Modern Languages and Literatures

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a full range of courses for students interested in language, culture, and literature. Non-majors interested in the literature and culture of French-, German-, Japanese-, and Spanish-speaking peoples may choose elective credits from a variety of courses taught in English. The study of foreign cultures, languages, and literature is an integral part of a basic education and an essential component of one's university training. It provides students with the knowledge to better understand their own language and culture and to function intelligently as members of a multicultural society.

In addition to providing opportunities for students to participate in MSU-sponsored study abroad programs, the department offers advice concerning the role of language study in career planning. Foreign languages are used by interpreters, translators, and teachers. Language proficiency also enhances employment opportunities. With almost any "marketable" skill plus a foreign language, the chances of finding an interesting job are improved considerably. Foreign language training is a critically important skill for careers in business and commerce, secretarial/clerical positions, health care, government service, social services, and agriculture.

The department offers undergraduate options in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Lower division courses are designed to teach the five language skills: speaking, listening, understanding culture, reading, and writing. Advanced courses provide students with comprehensive knowledge of the important writers and movements of each language. Other advanced courses concentrate on history and contemporary culture. For students interested in teaching, K-12 teaching options are offered in French, German, and Spanish. The Department, in conjunction with the Department of History & Philosophy, offers both a non-teaching minor in Japan Studies and a Japan Studies option, as well as a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies.  We now offer Chinese language and culture classes.  These will be part of a planned Asian Studies minor, in conjunction with the Department of History & Philosophy and the Department of Sociology & Anthropology.

For students planning careers in international business/management, the department offers an International Business minor in conjunction with the College of Business. This program also prepares students to compete for jobs in businesses where foreign language skills are desirable.

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Minors

This curriculum leads to the baccalaureate degree in Modern Languages - French, German, Japan Studies, and Spanish, with additional options in Teaching. Students with previous language training will take either an AP exam or a CLEP exam to place at the appropriate level. Courses taught in English may count toward the language major or minor with the consent of the advisor.

To be certified for graduation in a major option or a minor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, students must take one-half of the required MLL upper division credits in the department. Students who have already completed a degree at another university and are seeking teaching certification from MSU may be required to take some additional course work in the language as determined by the language advisor. In addition, the department will not accept grades lower than "C" (2.0) or P in any of the upper division courses required for the degree. (Note: Department-approved study-abroad credits are considered to be the equivalent of resident credits.)

Students with native or near-native ability in a given language may only enroll in courses for credit which have been approved by the appropriate language section.