The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers courses of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts in French, German, Japanese Studies, and Spanish. In addition, the department offers minors in Chinese, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian, as well as course work in Arabic and Portuguese. Except in the case of courses cross-listed with the World Literature Program, all courses in modern languages and literatures are taught primarily in the target language. In addition to class meetings, work outside of class with audio materials is an integral part of all elementary and intermediate language courses taught by the department. Career opportunities exist in college and university teaching, translation and interpretation, diplomatic and other government service, business, international nonprofit agencies, and the arts, and are often enhanced by a double major.
Students with prior experience in French, German, or Spanish, however gained (e.g., in high school, with or without AP courses, at another institution, via study abroad), must take a placement examination before the first week of the semester in which they enroll in one of those languages. Placement depends both on examination results and on consultation with individual faculty members.
Chinese, French, German, Japanese Studies, and Spanish
Majors in Chinese, French, German, Japanese Studies, and Spanish are expected: 1) to acquire the ability to understand, speak, read, and write the language(s) of their choice; and 2) to develop a sound understanding of the relevant cultures and literatures. The major in French, German, or Spanish consists of 30-32 hours of course work and will vary based on students’ background in the language. The major in Chinese or Japanese Studies requires a minimum of 35 credit hours. Individual counseling and placement tests are provided by the department.
Course requirements are as follows:
- For students placed into the 200 level: 201-202 and eight courses at the 300 level taught in the target language, or six 300-level courses plus two related courses.
- For students placed into the 300-level: ten 300-level courses taught in the target language, or eight 300-level courses plus two related courses.
Related courses are those outside the department which are closely related to French, German, Japanese, and Spanish cultures, as well as those departmental courses cross-listed with World Literature.
Additional Information for Chinese Major
For students who begin the major at the 200 level, they will be required to take CHIN 201 and 202, CHIN 301 and 302, CHIN 380 and 381, Senior Thesis I and II; four Chinese Literature and Culture courses, two of which may be replaced by other related courses.*
For students who begin the major at the 300 level, they will be required to take CHIN 301 and 302, CHIN 380 and 381, 1 directed reading, Senior Thesis I and II; four Chinese Literature and Culture courses, two of which may be replaced by other related courses.*
* “Other related courses” (see a detailed list in what follows.) could include courses that have a significant portion of Chinese components in the fields of Chinese Literature, Culture, Cinema, Theater, Art History, Anthropology, History, and Asian Studies. Students should contact the Chinese faculty representative to discuss if a course could be considered a related course.
Senior Thesis I and II: Students who take Chinese major are required to take these courses under the supervision of their faculty director. They will be expected to write a substantial research paper in English with significant Chinese elements.
Study Abroad: Students may take advantage of a semester or a year of study abroad in mainland China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. Credits taken at a Chinese university during study abroad can be transferred with evaluation by a faculty advisor.
Additional Information for French Major
• Students who take both FRCH 311 and 312 may count only one of these toward the major.
• At least two of the 300-level courses should be numbered above 320 and taught in French.
• At least two courses numbered 320 or higher should be taken in residence at CWRU.
Integrated Graduate Studies (French)
The department participates in the Integrated Graduate Studies Program, which makes it possible to complete both a BA and an MA in French in about five years of full-time study. The department particularly recommends the program to qualified students who are interested in seeking admission to highly competitive professional schools or PhD programs. Interested students should note the general requirements and the admission procedures listed elsewhere in the general bulletin.
Additional Information for Japanese Major
For additional information for the Japanese major, please see the Japanese Studies Program.
Additional Information for Spanish Major
• At least three of the 300-level courses should be numbered above 320.
The departmental honors program is for especially dedicated majors. Requirements for honors in modern languages and literatures are: 1) a GPA of at least 3.5 in the major, and 2) an honors thesis (FRCH, GRMN, JAPN, or SPAN 397 and 398, beyond the 30-32 hours required for the major) devoted to the investigation of a literary, linguistic, or cultural topic. The thesis is written in the target language, except in the case of Japanese Studies, which may permit papers in English. It must be read and approved by two readers and will be accepted for honors only if it achieves a grade of B or better. Students who qualify receive their degree “with Honors in Modern Languages and Literatures.” A registration form for students electing honors is available in the departmental office.
Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese Studies, Russian, Spanish
Course requirements for the minors are as follows:
- For students placed into the introductory level (no previous knowledge of the language): 101, 102, 201, 202, and one 300-level course (for the French minor, the 300-level course must be taught in French).
- For students placed into the 200 level or higher: five courses at the 200 and 300 levels.
Hebrew language courses may also count toward the minor in Judaic Studies.