Modern Languages Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is there a languages requirement at Saint Mary's College?
  2. What language should I study?
  3. May I take the Introductory courses in the language I've studied in high school?
  4. Should enroll in the elementary or intermediate course?
  5. What if I have not taken the SAT II exam?
  6. What if the other students have had more years of high school language than I've had?
  7. Can I place out of the requirement?
  8. Can I get education certification in my foreign language?
  9. Can I combine a language major with a major in another department?
  10. What can I "do" with a major in foreign languages?
  11. Can I study other languages than Spanish, French, German or Italian?
  12. May I come visit a language class at Saint Mary's College?

Is there a language requirement at Saint Mary's College?

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Yes. The Saint Mary's College Mission Statement emphasizes that among the skills each graduate will have acquired is competence in a foreign language. The Sophia program requires each student to complete two semesters of continuous study of the same language: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Arabic or Chinese.

What language should I study?

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Usually, Saint Mary's students choose to continue the language they've studied in high school. They can fulfill their language requirement by taking two semesters of Elementary or Intermediate courses in this language. You may also complete your language requirement by taking two semesters of Introductory courses in a language other than the one you studied in high school.

May I take the Introductory courses in the language I've studied in high school?

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Yes; however college credit cannot be granted for these courses, nor do they count towards the completion of your language requirement. If you don't feel confident enough about your foreign language background to continue in College at the Elementary or Intermediate level, we recommend you choose another language and fulfill your requirement at the Introductory level of that language.

I do want to continue with the language I studied in high school but I am not sure if I should enroll in the introductory or intermediate course?

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Placement in the elemenrary or intermediate sequence is determined by your score on the placement exam. The First Year Studies Office will provide you with a username and pass code in order to take the on-line test.

What if the other students in the Intermediate classes have had more French, or Spanish, or German, or Italian, or Chinese, or Arabic than I've had? Won't that make it harder for me?

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No. The Modern Languages faculty know that students come to our courses with a wide range of experience. All courses provide introducations or reviews of grammar and vocabulary, as well as cultural material and conversation practice that are new to all students.

I did really well in my high school language classes. Can I place out of the requirement?

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Yes! If you receive a grade of four or higher on the Advanced Placement Examination in your language, you will receive eight college credits and thus you place out of the requirement. If you receive a recentered score of 640 or higher in French (630 or higher in Spanish and German) on your SAT II, you are exempted from the College foreign language requirement, but you do not receive college credit. In this case, you may complete your language requirement with the Intermediate language sequence. If after the first weeks the Intermediate course seems too easy, you may complete the requirement with a course at the 200 or 300 level.

I want to teach. Can I get education certification in my foreign language?

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Absolutely! In conjunction with other departments, the Department of Modern Languages grants:

  • Secondary education certification in French, Grades 9-12 (36 credits)
  • Secondary education certification in Spanish, Grades 9-12 (36 credits)

The Department of Modern Languages offers a special course in Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages, MODL 445, which is cross-listed with Saint Mary's Department of Education.

Can I combine a language major with a major in another department?

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Yes, of course. In fact, many of our students are double majors. Learning a foreign language and becoming familiar with other cultures increases your attractiveness to future employers in any number of fields. Foreign language study complements any major; it enhances your cultural perspective, challenges your mind, and provides significant personal enrichment.

What can I "do" with a major in Modern Languages?

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Virtually anything you want to. Studies show that, in our global economy, employers give preference to job candidates with foreign language experience. Our graduates have gone on to careers in education, communications, business, law, and government, among other fields.

Can I study other languages than Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish, German or Italian?

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Yes, through our co-exchange program with the University of Notre Dame, you may take courses in a large number of languages, from Latin to Irish. However, these courses do not fulfill the Sophia requirement in Modern Languages; they may be included as elective credit only. For more information, consult the University of Notre Dame.

This sounds great! Can I come visit a language class at Saint Mary's?

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You are more than welcome to sit in on a language class as part of your on-campus visit to the College - in fact, we encourage you to do so! Just ask the Admission Office, and they'll make all the arrangements. We'll look forward to seeing you! A bientôt, hasta la vista, Auf Wiedersehen, أشوفكم بعدين إن , شاء الله, 希望见到您, ciao!