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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, Spanish, and Asian Studies programs offer honors in the major. All courses are taught in the target language unless otherwise indicated in the course description.

Majoring in a language means studying the language, literature, and culture of people and places where the language is spoken. Knowledge of an international language deepens understanding of one's own language and culture and contributes toward a greater appreciation of other cultures. Area studies majors further attain an interdisciplinary perspective on a diverse region of the world. Our programs are designed to help students develop the linguistic and cultural knowledge and skills necessary to contribute to a multilingual, international society.

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 Fully 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 (CSU IP). Students can also opt to study for a year, a semester, or a summer through AIFS, the University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC), via faculty-led programs abroad, or through direct exchange with partner organizations and universities. There are many opportunities to study in a variety of countries and apply this study to a major or minor in languages and/or area studies. See the University's Study Abroad and Exchange advisor 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

Intercultural competence opens the door to many exciting careers. Competency in a world language and/or a degree in area studies leads to careers in international business, marketing, foreign intelligence and diplomacy, travel and tourism, entertainment, media and public relations, communications, translation/interpretation, teaching, and many service professions, to name but a few.

At the same time, in today’s globalized world a language and/or area studies major enhances a candidate’s attractiveness to employers in most career fields. Proficiency in another language, but also the cultural awareness and general communication skills that are attained as part of the major are highly valued by employers.

In California and many other states, Spanish is a useful adjunct in the fields of social welfare, agriculture, 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

Majors and minors in the department are eligible to compete for a number of awards and scholarships:

  • John Boyle Outstanding Asian Language Student Award
  • Maria S. Haynes Italian Studies Scholarship (Financial Aid and Scholarships Office)
  • Melitta T. Singer Memorial Scholarship for German (Financial Aid and Scholarships Office)
  • Betsy Randolph Spanish Language Scholarship (Financial Aid and Scholarships Office)
  • Bix Whitcomb Phi Sigma Iota Study Abroad Award for a language major (Study Abroad)
  • Chico World Dancers Study Abroad Award for a Spanish major (Study Abroad)
  • Betsy Randolph Study Abroad Award for majors in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. (Study Abroad)
  • Bix Whitcomb Study Abroad Award for majors in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (Study Abroad)
  • University of Mainz, Germany Exchange Program Scholarship for one student of German each year to study at the University of Mainz.
Catalog Cycle:21