Faculty List

Professor and Chair
A.T. Pérez-Leroux, MA, PhD

Assistant Professors
A. Rato, MA, PhD
C. Sá Carvalho, MA, PhD

Lecturer (Instituto Camões)
L. Graça

Professors Emeriti
R. Sternberg, MA, PhD (SM)
J.R. Webster, MA, PhD, FRSC (SM)
M. Marujo, MA, PhD



Portuguese is the sixth most widely used language in the world. It is spoken by more than two hundred and sixty million people on four continents inhabited by the Lusophone population: Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Twenty percent of all residents of the Western Hemisphere are Brazilians, a fact attesting to the truth that one out of every five Americans - North, Central, South - speaks Portuguese as his or her native language. The literature of Portugal has a tradition that goes back as far as the twelfth century, and the discoveries of its Renaissance seafarers led the language and the culture to all corners of the globe. 

The Department offers an integrated curriculum, combining courses in language, linguistics, literature, and culture. Courses in the studies of the Lusophone world provide a diverse, flexible and detailed examination of the Portuguese language and its cultures. The skills and knowledge developed in these courses lay the groundwork for careers in teaching, journalism, translation, publishing, and foreign services, as well as for research in a variety of fields. In the Canadian job market, command of the Portuguese language is a definite advantage. Toronto has one of the largest Portuguese speaking diasporas, and Canada has been establishing strong cultural, political and business ties with Brazil.

Why should I learn Portuguese?

  • Portuguese gives you access to a rich and fascinating culture.
  • Portuguese is the world’s sixth most widely spoken language.
  • Portuguese is a mother tongue in the 5 continents, parallel only to English and Spanish.
  • Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Portuguese unites Portuguese-speaking diasporas all over the world in countries such as Canada, the United States, South-Africa, France or Switzerland.
  • Portuguese has one of the highest growth rates as a second language in the Internet, in social networks and in learning as a foreign language.
  • Portuguese is a Romance language, so if you already know another Romance language (Spanish, Italian, etc.), you will find it easier to learn it.
  • Portuguese is now the first foreign language in the educational system of many countries.
  • Portuguese is the official language of some of the fastest growing economies in the world, namely Brazil and Angola.

What can I do with a degree in Portuguese?

  • Education
  • Marketing, Editing, Copywriting
  • Journalism, Media
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Public Relations
  • Research
  • Foreign Services/Foreign Affairs Specialist
  • International development
  • Political Aid
  • National and international law

How is the program structured?

For many students, our program begins with the language sequence.

Language Sequence

  1. The Department reserves the right to place students in the language course best suited to their linguistic preparation. Please contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies if you would like to take a Placement test to help you determine your level of linguistic competence in Portuguese.
  2. Students who, in the department's assessment, have an adequate knowledge of Portuguese may be required to take Portuguese literature, culture or linguistic course instead of a language course at any level.

The progression of courses in the language sequence is designed to accommodate a wide range of previous language experience. Students are placed in the appropriate language course based on their proficiency as determined by departmental assessment. 

Students who have had little to no previous experience in studying Portuguese may enrol in an intensive course, PRT100Y1

Students who have a strong background in Spanish language (native fluency or minimum SPA320Y1), should enrol in PRT120H1. Students who have completed PRT120H1 should proceed to PRT220Y1.

Students who have had previous experience in studying Portuguese may enrol in several intermediate and advanced courses, depending on their background and their level of preparation. Speakers with an intermediate level of Portuguese, including those who successfully completed PRT100Y1 should enrol in PRT220Y1

Those students who have had exposure to spoken Portuguese in an informal context (i.e., those who live in a Portuguese-speaking environment; for instance, those who have grown up in a Portuguese-speaking country, or who live in Portuguese speaking families), but who have had little to no exposure to written Portuguese, should enrol in PRT219H1. Students who qualify for this course are able to understand and speak Portuguese. They speak Portuguese relatively fluently, but they usually do not write or read Portuguese. After completing PRT219H1, students should proceed to PRT320Y1.

Students who have completed PRT220Y1 should proceed to PRT320Y1. Those students who come to the program with an advanced level of Portuguese as assessed by the department should also proceed to take PRT320Y1 or PRT420H1.

Following PRT320Y1, students are qualified to enroll in PRT420H1. This course is appropriate for students with a relatively high vocabulary base and good command of grammar and academic writing who need to increase their lexicon, and who need further formal instruction in grammar and writing.

Here are the sequence of language courses in Portuguese:

  1. PRT100Y1 > PRT220Y1 > PRT320Y1 > PRT420H1
  2. PRT219H1 > PRT320Y1 > PRT420H1
  3. PRT120H1 > PRT220Y1 > PRT320Y1 > PRT420H1

PRT423H1, a course for advanced speakers of Portuguese, trains students to develop their skills in a range of professional language fields, such as finances, law, medicine, and education. 

Cognate Courses

  • Portuguese Specialist: Up to 2.0 credits may be taken from cognate departmental or college offerings.
  • Portuguese Major: Up to 1.0 credits may be taken from cognate departmental or college offerings.
  • Portuguese Minor: Up to 1.0 cognate credit may be taken in Spanish.

AFR322H1/NEW322H1; GGR341H1; HIS291H1; HIS292H1; HIS390H1; HIS446H1; HIS390H5; JLN327H1; JLN427H1; JLP315H1; POL442H1; POL360H1;  MUS305H1; LIN101H1, LIN102H1; SPA* and LAS* 

Students who are unsure of what is the most appropriate placement for them in the language sequence should contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies to receive personal assessment and recommendation for proper placement. 

Fluent speakers of Portuguese who have received a high school or a higher level of education in the Portuguese language, and who in the department's assessment does not need further training in language, may enroll immediately in any linguistics, literature or culture course.

Literature, Culture and Linguistics Courses

Portuguese opens the door to a rich range of cultural expressions in literature, film, and art, from the world-changing contribution of Renaissance Portugal to the contemporary Brazilian and Luso-African diaspora. Whether it is Nobel-prize winning Portuguese literature or the excitement of the Brazilian cinema novo, Lusophone writers, filmmakers, and artists continue to shape and change contemporary global culture. 

Portuguese also opens the door to the study of the Romance language family. The Department offers students the opportunity to advance their language skills through the systematic reflection on the language structure. Through a variety of courses with a theoretical and experimental focus in linguistics, students acquire basic skills that can be transferred to teaching or research programs. Through collaboration with other language and linguistics programs, students are provided with opportunities and training to conduct research in linguistics with a focus on the Portuguese language.

The Department encourages students to consider completing part of their course work at a university in Portugal or Brazil.

Students should contact the Undergraduate Coordinator early on in the course of their university career to receive advice on how to proceed with their studies and to thus assure that they can receive their degree by the time of planned graduation. For further information, please contact us in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Victoria College, Room 208.