Welcome to the Romance Studies Home Page. Here you will find all the information you need about the Department, its programs in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese, the requirements for the major, the courses offered, and details on the outstanding faculty who teach them. Whether you are an undergraduate looking to major or minor or a prospective graduate student, you will find much of interest across these pages.
We would like to draw your attention to the long and distinguished history of Romance Languages at Cornell. Indeed when Cornell first opened its doors in 1869, French, Italian, and Spanish were among the six modern languages offered; Portuguese was added a year later. Andrew White, Cornell’s first president strongly supported the study of Romance Languages and Literature, recalling the “broad farce” of his instruction at another Ivy League college, while vowing that “at Cornell the experiment was first really tried of giving importance to these courses in modern languages and literatures.” For White language and literature courses served a broader purpose than simply learning a language. He also knew well the danger that over time Cornell might become a narrow technical school. In his autobiography he noted: “Highly as I prized the scientific spirit and technical training, I felt that the frame of mind engendered by them should be modified by an acquaintance with the best literature as literature.”
Nearly one hundred and fifty years later, White’s insights into the importance of the study of language and literature are put into practice each day in Romance Studies. Why not be part of it?