Frequently Asked Questions
We hope the following answers to some Frequently Asked Questions will help you out, but please feel free to email or call us (781-736-3232) if you need more information.
If you have suggestions about our website, we are always happy to hear from you.
For French and Francophone Studies, please contact the Undergraduate Advising Head for French and Francophone Studies, Michael Randall.
For Hispanic Studies, please contact the Undergraduate Advising Head for Hispanic Studies, Lucia Reyes de Deu.
For Italian Studies, please contact the Undergraduate Advising Head for Italian Studies, Paola Servino.
In order to graduate, you must be able to function at an intermediate level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a foreign language. You may satisfy this requirement in several ways:
You may study a language at Brandeis. When you complete a 30-level course with a passing grade, you will have satisfied the language requirement.
If you scored
- 620 or higher on the SAT II language exam,
- 4 or higher on an Advanced Placement exam in language or literature, or
- 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam,
you have completed the language requirement. We encourage you to continue your studies in French and Francophone, Hispanic, or Italian Studies.
3. If you have an intermediate-level of proficiency in French, Spanish, or Italian but lack academic documentation, please contact the Director of the Language Program (see below). You may be eligible to take the Proficiency Exam.
Director of French and Italian Language Programs, Professor Hollie Harder
Director of Spanish Language Program, Professor Elena González Ros
4. If you grew up speaking Spanish at home but lack reading and/or writing skills, you may enroll in HISP 108a, Spanish for Heritage Speakers, to fulfill the language requirement. In addition, this course serves as a gateway to upper-level Hispanic Studies courses (HISP 104 and above depending on your level of proficiency).
Please use the information below to choose the best level to begin your study. A full listing of the current semester's course descriptions and prerequisites is on the ROMS website. For the most up-to-date information, please see the Schedule of Classes on the Registrar's website.
Students who have never studied French, Spanish, or Italian before OR who have studied it for less than one semester, generally enroll in a level 10 language course.
Students who have studied French, Spanish, or Italian before but not at Brandeis OR who scored below 620 on the SAT II exam, below 3 on the AP exam, below 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam, or who took the IB Standard Levels Exam should take a placement test to determine their level. Please contact the Director of the Language Program (see below) for on-line consent to the French, Spanish, or Italian Placement Test.
Students who scored 3 on the French, Spanish, or Italian AP exam, are not required to take the placement test; however they must email their standardized exam score to please contact the Director of the Language Program (see below) in order to receive a consent code for a 30-level course.
Students who scored 620–710 on the French, Spanish, or Italian SAT II exam, 4 on the AP exam, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam usually enroll in a 105 course.
Students who scored 720 or above on the French, Spanish, or Italian SAT II exam, 5 on the AP exam, or 6 or above on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam, usually enroll in a 106 course.
Students who grew up speaking Spanish at home but lack reading and/or writing skills usually enroll in HISP 108a, Spanish for Heritage Speakers.
All students need a consent code to enroll in Romance Studies language courses numbered 10–108.
Students currently enrolled in language courses will receive instructions about consent code distribution before the beginning of registration.
All others should email the Director of the Language Program (see below) as far in advance of Registration as possible with a description of their background in French, Italian or Spanish including classes taken, standardized test scores, and/or other experience with the language.
In French and Francophone Studies and Hispanic Studies, you have a choice about which course to take, and your decision will depend on where your interests lie. In all of the courses at this level, you will read, write, speak, and listen in the studied language, but each of the courses focuses on a specific skill or content area.
1. In French and Francophone Studies, two courses are offered. Both are intermediate-level courses and completion of either will fulfill the language requirement.
FREN 32 focuses on oral expression.
FREN 34 emphasizes cultural aspects of the French and Francophone world.
If you have further questions, please contact Professor Hollie Harder.
2. In Hispanic Studies, two courses are offered. Both are intermediate-level courses and completion of either will fulfill the language requirement.
HISP 32 focuses on oral expression.
HISP 34 emphasizes cultural aspects of the Hispanic world.
If you have further questions, please contact Professor Elena González Ros.
3. In Italian Studies, only ITAL 30 is offered. It allows students to work on oral expression and cultural aspects of the Italian world.
If you have further questions, please contact Professor Hollie Harder.
HISP 108a, Spanish for Heritage Students, would be a good choice for you. This course is designed specifically for students who grew up speaking Spanish and who would like formal training to improve their skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking about Hispanic and Latino cultural themes (usually offered every spring).
You may use this course to fulfill the language requirement or as a gateway to upper-level Hispanic Studies courses (HISP 104 and above depending on your level of proficiency).
Please visit the website of Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study (B.U.G.S.).
B.U.G.S., a program of the Office of Academic Services, is a study program open to all Brandeis undergraduates. Trained facilitators run small group sessions to go over course material and help prepare for exams. Group Study Leaders are undergraduates who have successfully completed the relevant course(s), are recommended by faculty, and have been trained by Academic Services.
You can find the list of BUGS tutors for the current semester in the sidebar of the B.U.G.S. website.
We encourage all students to explore options for studying abroad. Studying abroad offers unparalleled opportunities for learning a language and culture as well as for intellectual and personal development. Study abroad provides students with daily interaction in the target language and enables them to achieve two goals:
Greater linguistic precision in speaking, reading, writing and listening to the language.
The experience of living and learning the culture in an authentic setting.
More information can be found on the Study Abroad sections of the ROMS website:
Students who wish to learn more about studying abroad should visit the Study Abroad Website. They can help you find the study abroad program that fits your needs the best as well as answer questions about using financial aid for study abroad.
If you decide to participate in a program approved by Brandeis, credits from your study abroad are transferable. Students who wish to count courses taken abroad toward their major or minor should also speak with their undergraduate advising head.
The form to declare a major or minor is available on the Registrar's website.