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. The study of foreign cultures, languages, and literatures 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.

The major in Modern Languages & Literatures offers options in French, German, Spanish, Asian Studies, and Latin American & Latino Studies. In our language programs, lower division courses are designed to help students acquire a strong Intermediate level of proficiency. Upper division courses strengthen Intermediate level skills and develop Advanced level functions through the study of culture (literature, history, art, etc.). For students interested in teaching, K-12 teaching options are offered in French, German, and Spanish. Students without prior language study who are interested in the literature and culture of Chinese, French-, German-, Japanese-, and Spanish-speaking peoples may choose elective credits from a variety of courses taught in English. 

The major options and minors in Asian Studies and Latin American & Latino Studies include both a language component and a flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum. Asian Studies also offers more focused minors in Japan Studies and China Studies.

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; but proficiency in another language also enhances job opportunities in any career. Foreign language training is a critically important skill for careers in business and commerce, health care, government service, law enforcement, social services, and agriculture.

Language & Cultural Studies and Area Studies Programs

Major Options



Language Teaching Programs

Major Options


Students with previous language training will be placed based on scores from AP exams, IB exams, CLEP test, the WebCAPE exam, and/or an oral proficiency interview.

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 (excluding study abroad courses) in any of the upper-division courses required for the degree. (Note: approved study-abroad credits by the department are considered to be the equivalent of resident credits.)