Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

Students pursue their passions for language and culture through rigorous and immersive study.

Colgate students hone their skills during a meeting of the Colgate Spanish Language Debate Society.
Colgate students hone their skills during a meeting of the Colgate Spanish Language Debate Society.

Whether pursuing a major, a minor, or elective study, a developed awareness of the languages, literatures, and cultures of the French-, Italian-, and Spanish-speaking worlds will broaden opportunities for growth in a wide variety of fields.

Students in Romance language courses develop the ability to speak, comprehend, read, and write in French, Italian, or Spanish, while also developing an understanding and appreciation of other cultures. Together with a strong liberal arts foundation, students in the Romance languages are prepared to be global citizens.

The department offers the following major and minor programs:


  • French
  • Spanish


  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish

Department Contacts

Chair: Hélène Julien
Academic Department Coordinator: Jennifer Von Matt
Office: 219A Lawrence Hall
Phone: 315-228-7289


Develop a global perspective by studying French language, literature, and diverse French-speaking cultures, from Europe to the Caribbean.

Studying French


Italian study exposes students to a rich cultural and linguistic history that is invaluable in academic pursuits, including art history and the classics.

Studying Italian


Spanish language and culture are profoundly impactful in modern society. Spanish fluency is an invaluable skill, both in the United States and abroad.

Studying Spanish

The professors always have unique ways to learn and master the languages you are interested in, both inside and outside the classroom. In my experience, they have all been extremely nice and caring, and want you to succeed beyond just an academic realm.

Sam Wertheim ’19

Language Placement

For some students, Spanish, French, and Italian study at Colgate is a continuation of studies first pursued in high school and advanced placement courses. Our language placement guidelines outline the course level in which such students should enroll, based on their prior experience and qualifications.

Language placement guidelines