Placement in a specific level is determined by language proficiency. All students who have studied Portuguese before are subject to a placement interview before the program starts and at the end of the program. The language assessment is not part of the application process.

Explore our course catalog to see the courses offered in past years.

Level 1 Beginning Portuguese

PGSE 3101-3102 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3103 (Cultural Studies)

This course sequence is designed for students with no previous classroom instruction or functional ability in Portuguese, and little or no experience in another Romance Language. In Language Studies, students are exposed to intensive grammar instruction to develop their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Most students completing this course sequence will be able to initiate, sustain, and close a simple conversation dealing with familiar topics, and will be able to write simple short narratives and read simple authentic texts. They will notice a tremendous difference in terms of comprehension from week 1 to week 7, and by the end of the program they will create with the language to a certain degree, combining elements to communicate personal meaning and satisfy relatively simple social demands, often in a reactive mode. Cultural Studies is a portion of the course that introduces arts in general, history, geography, and daily life cultural elements of the Portuguese-speaking world.  Most students completing this course achieved Intermediate sublevels in the exit assessment.

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 1SS - Beginning Portuguese for Spanish Speakers

PGSE 3151-3152 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3153 (Cultural Studies)

This course sequence of Language Studies focuses specifically on issues that arise when Spanish-speakers learn Portuguese. Because of the similarity between the two languages, typically Spanish speakers progress at an astonishingly fast rate. By working on vocabulary and specific structures, they can communicate at a higher proficiency level in a shorter period. In this course, students not only have proficiency-oriented instruction to develop their communication skills, but they are also constantly challenged to improve their pronunciation and intonation in the target language. As they develop their sensitivity to recognize the differences between Portuguese and Spanish, they become conscious of the need to sustain communication in a ‘patrol/controlling’ mode. Depending on their proficiency, students with some limited formal instruction in Portuguese or knowledge of another Romance language may also place in this level. This course also integrates Cultural Studies, which introduce arts in general, history, geography, environment, politics, and elements of culture and values of everyday life of the Portuguese-speaking world.  Most students completing this level achieve “Intermediate-High” to “Advanced-Low” levels in the final oral assessment.

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 1.75 High Beginning Portuguese

PGSE 3198-3199 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3200 (Cultural Studies)       

This course sequence is intended for students with a proficiency level equivalent to “Novice-Low to-Mid”, according to the ACTFL guidelines of language proficiency. In this class, they will acquire a solid foundation of the basic concepts of the Portuguese language through concise explanations focused on usage, enhancing their lexical and communicative competence, which will allow them to interact in more meaningful ways while also taking initiative to develop communicative exchanges using simple connected discourse. Through distinct and diverse cultural modules of the Cultural Studies course, students will be able to enrich their experience as they heighten their awareness of the Portuguese-speaking world. This will help them grasp the target language culture, as well as develop fluency as they are exposed to authentic texts in Portuguese, which will reinforce what they are learning in the grammar class, as they start becoming more confident while using a more structured argument to convey meaning. Most students successfully completing this sequence will emerge with a proficiency level of “Intermediate-Mid”, or in some cases, “Intermediate High”.

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 2 Intermediate Portuguese I

PGSE 3201-3202 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3203 (Cultural Studies)

Students enrolling in this sequence will have a proficiency level of “Novice-High”, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. In this class, they will strengthen their knowledge of grammatical and syntactical structures and improve their mastery of the language while increasing vocabulary and functional communicative ability. They also start developing the ability to sustain communicative exchanges using connected discourse of paragraph length, diminishing increasingly their pattern of errors. The Cultural Studies course may include the diversity and complexity of the Portuguese-speaking countries. The interpersonal exchanges will help them understand the target language culture, as well as develop fluency as they use a more structured argument to convey meaning with confidence and accuracy. Most students successfully completing this sequence will emerge with a proficiency level of “Intermediate-Mid or High”, or in some cases, “Advanced-Low”.

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 2.5 Intermediate Portuguese II

PGSE 3298-3299 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3300 (Cultural Studies)

Most of the students enrolling in this course sequence will typically have a proficiency level of “Intermediate-Low” (and occasionally “Intermediate-Mid”), according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. In this class, students will strengthen their knowledge of grammatical and syntactical structures and improve their mastery of the language through intensive exposure to authentic reading in the target language, debates, in-class presentations, and discussions of cultural manifestations, increasing functional communicative ability, while in contact with diverse registers. In the Cultural Studies segment, students will have the opportunity to discuss different cultural and literary topics and contemporary phenomena of the Lusophone world. The interpersonal and in-depth exchanges will help them understand the target language culture, as well as develop fluency as they use a more structured argument to convey meaning with confidence and accuracy. Most students successfully completing this sequence will reach a proficiency level of “Intermediate-High”, or in some cases, “Advanced-Low” or “Advanced-Mid”. 

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 3.0  Pre-Advanced Portuguese 

PGSE 3301-3302 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3303 (Cultural Studies)

Students enrolling in this sequence will typically have a proficiency level of “Intermediate-High” (and occasionally at least “Intermediate-Mid”), according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. Some students enrolled in this level may also have participated in study abroad programs in Portuguese-speaking countries. In the Language Studies segment, students will engage in intensive language instruction to strengthen their knowledge of syntactical structures, while increasing functional and communicative ability. Students completing this sequence will participate actively in in-depth conversations on topics of both personal and public interest, combining a variety of communicative devices to satisfy linguistic needs. They may also develop a discourse in a more professional level. In the Cultural Studies segment, students will develop their intercultural competence through thematic-culture related content modules, team-taught by faculty and experts from diverse areas of studies, providing students with different concepts and perspectives, aiming at developing intercultural competency of products and practices of the Portuguese-speaking world. Students also start using the language in a hypothetical way, learning how to discuss topics in both concrete and abstract modes. By the end of the program, students may achieve a proficiency level of “Advanced-Low” or “Advanced-Mid”, or in some cases, “Advanced-High”.

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration

Level 4 Advanced Portuguese II

PGSE 3401-3402 (Language Studies) & PGSE 3403 (Cultural Studies)

Students in this sequence will have a good foundation of Portuguese, and will have a proficiency level of at least “Advanced-low”, according to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines. Students will continue their linguistic development through the study of more complex language structures that enable them to increase a more specialized and precise vocabulary, as well as language proficiency while learning more in depth about the Lusophone world. Classes are designed to enable students to practice written and oral language addressing different registers and pragmatic situations, and they will also explore literary texts more in depth. Students usually participate intensively and effectively in formal and informal conversations, on topics related to their professional areas and scholarly interests, but also on unfamiliar topics that demand a more focused and elaborated pattern of discourse to convey complex meanings. The Cultural Studies is designed to enable students to practice written and oral language addressing and exploring literary, journalistic, and specialized oral and written texts in depth. Most students who successfully complete this sequence will typically develop skills at the “Advanced-High” and, occasionally, they might achieve the “Superior” level of proficiency. 197

Prerequisite: Placement and/or approval of the instructor and/or director prior to registration