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Modern Languages

Major and Minor Requirements

Major in French Studies, Hispanic Studies, German Studies

The Department of Modern Languages offers majors in French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, and International Literature and Culture. Our courses prepare students to live and work in the global community of the 21st century by giving them powerful tools for communicating and collaborating with people in the pluralist U.S. and abroad.

Our courses have three main goals:

1. to foster critical thinking skills through an awareness of the power of language in its many contexts

2. to provide linguistic training for students to develop proficiency in a foreign language

3. to promote intercultural competence for students to communicate effectively across diverse cultural lines

Our graduates pursue successful careers in most fields, including education, international education, journalism, social services, business, international business, economics, government law, international law, and applied and theoretical sciences.

French, German or Hispanic Studies Major

To major in either French, German or Hispanic Studies the student must take at least eight courses (32 credits) at the 200, 300 and 400 levels and complete the Senior Capstone Experience.

The courses chosen for the FRS major must include:

  • Either 301 or 302 (or an equivalent taken abroad)
  • Either 303 or 304, to be taken on the Washington College campus.
  • At least two courses at the 400 level, one of which must be taken during the senior year on campus.
  • For those students beginning FRS at either the 100 or 200 level, FRS 201 and/or 202 may count toward the major.

The courses chosen for the GRS major must include:

  • GRS 301 and GRS 302 (or an equivalent taken abroad)
  • GRS 304 or 305
  • At least one course at the 400 level, which must be taken during the senior year on campus.
  • For those students beginning GRS at either the 100 or 200 level, GRS 201 and/or 202 may count toward the major.

The courses chosen for the HPS major if the student studies abroad must include:

  • HPS 301 or 302 (or an equivalent taken abroad)
  • HPS 303 or 304, to be taken on the Washington College campus.
  • At least two courses at the 400 level, one of which must be taken during the senior year on campus.
  • Students may count up to one course given in English under the International Literature and Culture heading toward their major if their written work is done in Spanish
  • For those students beginning HPS at either the 100 or 200 level, any HPS 200 level course at or above 202 may count toward the major.

The courses chosen for the HPS major if the student is unable to study abroad must include:

  • HPS 301 and 302
  • Two courses from this list: HPS 303, HPS 304, HPS 305.
  • Two 400 level courses, one taken during the senior year.
  • Students may count up to two courses given in English under the International Literature and Culture heading toward their major if their written work is done in Spanish
  • For those students beginning HPS at either the 100 or 200 level, any HPS 200 level course at or above 202 may count toward the major.

For a complete listing of available courses, please consult the Course Catalog.

As a general rule, at least four of the courses presented for the major must be taken on the Washington College campus unless otherwise agreed upon by the faculty advisor. Students may count courses given in English under the International Literature and Culture heading toward their major if their written work is done in the foreign language.

The Department strongly encourages its majors in a foreign language to complete a semester of overseas study (or a summer program if previously approved by the Department) in the relevant language, and further recommends a year-long course of study. In some cases, study abroad is necessary in order to complete all the course work. As part of their study abroad experience, students complete a study abroad portfolio (FRS/GRS/HPS 375) to be turned in to the faculty advisor. Through exchanges coordinated by the Global Education Office, Washington College offers many options for study abroad to majors and minors in this department. Students are expected to consult the faculty when planning their study abroad experience to insure that the program they choose meets the needs of their major and that they have a well-balanced course of study while abroad, including classes that complement their course of study on campus. There are opportunities for language-related internships as well. Interested students are urged to consult the chair or other department faculty.

To improve fluency, enrich course work, and further their interest in the customs and cultures they are studying, language students are encouraged to speak the foreign language on a daily basis with the native French, German, and Spanish assistants who reside in the Language Suites. The language assistants are also available to students on a regular basis at informal coffee hours and meetings of the foreign language clubs throughout the year. All interested students are invited to participate in the cultural activities sponsored by the language clubs, International House, and the department itself.

The Department encourages students to enrich their knowledge of the foreign culture they are studying by taking related courses from other departments and in some cases, these courses may be counted toward the major. We also recommend that our majors study two years of a second foreign language.

The Senior Capstone Experience

Majors must successfully complete the Senior Capstone Experience, which may consist of a comprehensive examination (in HPS only), an original research project (open to students with a 3.5 GPA or higher in the major), or a thesis based on a seminar paper. In each case, students will consult with the faculty advisor(s) in order to choose the most appropriate Capstone Experience, which must be approved by the faculty advisor(s). The Senior Capstone Experience will be graded Pass, Fail or Honors and should be taken during the semester in which the student plans to graduate.

Minor in French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies

The Department also offers minors in French Studies, German Studies, and Hispanic Studies. Students who begin a language with 101, 102, or 201 must take a total of six classes in order to obtain the minor. Students who begin with 202 or above must take a total of five classes, at least one of which must be at the 400 level.