The modern language curriculum is designed to give students an opportunity to become conversant in one or more languages from linguistic, literary and cultural perspectives. We encourage serious students to examine the social, philosophical and aesthetic themes in literature and to acquire fluency and sensitivity to structure and style in the languages offered which include French, German, and Spanish.
Careers in such fields as government, law, business, medicine, social service, journalism, or education are enhanced by the knowledge of foreign languages. Many graduate programs require proficiency in a foreign language.
Majors are offered in French, and Spanish, and also in modern languages and literatures (the study of three languages). Students should spend their junior year in an approved program of studies abroad, or participate in an approved program of summer studies. Minors are offered in French and Spanish. In cooperation with other academic departments, the department also participates in programs providing a minor in Latin American Studies. The programs are designed to encourage the student to combine her interests in a language with other disciplines. The student considering such a program, or planning to study abroad, should consult the department chair as soon as possible to assure proper preparation.
A student who chooses one of these majors is expected to achieve a reading, writing, and speaking knowledge of the language (or languages) in which she concentrates. The foreign language is used exclusively in all advanced courses and as much as possible in the others. Not more than one approved course given in English may be credited toward the major. The department recommends participation in a Junior Year Abroad program or a residence of six weeks or more in a summer school where the exclusive use of the foreign language is required. Courses taken in programs abroad must be evaluated and approved by the appropriate departmental faculty before credit is granted toward the major. A student who has begun the study of a language in college will still find it possible to fulfill the major requirement in the language by arranging her courses in consultation with her major professor.
The Department of Modern Languages does not approve credit for online courses taken at any level. No course being counted toward the V.3 general education knowledge area may be taken on a P/CR/NC grading option.