The aim of the Modern Languages Major is twofold: to enable students to develop proficiency in the four language skills–aural, oral, speaking, and writing–in two modern languages (Concentration A and Concentration B), and to develop cultural literacy. Two of the following languages offered in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures can be combined for the Modern Languages major: Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Students start Concentration A at least in the third semester (CHIN 2103 Chinese 3, FREN 2103 French 3, GRMN 2103 German 3, ITAL 2103 Italian 3, SPAN 2103 Spanish 3) and Concentration B at least in the first semester (CHIN 1101 Chinese 1, FREN 2101 French 1, GRMN 2101 German 1, ITAL 2101 Italian 1, SPAN 2101 Spanish 1).

Through a structured and carefully planned group of course offerings and a strong recommendation to participate for a semester or a summer in study abroad programs, the Modern Languages Major will prepare students for a world in which intercultural understanding provides the basis for mutual respect, global harmony, and social justice.

The program will encourage and advise students to embark in study abroad experiences, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, and community-based learning opportunities that will prepare them to speak, understand, and write two foreign languages as well as linguistically analyze them, to know the principal aspects of some of the cultures where those languages are spoken, and to exercise intercultural awareness.

The major is highly desirable for those interested in international communications and access to immigrant populations, in areas including but not limited to business, teaching, social work, theology, law, theatre, and the visual arts. Competence in more than one foreign language, a keen awareness of cultures, and an understanding of the structure of language itself is a compelling combination of skills that will prepare the student for employment in a globalized economy.

Modern Languages majors who have German in their choice of languages and a minimum GPA of 3.5 are eligible once per year for the Conrad Lester merit-based scholarship.

Students who need more semester hours to complete the Modern Languages major due to their initial language placement must take additional upper division elective courses in that language concentration. If no upper division elective courses in the language are offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, students may fulfill up to four credits by taking a course offered outside the Department in the appropriate cultural studies area. Students must have pre-approval from the Modern Languages Program Coordinator and the Department Chair prior to taking a course.