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Undergraduate Programs

ROMS Undergraduate Programs

The Department of Romance Studies provides opportunities for studying the languages, literatures, and cultures of Romance languages throughout the world.

Studying French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish has become increasingly important because of the economic and political significance of these languages abroad and in our multicultural society in the United States. Language study also offers important support to other majors at UNC-Chapel Hill, such as history, linguistics, political science, economics, Global Studies, Latin American Studies, European Studies, Communications, Media and Journalism, and Business.

The department offers the Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages, with a specialization in French and Francophone Studies, Italian Studies, Portuguese, Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, or Hispanic Linguistics. The department also offers minors in French and Francophone Studies, Italian Studies, Portuguese, Hispanic Studies, Spanish for the Professions, and Spanish Translation and Interpreting. Highly qualified and motivated students are encouraged to pursue the B.A. in Romance Languages with Honors.



French at UNC-CH gives students the opportunity to acquire a good command of the language (reading, writing, speaking, and listening comprehension), introducing them to French and Francophone literatures and cultures.


UNC has a rich tradition of Italian studies, including courses on language, literature, film, food, politics, history, philosophy, and theater. Students maybe obtain a major or minor in Italian, and many combine Italian with their other areas of specialization.


Portuguese at UNC-CH combines the study of the language, culture, and literatures of Brazil and Portugal. Emphasis is placed on the language as it is currently spoken and its historical development.


Spanish Studies at UNC-CH thrives on innovative literary, linguistic and theoretical approaches to the Spanish-speaking world, and includes the study of indigenous, Afro-descendant, Asian, and other cultures.

ROMS Undergraduate Support Team

Dorothea Heitsch
French Undergraduate Advisor
Gosia Lee
Hispanic Literatures & Cultures Major, Hispanic Studies Minor Advisor
Martha Ruiz-Garcia
Hispanic Linguistics Major Advisor
Hélène de Fays
Interim Spanish Translation & Interpreting Minor Advisor
Elizabeth Bruno
Spanish Minor for the Professions
Amy Chambless
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Italian Language Instruction, Italian Undergraduate Advisor
Sheena Melton
Undergraduate Student Services Specialist
Richard Vernon
Director of Portuguese Language Instruction, Portuguese Undergraduate Advisor

Why choose a ROMS undergraduate program?

Esther Son
Current Undergraduate Student
As a student in STEM at UNC, I am used to large lectures in which my individual voice often feels lost. On the other hand, in my smaller, discussion-based Spanish classes, I have always felt that my ideas/opinions are recognized. I have gotten to know my Spanish professors personally, some of whom have taken significant time to support me through various endeavors and independent project developments. I am particularly thankful for Dr. Helene de Fays, who has provided valuable career, academic, and personal advice and mentorship throughout all four-years at UNC.
Laura Wilder
Undergraduate Alum
Upon entering UNC, I had no idea how ROMS, particularly Italian, would shape my college career and where I am today. A semester is all it took for me to fall in love with the Italian language and culture and to decide to study abroad twice in Florence and Bologna, pick up the Italian major, and earn the UNC Robinson Honors Fellowship to research lace in Burano. The experiences I had through ROMS helped me reach my full potential and led me to pursue work in the study abroad field with the goal of one day working in Italy as a program coordinator. I just started a job as the Resident Director of the University of Portland’s Salzburg Center and love helping other students dream big abroad!
Regan Curtis
Current Undergraduate Student
As a senior Hispanic Literatures and Cultures major, I have spent the last four years taking ROMS classes in Dey Hall. My favorite aspect of this department is the faculty; each professor is clearly passionate about their work and students. The past three years I have been working with Dr. Hélène de Fays, my research adviser, to study reproductive health in Guatemala. I even got to work in Antigua, Guatemala this summer! I also did a smaller research project that involved a close reading of “La Bastarda” by Trifonia Melibea Obono. From research to taking classes in Spanish, Galician, and Portuguese, I love the rich variety of opportunities that this department offers.
Oscar Lasserra
Current Undergraduate Student
The Romance Studies Department has been my “home away from home.” Coming from Miami as a transfer student, I never thought of hearing Spanish so frequently at UNC. However, this department, the faculty, and the students made this transition one of ease. The Romance Studies Department is a safe place for me; a place where I feel welcomed, valued, and proud of being a native Spanish speaker. I am grateful for the courses and opportunities that this department has giving me as a Hispanic Literature and Culture major.
Brenna Kuder
Undergraduate Alum
ROMS helped me to unlock some amazing opportunities in my undergraduate career. One of the professors helped me study abroad in Ecuador, where I gained a deeper understanding of the language. I want to go into agriculture, and with the skills that I was taught in my many Spanish classes, I was able to tour large flower farms while abroad and understand the intricacies of their day-to-day operations. That knowledge has already helped me in my farming jobs at home, as well as given me the chance to work beyond the U.S. I am excited to see where my Spanish minor takes me, and I am grateful to the grammar, vocabulary, and culture that I studied during my time with ROMS.
Hannah Rayala
Undergraduate Alum
I started my Spanish for the Medical Professions minor during my sophomore year of undergrad realizing that I needed a break from my many science classes. I found that and so much more with my minor in the ROMS department. I’ve enjoyed every Spanish class I’ve taken, especially SPAN 261 and 321 with Profesora Hélène de Fays. In particular, I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in casual Spanish conversations with my classmates and investigate topics of interest in Latin America. Overall, it has given me a balanced and well-rounded outlook on my chosen career path and made me realize the importance of human connection and communication, a consideration I will carry into my medical career.
Abby Seitz
Undergraduate Alum
The Italian Department goes above and beyond in their dedication to teaching and supporting students. Dr. Chambless pours her all into teaching. She brings an unmatched energy, passion, and dedication with her to class every day. Despite struggling at times, I always felt supported and encouraged. When I felt my progress was lagging, she would make time to help me outside of the classroom. This type of support carried on throughout my journey with Italian, as my professors continued to spend hours of their time working with me and supporting me. The dedication and willingness of the Italian professors to help me learn is what motivated me to pursue a major in Italian.
Aditi Kharod
Undergrad Alum
I had an amazing experience taking French classes in this department. All the faculty are so helpful and kind, while pushing students to measurably improve their language skills. I was successfully able to live and study in Geneva, Switzerland for three months during my junior year with the skills I was taught at UNC from the ROMS faculty, and I’m currently a graduate student who will study at Sciences Po Grenoble for the next two semesters taking advanced courses in both English and French. This would not have been possible without the UNC French department and its incredible faculty, including Dr. Dorothea Heitsch, Dr. Nina Furry, Dr. Jessica Tanner, and especially Dr. Valérie Pruvost.
William Thomason
William Thomason
Undergrad Alumni
Because of the knowledge and experience I gained from my Spanish classes at UNC, I am able to comfortably work with Spanish-speaking youth in New York City and abroad. With a broad knowledge of the history and culture of Spanish-speaking countries, along with Spanish communication skills I learned throughout my time at UNC, I lead culturally responsive arts workshops with confidence. My work in the international non-profit sector has been enhanced because of the abilities that I sharpened through my experience in the UNC Department of Romance Studies.
Dana Trumpower
Dana Trumpower
Undergrad Alumni
The ROMS department at UNC left a significant impact on my life that I would have never expected. I began only minoring in French, but with the support of the department, I ended up majoring in French, becoming president of the French National Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi, and writing an Honors Thesis in the department. These experiences drove me to study abroad and then to move to France after college where I felt prepared and excited to work in my second language. Now back in the U.S., still with the encouragement from my UNC professors, I am pursuing my Masters in Education so that I can teach high school French. I hope I can pass on the passion UNC inspired me with to my students.