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Modern Languages

President Reveley: Why World Languages Matter


The Modern Languages program offers courses in French, German, Spanish, and Teaching English as a Second Language.

The major in Modern Languages requires a concentration in one of these four areas and completion of a second modern language through the intermediate level. The minor in French, German, or Spanish requires 18 credits at the 201-level or higher.

Planning to teach?

After following a sequence of education courses, students meeting endorsement requirements will be licensed to teach a modern language in elementary and secondary schools.

Study abroad

Our majors also study abroad for a semester, typically during the junior year. Recent graduates have lived and studied in Avignon, Geneva, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Heidelberg, Argentia, Chile, and Valencia.

Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers

For information, please visit this link.


Career Outlook

Our graduates have found a wide variety of careers open to them. The communicative and interpersonal skills provided by a liberal education enable our graduates to adjust and adapt successfully to changes in the job market throughout their professional careers.

"With my combined degrees of Spanish and Business Administration, I will be working for KPMG, an international Big Four accounting firm in Washington DC, as a governmental auditor"

Morgan Atkins, '05.


Academic Goals

We believe that continual use of the language both within and outside the classroom is vital for skill development.

Modern Language majors are encouraged to live in the designated International Studies Hall, where they can find roommates who agree to speak the target language in their living areas. Majors also have the opportunity to attend all kinds of university-sponsored cultural activities: a German immersion weekend at Dr. Reynolds's farm; visits to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; French film festivals; Latin dancing performances; dinner at "La Parota" in Farmville.

The expectations for graduates of our program are taken from the advanced-level guidelines developed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, including:

  • An understanding of the culture, civilization, traditions, and behavior of the target areas.
  • An understanding of the cultural heritage of the people as expressed in literature: knowledge of major authors, literary periods and movements, and the development of literary genres.
  • The ability to speak the target language: to converse in a clearly participatory fashion; to initiate, sustain, and bring to closure a wide variety of communicative tasks, to satisfy the requirements of school and work situations; and to narrate and describe with paragraph-length connected discourse.
  • The ability to understand the spoken language, to include main ideas and most details of connected discourse on a variety of topics beyond the immediacy of the situation.
  • The ability to read longer prose of several paragraphs in length without the aid of a dictionary.
  • The ability to meet most practical writing needs in the target language, including limited social demands: to write simple letters, brief synopses and paragraphs, and summaries of biographical data, work, and school experiences.


  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • English as a Second Language


  • French
  • German
  • Spanish