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Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Chair

Gabriela Nouzeilles

Departmental Representative

Pedro Meira Monteiro

Director of Graduate Studies

Marina S. Brownlee

Professor

Marina S. Brownlee, also Comparative Literature

Rubén Gallo

Angel G. Loureiro

Gabriela Nouzeilles

Ronald E. Surtz

Associate Professor

Pedro Meira Monteiro

Assistant Professor

Bruno M. Carvalho

Germán Labrador Méndez

Rachel L. Price

Senior Lecturer

Nicola T. Cooney

Lecturer

Alberto Bruzos Moro

Associated Faculty

Jeremy I. Adelman, History

João G. Biehl, Anthropology

Michael G. Wood, English, Comparative Literature


Information and Departmental Plan of Study

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures offers a liberal arts major designed to give students a thorough grounding in languages, literatures, and cultures. Students are encouraged to complement their courses in Spanish or Portuguese with related and varied courses in other literatures, as well as in art history, history, anthropology, sociology, comparative literature, and other humanities subjects.

In addition to serving as the focus for an education in liberal arts, the Spanish and Portuguese concentration can be the basis for graduate or professional study. In mostly small classes and seminars, allowing extensive student/teacher interaction, students become equipped to take up careers in many walks of life, including journalism, business, law, government service, and international affairs, as well as teaching and research careers. For nonconcentrators, the department offers a rich set of language, literature, and culture courses, from introductory to very advanced. It also offers a popular certificate program, allowing the study of Spanish or Portuguese to be combined with any concentration available at Princeton.

Advanced Placement

A language Advanced Placement Examination score of 5 or SAT Subject Test score of at least 760 is required to satisfy the A.B. foreign language requirement at entrance, or for admission to a 200-level course.

Prerequisites

The normal requirement for admission to the department is successful completion of two 200-level courses in Spanish or one 200-level course in Portuguese.

Early Concentration

Qualified students are encouraged to decide on their concentration as early as possible in their sophomore year. In this way they can benefit from departmental advising on course selection and on the possibility of spending a semester or the whole junior year abroad.

Program of Study

All concentrators are strongly advised to include one advanced language course (SPA 207 or SPA 307 for Spanish; POR 208 or POR 209 for Portuguese) in their subject(s) of concentration. All Spanish concentrators must take one course in pre-1800 literature. University regulations limit to 12 the number of departmental courses allowed to each student in his or her concentration.

Tracks. Departmental courses cover a wide array of literary, cultural, social, historical, and political topics. Students are, therefore, able to pursue courses of study that are almost tailor-made to their own individual interests.

The concentration offers two possible tracks of study:

1. Concentration in literature and culture (Spanish or Portuguese). It requires a minimum of eight upper-division courses, at least five of which must be in the language of concentration. With the approval of the departmental representative, up to three cognate courses in other departments can be counted toward the concentration in this track. Up to three courses taken during a semester abroad may be approved toward the concentration. Freshman seminars on topics related to the area of concentration may be counted toward the required eight upper-division courses.

2. Concentration in translation theory and practice. It requires SPA 307 and at least seven more upper-division courses in Spanish. At least three of the seven upper-division SPA courses must focus on translation, taken from among 309, 380, 381, 382, or 384. With the approval of the departmental representative, up to three courses related to translation taught in other departments can be counted toward concentration in this track. Students enrolled in this track can count TRA 200 as one of the two 200-level courses required as prerequisites for the concentration. Up to three courses taken during a semester abroad may be approved toward the concentration. Freshman seminars on Hispanic topics may be counted toward the eight upper-division courses required for the concentration.

In both tracks, students have the option of combining two languages in the concentration. The two-language option requires five courses in Spanish or Portuguese, and three courses in any other language.

Language Programs. Students who wish to continue a language begun in secondary school must have their proficiency measured either by a College Board score for admission (see Advanced Placement above) or by the department's placement test administered online during the summer before course registration. Placement will depend on previous training and proficiency.

Spanish Language Program. The normal program for beginners seeking a basic mastery of Spanish is the sequence 101, 102, 107, which satisfies the University's language requirement.

Students with advanced placement in Spanish will be placed in either 103 or 105, and will proceed respectively to 107 or 108 to satisfy the University language requirement. They may also be placed directly into 108. Students who have successfully completed 107 may not take 108.

Course credit in 107 or 108 is also available through approved summer courses abroad (see Study and Work Abroad below). To satisfy the language requirement, students must take the departmental placement test. Funding may be available for selected and committed students.

All questions concerning placement and summer study are dealt with by the senior lecturer.

Portuguese Language Program. The normal sequence for students seeking a mastery of Portuguese is currently 108, 109, which satisfies the University's language requirement. POR 108 is designed for, but not limited to, students who have already fulfilled the language requirement in Spanish, French, or Italian. Students are encouraged to contact an instructor of Portuguese to find out whether they qualify to take 108. POR 110 is an intensive one-semester course and may not be used to fulfill the language requirement.

For questions concerning placement and summer study, please contact the senior lecturer.

Independent Work

Junior Papers. Students should discuss as soon as possible their area of interest with the departmental representative in order to find the most appropriate advisers for the junior papers (JPs).  By the end of September (first JP), and by mid-February (second JP), all juniors should have contacted their advisers to discuss a plan of work.  The first JP (fall semester) should be about 4,000 words, and the second JP (spring semester) should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words.  Both JPs may be written in English, in which case a three-page summary in the target language must be provided.  Or, the JPs can be written in the target language, with a three-page summary in English.  Include the Princeton University pledge on all papers.

Students following two languages are encouraged to write one JP in each of the languages of concentration.

Senior Thesis. Students should select a senior thesis adviser by the end of September at the latest.  The senior thesis is normally written in English, and should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words.  Topics chosen in the past have ranged over the whole field of Spanish and Portuguese studies, from linguistic problems and literary techniques through close textual analysis to thematic and ideological studies. Students primarily interested in culture and civilization have written on art, political and economic issues, education, and a variety of social questions. The senior thesis is a major commitment of a student's time and energy, and the most important yardstick for choosing a topic is willingness to spend many hours on a particular set of texts or problems.

Resources are available to assist students with the costs of senior thesis research, including, when appropriate, foreign travel. The best time to use them is the summer preceding the senior year.

Senior Departmental Examination

The senior departmental examination, taken in May of the senior year, is designed to ensure that students have become familiar with a list of indispensable literary texts. A list of required and recommended readings is provided for each of the languages and literatures taught in the department and guides students in preparing for the written examination. For the examination, students choose one of the reading lists. On the first day of the examination (Part I), students write essays on the required readings. On the second day (Part II), students identify and comment upon five out of eight passages excerpted from the chosen reading list. Essays in Part I have to be written in the language of concentration, while answers in Part II may be written in English. 

Study and Work Abroad

The department strongly encourages its concentrators to spend as much time as they can in any country where their language(s) of concentration is (are) spoken. There are many ways of doing this within the four-year undergraduate degree: through study abroad for one or two semesters; through summer study abroad; and through a summer internship abroad. All students must visit the Office of International Programs, 36 University Place, Suite 350, to become acquainted with the administrative procedures related to study abroad.

Junior Semester/Junior Year Abroad. Students planning to spend a semester or their whole junior year abroad should seek advice from the departmental representative and from relevant faculty in choosing a suitable program of study. Further assistance is available from the Office of International Programs. Departmental and University approval of programs abroad is required.

Grades awarded by foreign institutions for courses that are recognized in lieu of Princeton courses are not included in the consideration of departmental honors.

Students who study abroad are not exempted from independent work requirements. The department usually can make arrangements to find a JP adviser in the location where the student spends the semester or year abroad.

Approved courses taken abroad in one semester will normally count for up to three departmental courses. Students must complete the program abroad to the standards required by the foreign institution.

Summer Language Study. All students interested in languages are encouraged to study abroad during the summer in one of the programs recommended by the department and the Office of International Programs. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures has a summer program in Toledo, Spain, for students with intermediate and advanced knowledge of Spanish. The department offers a number of scholarships to attend that program, as well as to attend other language programs in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Summer Work Abroad. Information about placements and internships abroad may be obtained from the Office of International Programs.

Certificate in Language and Culture

Admission. The program is open to all undergraduates in all departments. Ordinarily, students concentrating in language and literature departments, including comparative literature, will be eligible for the certificate in language and culture provided that: (a) the linguistic base for the language and culture certificate is different from the linguistic base of the concentration; and (b) the work required for the language and culture certificate does not duplicate the requirements of the concentration. Students pursuing area studies certificates may earn the certificate in language and culture provided that: (a) the courses they elect to satisfy the requirements of the area studies program are different from those they elect to satisfy the requirements of the language and culture certificate program (in agreement with the Program in Latin American Studies, one course can be used toward both a certificate in Spanish and Portuguese and a certificate from the Program in Latin American Studies); and (b) they submit a piece of independent work in addition to the independent work that satisfies the requirements of the area studies program.

Application forms are available on the department's Web page. Completed forms are submitted during the senior year. A separate application must be completed for each language in which a certificate will be pursued.

Plan of Study. The certificate in language and culture is available in Spanish and Portuguese and involves satisfactory completion of the following course requirements:

Spanish:
1. Four 300-level (or higher) departmental courses in the Spanish language, literature, or culture. At the discretion of the departmental representative, students who study abroad during the academic year may count one preapproved course per semester abroad toward the certificate. Also, two preapproved courses in a summer program abroad can count for one course toward the certificate. In no case, however, can more than two courses taken abroad count toward the certificate. Any 300- or 400-level Spanish or Portuguese course taught in English will require all written work to be completed in the target language in order to count toward a certificate.

2. Independent work. During their senior year, students must write a paper on a topic agreed upon with the departmental representative. The paper must be written in Spanish and be at least 6,000 words in length. This paper must be an extension of a paper written for one of the 300-level courses used toward the certificate. Please contact the departmental representative by e-mail in the fall semester of your senior year for approval of the topic.

3. Students interested in earning a certificate in another department's program and in Spanish or Portuguese may earn both certificates provided that: (a) different courses are used to fulfill the requirements for each certificate (with the exception of PLAS; see above); and (b) the student produces two different pieces of independent work.

Portuguese:
1. Three 300-level (or higher) departmental courses in the Portuguese language, literature, or culture. At the discretion of the departmental representative, students who study abroad during the academic year may count one preapproved course per semester abroad toward the certificate. Also, two preapproved courses in a summer program abroad can count for one course toward the certificate. In no case, however, can more than two courses taken abroad count toward the certificate. Any 300- or 400-level Spanish or Portuguese course taught in English will require all written work to be completed in the target language in order to count toward a certificate. With the approval of the departmental representative, two 200-level courses in Portuguese literature or culture may count as one departmental.

2. Independent work. During their senior year, students must write a new paper on a topic agreed upon with the departmental representative. The paper must be written in Portuguese and be approximately 6,000 words in length.  This paper must be an extension of a paper written for one of the courses used toward the certificate. Please contact the departmental representative by e-mail in the fall semester of your senior year for approval of the topic.

3. Students interested in earning a certificate in another department's program and in Spanish or Portuguese may earn both certificates provided that: (a) different courses are used to fulfill the requirements for each certificate (with the exception of PLAS; see above); and (b) the student produces two different pieces of independent work.