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Romance Studies

Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus

College: Arts and Sciences

Many students arrive at Ohio State with a desire to learn languages, and many already have a background in one or more Romance languages (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian) or Latin. This major is designed for students who are interested in developing skills in three Romance languages or Latin, as well as the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors of intercultural competence, which are essential for succeeding in today's interconnected and diverse world. Note that Romance Studies majors often have time in their schedule to complete a second major or one to two minors. 

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in Romance studies within the College of Arts and Sciences.

In order to test out of language and accelerate the time to degree, students should take a placement test if they have taken a Romance language in high school or have language skills from living in a country in which a Romance language is spoken.

Students may take a placement test in a Romance language if they are proficient in another. For example, a fluent Spanish speaker may choose to take the placement test for Italian in order to test out of one or more elementary-level courses.

Students who are interested in Romance studies should contact the undergraduate advisor in the department of the primary language as soon as possible in order to organize course work.

The Romance studies major requires between 41 and 48 credits. This does not count the prerequisites for the primary and secondary language. However, note that the 1000-level language course prerequisite hours for the primary or secondary language count for the open option general education requirement. In addition, many students test out of any number of elementary-level language courses. 

Students must choose one primary field, one secondary field and one tertiary field, each in a different language, and take one required course taught in English in the junior or senior year. See below for specific requirements.

Primary field

Students complete eight courses in the primary field, totaling 24 credits. 

  • Five courses beyond the 2000-level (Latin requires seven courses at or beyond the 2000-level)
  • Three courses (nine credits) of study abroad in the primary field (students who select Latin as their primary language are required to study abroad in the secondary language)

Secondary field 

  • Three courses beyond the 2000-level

Tertiary field 

  • Basic language proficiency, which depends on the options offered and the level into which a student tests
  • 1101–1103; no more than 12 credits 
  • Minimum of five credits of accelerated courses

Required course 

All students are required to take Italian/French/Spanish/Classics 5051: Latin and the Romance Languages. The goal of this course is to give students the opportunity to examine how the Romance languages are related and how they differ, thus bringing the work they have done in all languages together. The prerequisite for the course is one year of a Romance language; no knowledge of linguistics is expected.

Students must take three summer study abroad courses in the primary field after the 2000-level courses have been completed at Ohio State. The study abroad courses must be content courses, usually at the 3000 level or above.

Students pursuing the Romance studies major are encouraged to do an Honors research project with a professor specializing in their area of interest.

Learn more about the Honors and Scholars Programs at

Students pursuing the Romance studies major are encouraged to do a thesis in order to obtain research distinction with a professor specializing in their area of interest.

Students can participate in the activities of the language clubs, such as Oi Brasil!, Club Hispano, French Club and Italian Club, and converse with other language students and instructors at conversation tables and the Teaching and Learning Center in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Students are also encouraged to attend presentations by faculty and visiting scholars.

Multilingualism is a valued asset on the job market. Foreign language abilities are applicable in a variety of settings in the United States and abroad. The mastery of one or more languages allows students to consider careers in government, business, banking and finance, journalism, print and electronic media, foreign correspondence, the trade and tourism industries, and education. Students are required to take the World Languages Skills and Competencies Workshop one time during their undergraduate career. In this workshop, they learn how to communicate the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors of intercultural competence that they have developed in their major to future employers.

Students are also encouraged to attend the annual career night organized by the Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures in order to learn about careers in the foreign languages.

The goal of the Romance studies major is for students to become proficient in the language and cultures of multiple countries in order to become respectful, responsible and active global citizens.