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.

Please Email any of the academic representatives below to discuss or declare a major or minor in one of our programs.


Academic Representatives






207 Guilford House


307 Guilford House


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204 Guilford House


303 Guilford House
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214 Guilford House


313 Guilford House


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209 Guilford House


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 additional information for the Chinese major, please see the Chinese Program.

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. 

Departmental Honors

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.