Return to: Programs of Study
The study of foreign languages, literature, and culture increases enables students to develop the skills and competence necessary to appreciate the richness of different cultures and societies. The study of foreign languages is a necessary component of students’ general education. It increases opportunities for those interested in careers in law, international relations, foreign service, teaching, public policy, and business.
CMC students are encouraged to continue the study of a foreign language throughout their study at CMC or to take advantage of the opportunity to learn a new language. Students will not receive credit for college work in a foreign language that duplicates other college courses or foreign language study completed in high school.
Primary Contact: Professor Fazia Aitel, Department Chair
Senior Thesis in Foreign Languages and Literatures
At CMC, the senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception.
CMC students with an off-campus major in foreign languages and literatures may register for a senior thesis in that major under the appropriate course (number) at the college sponsoring the major. CMC students may use this thesis in lieu of the senior thesis at CMC. If the off-campus major does not offer a senior thesis under its own course number, students must register for the senior thesis at CMC.
Students interested in doing a two-semester thesis project complete a one-half credit or full credit thesis research course in the first semester and the senior thesis in the second semester. The senior thesis and the thesis research course may not be counted as courses in the major.
Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes of the Program in Modern Languages and Literatures
The learning goals of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures encompass the mission of the College and promote respect and appreciation of different languages, cultures, and societies.
- To enable students to communicate effectively in one (or more) language(s);
- To enable students to acquire a deep knowledge of literatures and cultures represented by the language(s) chosen;
- To foster appreciation of the richness and complexities of other societies and cultures;
- To enable students to do research in the target language with a sophistication commensurate with their level of language study.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing the major in French or Spanish should be able:
- To speak and understand the target language(s) at the Advanced level, as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines;
- To read and write the target language at the Advanced level (ACTFL);
- To demonstrate an understanding of the important issues in one or more national traditions represented by the target language(s);
- To use the target language(s) to discuss, orally and in writing, literary and visual texts of the target culture(s) critically and analytically, with appropriate vocabulary;
- To identify and incorporate appropriate sources in the target language in their research papers and presentations;
- To write an advanced research paper/senior thesis that articulates a sophisticated argument about a text or series of texts from the target culture(s).
General Education Requirement Information
Foreign Language Requirement: All CMC students must meet the three-semester general education requirement in (one) foreign language. New students who are placed in the fourth semester (or higher) of a foreign language through their placement test during orientation have met their foreign language requirement. Students who have provided documentation that they received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test in French, German, Latin, or Spanish may use this exam to meet the foreign language requirement. SAT Subject Test scores of 650 or above in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, or Spanish may also be used to apply for a waiver of the foreign language requirement. For further information, see Language Placement Tests below and General Education Requirements .
Foreign Literature Requirement: The general education requirement in foreign literature can be met with advanced courses (fourth semester or above) in a modern European language (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish), or through foreign literature courses in Arabic (above 44), Korean (fifth semester), Chinese (sixth semester), or Japanese (sixth semester).
Students interested in completing the foreign language or foreign literature general education requirement abroad or in the summer may only do so with permission of the department chair and the registrar.
Foreign Language Majors: For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in foreign languages and literatures must take designated courses in three of the fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in three of the four fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Students majoring in a foreign language with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional course in those categories.
Note: Candidates for Phi Beta Kappa must complete the fourth semester of a foreign language or higher for eligibility.
Foreign Language Study Abroad
All students interested in majoring in a foreign language are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a semester or a year in a country where courses are taught in the appropriate foreign language. Students studying abroad for one semester may use two courses completed abroad towards the major, provided the course is not a language or grammar class. Students studying abroad for a year may request approval for up to four courses for their major. Language or grammar courses may not be used for the major but, with prior approval from the CMC department chair may be used as electives towards graduation.
Advanced Placement and Other Examinations
Students who earn a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) test or a score of 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher Level examination in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, or Spanish may use this exam to meet the foreign language requirement; they will also receive elective credit towards graduation. Students will only receive one credit towards graduation for multiple exams in the same language.
Students who achieve a score of 650 or above on a College Board SAT Subject Test in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, or Spanish are also granted a waiver of the general education requirement in foreign language. They will not receive credit towards graduation.
Students cannot receive a waiver of the general education requirement in foreign literature through competency, a placement test, or an Advanced Placement exam.
Students with AP test scores or SAT Subject tests in other languages must take a language placement test to determine appropriate placement.
Language Placement Tests
All new students, except for students who have provided the CMC registrar with official copies of the above approved AP, IB, or SAT Subject Test scores, take a language placement examination designed by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the fall semester, prior to the beginning of classes.
Students who through this examination are placed in the fourth semester of a foreign language will have completed the foreign language requirement. They are encouraged to continue their language studies. However, any student who wishes to continue taking classes in Spanish is required to take the placement test regardless of SAT, AP, or IB test scores provided. This will insure accurate placement.
Return to: Programs of Study