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The Romance languages all derive from the Latin language spoken in different parts of the Roman Empire. Courses in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish lead students to an understanding of the spoken or written language, and allow them to read and appreciate a nation's literature. At all stages of instruction, students may deepen their linguistic sensibilities and expand their horizons by studying, through a Romance language, a civilization different from but connected to their own.

French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin American Studies are considered strong Liberal Arts concentrations; they are well regarded by employers and by graduate and professional schools. In recent years the department's senior majors have entered such diverse fields as banking, business, medicine, and teaching. Several are employed by international firms; others have gone on to law, medical, or business schools. Those electing to continue their study of Romance languages are frequently admitted to the most prestigious graduate programs. Recent surveys by government agencies, private foundations, and the popular press reveal a growing need for teachers of foreign languages, literatures, and civilizations at both the secondary and the university levels. Entry-level salaries are rapidly improving, and the human rewards are great.

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