Through courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, the department offers students the opportunity to gain proficiency in understanding, reading, writing, and speaking one or more foreign languages. Laboratory facilities are used extensively to supplement classroom instruction
Upper-level classes are conducted primarily in the foreign language. Through classroom instruction, individual research, and work in department-sponsored language clubs, students come to know the culture of the people whose language they study. Through internships, students work directly in language-related professions.
Within the major in Modern Foreign Languages, the department offers concentrations in French, German, and Spanish. Students may also request a special major in Italian Studies. Double major in a foreign language and another discipline are possible. Non-majors are also encouraged to take advantage of the language programs.
The department also offers minors in French, Business French, German, Business German, and Business Spanish.
The department provides students an opportunity to reside in campus residence areas in which the foreign language is spoken and which sponsor various inter-cultural programs each year. Currently each language area has as its resident program director a native speaker of that foreign language.
The department offers the following summer programs: French language and culture in Paris (4 weeks), German language and culture in Erfurt, Germany (4 weeks); Italian language and culture in Orvieto, Italy (4 weeks); and Spanish language and culture in Bilbao, Spain (5 weeks). It also offers a Spring Break program to Montréal and Québec City. In addition, the department cooperates with a variety of overseas study programs, advises and encourages students wishing to study abroad, and helps in planning their foreign study programs. Credits may be accepted from abroad to fulfill department requirements. However, students must check with International Academic Services for more information on credit transfer issues.
Graduates in Modern Foreign Languages may pursue careers in government or in private fields in which the knowledge of a foreign language and culture is essential, including interpreting, translating, research, social services, education, government agencies, the tourism industry, the Peace Corps, and international business.