programs in Hispanic Studies.

The Romance Languages department also partners with other departments on campus to offer joint degrees including, but not limited to language and international relations, communication, health, public policy, law, and administration.

French & Francophone Studies

The French and Francophone Studies Program (FFS) of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers a major and a minor. The faculty are involved in the Honors Program, and other interdisciplinary pursuits on campus, and they serve as advisors of the Cercle français and the Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society. They also organize a summer-long study abroad program in Lille and Paris and strongly recommend advanced study in the Francophone world. FFS emphasize language skills and offer interdisciplinary studies in the faculty's areas of specialization: French literature and civilization; the evolution of Western thought in France; the cultures and literatures of the Francophone world; and stylistics and translation.

The influence of French language and literature crosses centuries as well as geographic boundaries. Francophone studies is a dynamic and rapidly expanding field, focusing on the literatures, politics, history, cultures, language, identities and related studies of French-speaking countries.

These regions now include Africa, the Caribbean, North America, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in addition to francophone Europe. Villanova’s interdisciplinary FFS have been designed in response to these developments and provide students with a thorough grounding in the history, politics, cultural production (literatures, film,theater), sociolinguistics, post-colonial experiences, and development of Francophone countries. Course work also assesses the role of France within and outside metropolitan France.

La francophonie represents a worldwide community and network. Employment possibilities for FFS graduates include academia, journalism,  development, tourism, current affairs, and international organizations, to name a few. Numerous Villanova alumni live and workin France and Francophone countries, where they use their French language skills in teaching, publishing, international business and government organizations.

Italian Studies

The Italian Studies program of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers a major and a minor.

The program offers a variety of courses, from the elementary to the advanced level. In addition to emphasizing language proficiency, the Italian Division offers interdisciplinary courses, leading students to explore the multiple facets of Italian culture, related to Italy’s vast heritage (in literature, art, music, history and philosophy) and to its present contributions in the world of business, science, and technology. The classroom experience is enriched through the mediation of the Italian Club (Circolo Italiano)  which sponsors a variety of cultural activities, including field trips to points of interest, scholarly lectures, and conversation tables.

Faculty are involved in the Honors Program, and in a joint-program with the University of Urbino, offering students the possibility to spend a summer or a semester abroad. They are also engaged in the active organization of public conferences, events and lectures.

Knowledge of Italian provides access to a rich cultural background, and, at the same time, to a singular perspective on contemporary world. While exploring the master of Western thought (Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Bernini, Galileo, and Vico to name a few), the encounter with Italian culture provides also a singular reflection on current events, by embodying a unique business model (in fashion, design, and the culinary industry) and a peculiar political perspective on Europe and America.

Spanish Studies

Spanish is the language that the majority of students in the United States (and in Villanova) chooses to study at the present time for very good reasons:  It is the second major language spoken in the world (after Mandarin)*  and it is the second language spoken in the United States. Therefore it will be very useful and advantageous to know Spanish in any career path that students may choose.Approximately 800 students take Spanish undergraduate courses every semester at Villanova. Students are encouraged to spend summers and semesters abroad in Spain and Central and South America, to obtain a greater proficiency in the language.

The influence of Spanish crosses centuries as well as geographic boundaries. It is a dynamic and exciting language used in diverse parts of the world, such as: Central, South, North America, the Caribbean and Spain.  Spanish and its different cultures are taught at Villanova in interdisciplinary courses, in the Liberal Arts Program, Cultural Studies program, and in courses that were designed in response to these developments. The classes provide students with a thorough grounding in the history, politics, cultural production (literatures, film, theater), sociolinguistics, post-colonial experiences, and development of the Hispanic world.

Resources Collected

NOTE: Electronic format is preferred for all Library holdings unless otherwise noted.

  • Scholarly monographs in electronic and print format (academic and trade press preferred)
  • Academic Journals in electronic (Peer reviewed preferred)
  • Academic Databases (especially those dealing specifically with English literature related content)

Resources and materials collected selectively or by request:

  • Audiovisual materials
  • Academic journals in Print format (Only if electronic is unavailable)
  • Reference data, handbooks, dictionaries, and other material (electronic strongly preferred)

Resources not collected:

  • Microform
  • Non-Villanova theses and dissertations
  • Conference proceedings (selectively)
  • Ephemera
  • Preprints
  • Print government documents
  • Hardware and software manuals
  • Instructor’s materials
  • Juvenile works
  • Manuscripts
  • Pamphlets

Collaborations within the library

Romance languages has a strong cross over with English literature due to its teaching of French, Spanish, and Italian literatures. It also crosses over with a number of other departments incluidng, but not limited to social sciences, business, history, and communicaitons. 

External collaborations