Languages open the door to a more enriching experience of the world through travel and through work and study abroad. At the same time, the languages we teach are not strictly "foreign" languages in that they have been represented in the region of the present-day United States for generations, even centuries.
The benefits of language study are many. They include a better appreciation of diversity in our own society, in-depth knowledge of national and regional cultures beyond our borders, and an increased general understanding of how language functions and how meaning is constructed. Research has shown that bilingualism enhances cognitive abilities prized by educators and employers alike, such as verbal skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, flexibility and creativity.
In addition to teaching the four basic skills of speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension, language programs also acquaint students with the more specialized discourse of cultural and literary studies. The study of the creative forms of expression associated with a given national culture leads to greater enjoyment in aesthetic experience and a better understanding of our own cultural heritage.
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers major degree programs in French and Spanish, leading to the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Arts in Education, and minors in Japanese, German, French, Spanish, and Teaching English as a Second Language. Several of these minors also offer the possibility of a teaching endorsement. The minor teaching endorsement for English as a Second Language is a useful and popular career choice.
A Master of Education degree is offered for graduate students in French.
To find out more about these programs, see the column on the right. Always refer to the current course catalog for the most up-to-date course requirements for all degrees.
Programs for international students are offered through the English Language Institute and the Asia America University program.
The study of modern languages may lead to careers in teaching, usually at the secondary or post-secondary level. Some language students pursue highly specialized advanced training after the baccalaureate in order to enter the fields of translation and interpreting.
A language background is increasingly important to support career goals centered in other fields, whether professional (education, business, social work, criminal justice, health care) or academic (research and graduate study). Because of the usefulness of language proficiency and the intellectual satisfaction of language study, many students choose substantial language study as part of a liberal arts or career-oriented degree.
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