The Department of Romance Languages at Washington and Lee aims to foster in its students an intellectual and vital interest in language itself, to provide its students with the skills and motivation to use the target language in multiple contexts and to promote in its students cultural competence through the examination of literary and non-literary texts, as well as other forms of expression.

In conjunction with the broad liberal arts mission of the University, the Department of Romance Languages seeks to develop in students the skills of critical analysis and of written and oral argument. The Department strongly encourages all students to study abroad and offers numerous courses that fulfill the University's Foundation and Distribution Requirements.

A major in French, Spanish, or Romance Languages prepares students for advanced graduate studies, and for careers in the public and private sectors.

The objectives of the Department's curriculum and co-curriculum are to enable students to:

  • communicate in languages other than English in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational modes;
  • gain knowledge and understanding of other cultures through examination of their practices, perspectives, and products;
  • develop insight into the nature of language and culture through comparisons between target languages and cultures and their own language(s) and culture(s);
  • combine their study of language, literature, and culture with studies in other academic areas through interdisciplinary approaches;
  • read and analyze literature(s) written in the target language(s) of their major;
  • carry out critical investigation.