Instruction in French and Spanish has been offered at the University of Calgary since its beginnings as the University of Alberta in Calgary. In 1958 French was the only foreign language taught. In 1963 Spanish courses were added and the BA in Spanish program was introduced.
Offered first in the Department of Modern Languages at the undergraduate level, French and Spanish were the cornerstones of the founding of the new Department of Romance Studies in 1969. Even prior to that time, the possibility of graduate work in French was available (the first M.A. in French was granted in 1967). Just over a decade later, the first M.A. in Spanish was awarded. Italian was taught for the first time in 1970, although it was necessary to wait until 1982 for the establishment of the Minor in Italian Studies.
"French, Italian and Spanish" became the official designation of the Department in 1984. Comparative work in general Romance Studies and in Comparative Literature, as well as cooperative work with sister departments (English; Germanic, Slavic and East Asian Studies; Greek, Latin and Ancient History; Linguistics) is also a notable component of departmental offerings. The first special case Ph.D. in French was awarded in 1988, and continuing interest in individual ("Special Case") doctoral programs has led the Department to become actively involved in the proposal of a doctoral degree in Humanities.
In 1999, the Department embarked upon a thorough revision of all its major programs. Curricular revisions in the Italian minor and in the two M.A. programs (French and Spanish) were carried out, the possibility of creating a combined M.A. in French and Spanish was discussed, and a double major in French and Spanish was introduced, the first of its kind in the Faculty of Humanities.
In 2004 the Department launched its the BA/ BEd in French. In 2005 a Major in Italian Studies was approved by the University and subsequently by the Government of Alberta.
The inauguration of the Language Research Centre in 2004 marked a turning point for the Department since it has provided numerous opportunities for members of all three sections to embark upon collaborative projects in both teaching and research.
In 2005 some 2200 students from virtually all faculties took lectures, labs and tutorials in the Department. Seventy-five different courses were taught in the three language sections.
2006 marks the establishment of a new collaborative program, the BA in Linguistics and Language.
1967 - 2005
Undergraduate Degrees French: 490
Master of Arts Degrees Combined French and Spanish: 76
|1983 - 2005||Minors in Italian Studies: 62|
1988 - 2005
Doctoral Degrees: 3