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International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

The department offers majors and minors in Asian Studies, French, German, Latin American Studies, and Spanish, as well as a minors in African Studies, European Studies, Italian, Japanese, and Middle Eastern Studies. The French and Spanish programs offer honors in the major. All courses are taught in the target language unless otherwise indicated in the course description.

Majoring in an international language means studying the language, literature, and culture of the countries concerned. Knowledge of an international language deepens understanding of one's own culture and language and contributes toward a greater appreciation of other cultures.

The Department of International Languages, Literatures, and Cultures' goals and objectives for our students include:

  • Development of professional mastery of communicative skills in one or more foreign languages other than English.
  • Appropriation of linguistic skills, transferable selectively to a wide range of practical options, including--but not limited to--mass media, higher education, travel/leisure enterprises, the performing arts, teaching, diplomacy, law enforcement, military intelligence, the space program, business/marketing, international banking, politics, the Peace Corps, etc.
  • Acquisition of knowledge and sensitivity toward one or more literary and cultural heritages/traditions other than those of English-speaking countries.
  • Internalization of the principle of diversity as one of the cornerstones of personal, national, and international relationships, and promotion of its inherent values in the world at large.
  • Achievement of a high degree of information literacy by accessing national and international sources, and judicious evaluation of the same for form, value, and content.

The department's Multimedia Language Learning Center allows faculty and students to use technology to further the acquisition of world languages and cultural awareness. The applications of this technology enhance the department's capability to fulfill its mission in teaching and learning.

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Russian are offered through the intermediate level depending on student demand. CSU Online can offer further opportunities in these languages.

International Programs

Students have an opportunity to study for a year through the California State University International Programs, or for a year, a semester, or a summer through University Study Abroad Consortium, and partner organizations and universities. There are many opportunities to study in a wide variety of countries and apply this study to a major or minor in languages and area studies. There are also scholarships for study abroad. See the University's Study Abroad and International Exchange program adviser for more information. Approval of course equivalencies from study abroad programs must be authorized by the department prior to studying abroad and verified afterward.

Career Outlook

A degree in an international language increases employment prospects with employers such as the government, multinational corporations, airlines, shipping companies, wineries, travel agencies, hospitals, and in education, technology, and music. Language competency in a world language is necessary in different international programs (international relations, international business) and area studies programs (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Pacific Basin).

In California and many other states, Spanish is a useful adjunct in the fields of social welfare, medicine, elementary and secondary teaching, and other areas of public service.

For students planning to attend graduate school, the knowledge of a foreign language is an important research tool and is a requirement in most disciplines.

Awards and Scholarships

Awards and scholarship opportunities are as follows:

  • The John Boyle Outstanding Japanese Student Award is awarded yearly.
  • The John Boyle Outstanding Chinese Student Award is awarded yearly.
  • The Betsy Randolph Study Abroad Award goes to a student in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, of which this department is a part, to study abroad.
  • The Betsy Randolph scholarships for Spanish Majors are administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office; see information there about applying.
  • The Bix Whitcomb Phi Sigma Iota Study Abroad Award goes to a minor or major in the department who is a member of the Phi Sigma Iota Foreign Language Honorary Society, performs service to Phi Sigma Iota, and plans to study abroad.
  • The Maria Haynes Scholarship is for a student of Italian and is administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, see information there about applying.
  • The Melitta T. Singer Scholarship is available for a minor or major in German and is administered by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office, see information there about applying.
  • There is also an exchange program with the University of Mainz in Germany which provides a scholarship by recommendation of faculty members in German for one student of German each year to study at the University of Mainz.


Catalog Cycle:19