Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


About Modern Languages and Literatures

The Modern Languages and Literatures Department views the study of foreign languages and literatures, along with academic and professional study and travel abroad, as central to shaping informed citizens who deeply love languages and respect other cultures.

We enrich Southwestern University through rigorous classroom teaching and research in modern languages, literatures, culture and film.

We integrate the study of modern languages—Chinese, French, German, Spanish—into a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. Students who major or minor acquire a broad cross-disciplinary foundation that prepares them for a range of professional and personal opportunities.

The capstone experience in the department—an integrative project involving significant writing and research in the target language—reinforces these goals in relation to the knowledge, insights and perspectives gained as an undergraduate. Together with advanced courses, the capstone prepares students for graduate work as well as for sophisticated projects in many fields.

Students planning to do graduate work are advised to develop a strong background in literary analysis. Those planning to certify as language teachers should gain a background in the structure of the target language.

Students fulfilling the language requirement for their overall degree will attain proficiency in oral and written expression, listening comprehension, reading and cultural awareness. These goals are usually attained at the end of a fourth-semester Southwestern course, meaning students typically remain in the same language through the intermediate level. Some students learn multiple languages while at Southwestern. We take special pride in advising and mentoring undergraduates throughout their time in our programs and beyond.

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