Welcome to the website of the interdepartmental Ph.D. program in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) at UC Berkeley! This joint venture by the Departments of French, Italian Studies, and Spanish & Portuguese offers students a unique opportunity to work with distinguished faculty in all three departments, as they take advantage of Berkeley’s unmatched resources for comparative study of the literatures and linguistics of the Romance language family. RLL is proud to continue to provide tools and resources for interdisciplinary research, coursework, and study. We welcome applications from interested and highly qualified students. You will find a wealth of information about the program on this site; please feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have.

Interdisciplinarity Across and Within Tracks (Linguistics, Literature)

The RLL program boasts a long history of philological approaches to language, literature, and linguistics, and embraces more recent innovations in how students and faculty pursue interdisciplinary research and coursework. We are proud of the diversity of means by which students and faculty have achieved interdisciplinary scholarship, namely via seminars, research projects, workshops, collaborations, joint appointments, concurrent PhDs, designated emphases, graduate certificates, fellowships, training courses, etc. Some recent examples include designated emphases in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (REMS) and Indigenous Language Revitalization; a concurrent PhD in Medieval Studies; graduate certificates in Applied Data Science and Teaching and Learning in Higher Education; the Mellon Summer Institute in Paleography at Newberry Library; and research assistantships and teaching appointments in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and beyond.


The RLL program was founded in 1926 as an interdepartmental Ph.D. program by the departments of French, Italian and Spanish. Until the middle 1960s the RLL degree was the only Ph.D. offered by the three departments. At some point before 1948 (the earliest date from which documentation survives), the program was structured along two tracks, one for students whose principal interest was literary, the other for students focused on philology. Later still, when the Graduate Group in Romance Philology was established, the philology track in RLL was removed and students could opt between the Literature Track and the Linguistics Track as they exist today.