Department of Modern Foreign Languages

Dr. Paul B. Crapo, Chair
427 Andy Holt Humanities Building
(901) 881-7420


Paul B. Crapo, Maria I. Malone, Stephen C. Mohler, Ingrid T. Padial, Robert D. Peckham, Nels J. Rogers, Alicia G. Welden.

The Department of Modern Foreign Languages offers majors in French and Spanish (B.A. degree); minors in French, Spanish and German; and two years of language study in Japanese and Portuguese.

The mission of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages is as follows:

  1. 1. to provide undergraduate instruction in certain important world languages;
  2. 2. to improve the literacy and communication skills of the non-major (reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar, listening and vocabulary building);
  3. 3. to improve cross cultural understanding and international awareness;
  4. 4. to prepare advanced level students for careers or graduate study in which these skills, knowledge and awareness are valuable.


The department maintains a multi-purpose Language Resource Center which is supplied and equipped to provide for the following activities: listening to foreign language audio tapes, recording one's own pronunciation, drilling with computerized foreign language software, viewing foreign language television programs available via satellite transmission, reading foreign language periodicals, viewing foreign language videotapes, making homestudy copies of certain recorded materials. The department maintains or oversees the distribution of an extensive collection of printed and recorded materials for foreign language study including records, videotapes, audiotapes, computer software, and other kinds of visual aids. Most of these materials are an integral part of the instructional program.

Departmental Scholarships

The Muriel Tomlinson Scholarship Award is presented annually to an outstanding foreign language student who is finishing his or her junior or senior year.

Ferry-Morse Seed Company sponsors an Internship in France.

Departmental Activities

Each semester, the department organizes a Foreign Film Series in order to enhance students' understanding of the foreign languages and cultures they are studying in the classroom. The department also sponsors a Lecture Series which brings representatives of business and government to campus to speak on issues of current interest in international business and politics.

Student Organizations

The department sponsors chapters of the national French and Spanish honoraries (Pi Delta Phi and Sigma Delta Pi) to recognize outstanding achievement in these disciplines. The French, German, and Spanish sections all sponsor clubs which provide students with extracurricular, cultural activities to enrich their academic programs.

Work Experiences for the Major

A foreign language major can apply for participation in a Cooperative Education Program in his or her freshman year. If approved, this will permit an alternation between full time study and full time employment with an international agency. Advanced majors who plan to teach a foreign language can apply for department tutoring positions.

Study Abroad and Internship Experiences

The department encourages students to take advantage of approved internships and study-abroad programs. The department has courses in French, German and Spanish which allow for credit for study abroad and will advise students in arranging study and internships in foreign countries. Check with the department chair for further information.

Careers for Students with

Foreign Language Proficiency

The department has staff trained to administer the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview in French and Spanish, through which a standardized oral proficiency rating can be assigned. Graduates with an oral proficiency rating of 3 or 4 and other appropriate preparation will be competitive for bilingual positions in the following careers: civil service, consulates, customs officer, exporter or importer, foreign exchange officers, international banker, interpreter, librarian, missionary, foreign correspondent, researcher, social worker, teacher translator, tourism, and many jobs with government and international agencies such as the United Nations, the Armed Services, the State Department, USIA, CIA, FBI, OAS, NATO, World Bank, Immigration and Naturalization, and many others. Foreign language proficiency can be a valuable auxiliary skill in virtually every profession.


B.A. Curriculum. A major in French or Spanish consists of at least twenty-one semester hours in courses numbered 300 or above, taught in the target language, including 341, 342, 451, three hours of culture and civilization, and three hours of literature. Completion of 341 or 342 is prerequisite to all other courses above 300. Additional non-foreign language prerequisites to the major are History 121-122, 200, and Geography 152 or 381. For majors intending to pursue advanced degrees in graduate school, English 450 is strongly recommended.

Majors in foreign languages are required to complete a language immersion experience as approved by the faculty advisor. The department will assist in placement appropriate to the student's needs which might include residence in a foreign country, study abroad, exchange programs, international internships, or other experiences that assure intensive cultural and language experiences. In the semester prior to graduation, majors are also required to assemble a portfolio, under the supervision of a faculty advisor. This portfolio will include writing samples from various advanced classes and the results of two tests designed to assess language knowledge, proficiency, and cultural literacy: an Oral Proficiency Interview and a departmental exam in advanced French or Spanish grammar.

Majors in foreign languages are encouraged to enhance their education by completing, as appropriate, complementary programs of study in fields as diverse as English, political science, economics, travel and tourism, communications, and education. Combining foreign language with training in such fields will better enable majors to pursue graduate studies and careers in various professions.

Minors and Certificates of Proficiency

B.A. or B.S. Curriculum. A minor in French, German, or Spanish consists of at least 12 hours in courses numbered 300 or above.

A Certificate of Proficiency in French, German, or Spanish language and culture entails at least 15 hours of upper-division coursework, with the following specific requirements: 1) Advanced Conversation (341) and Advanced Composition (342); 2) one course in civilization and culture; 3) The Language of Business and the Professions (451); 4) any additional upper-division course in language, literature, film, or civilization or an approved internship; 5) in the semester prior to graduation, students will be required to demonstrate their competency in the target language by taking an Oral Proficiency Interview and an examination in advanced grammar. (Foreign-language majors are not eligible for this Certificate.)

Minors and Certificates of Proficiency are advantageous for students majoring in disciplines in the liberal arts, such as English, history, and music, who intend to prepare for advanced degrees in graduate school. They are also recommended for students majoring in professional fields, such as agriculture, business administration, engineering, travel and tourism, communications, and social work, where knowledge of foreign languages and cultures is highly beneficial, given today's global economy.

Removing an Entrance Deficiency

An entrance deficiency in foreign languages can be removed by passing 111, the first semester of the elementary sequence of a foreign language, or 200 if continuing a foreign language begun in high school.

Satisfying the Foreign Language Requirement in the School of Arts and Sciences

The foreign language requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Science in the School of Arts and Sciences can be satisfied by passing a foreign language in one of the following ways: (1) completion of 211 in the same language as the one used to satisfy the entrance requirement, (2) completion of 211 in the same language as the one used to remove an entrance deficiency, or (3) completion of 112 in any other foreign language.

The foreign language requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in the School of Arts and Sciences is satisfied by completion of 212, the end of the intermediate sequence of a foreign language; or the equivalent. International students and resident aliens for whom it is determined that English is a second language may satisfy the requirement either as stated above or by taking an English course at the 200 level or above and passing with a grade of C or better.


Students who entered with two or more high school units of Spanish or French, and who wish to continue in the same language, will begin with 200 or take a placement test and be advised into an appropriate level based on their score on this test. Continuing German students should start with 112. If students are advised to start at the beginning of an elementary sequence (111), they will receive elective credit for that course. If they are advised to register in 200, 211 or 212 and they get a passing grade, they will have the equivalent of all the preceding courses in the lower division sequence. They do not receive a grade or credit hours for the courses skipped, but skipping them opens space in their curriculum for additional elective hours.

Credit for Foreign Language Proficiency

Students who enter with proficiency in French, Spanish or German and who wish to receive credit hours for that proficiency may take a CLEP test, and will receive a grade of P (Pass) for up to 14 semester hours, depending on their score on this nationally normed test. CLEP guidelines will be followed in assigning credit. Students can also receive credit for Advanced Placement tests passed in French, German and Spanish. College Board guidelines are followed in assigning AP credit.

Description of Courses