Modern and Classical Languages Literatures Department

This is an archived copy of the 2018-2019 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Elizabeth Ametsbichler, Chair

Instruction is offered in the following languages and literatures:

  • Arabic,
  • Chinese,
  • French,
  • German,
  • Classical Greek,
  • Italian,
  • Japanese,
  • Latin,
  • Russian and
  • Spanish, as well as in
  • linguistics,
  • foreign literatures in English translation, film, and the study of foreign cultures.

Undergraduate courses have been planned to meet the needs of students who began studying a language in high school as well as those who undertake such study for the first time at the University.

The courses are intended to serve several purposes:

  1. Contribute to the general education of students by giving them an opportunity to gain insight into patterns of living and thinking which are different from their own;
  2. Enable students to gain proficiency in the language;
  3. Prepare candidates for careers in research and college teaching by providing a solid basis for graduate studies in the various languages;
  4. Prepare future teachers of foreign languages;
  5. Provide language training requisite to careers in government, foreign commerce, and library work;
  6. Enable students to read foreign publications and to meet graduate foreign language requirements in their field.

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures offers undergraduate majors in

  • Classics (Greek and Latin),
  • French,
  • German,
  • Japanese,
  • Russian, and
  • Spanish.

Within Classics, it is possible to elect options in

  • Classical Languages (Latin and Greek),
  • Classical Civilization, and
  • Latin.

There are undergraduate minors in

  • Arabic and
  • Chinese.

High School Preparation: Credit is automatically granted for Advanced Placement scores of 3, 4, or 5. At each UM Orientation, the department offers a computerized placement/assessment examination in French, German, and Spanish. Students also can arrange individually to take the CLEP exam, administered by Testing Services in French, German, or Spanish.

These exams are not required, but serve one or more of three purposes:

  1. Exemption from the General Education Competency Requirement in Foreign Language: if the student achieves a score that indicates a competence equivalent to the completion of French, German, or Spanish 102 (second semester). (See the General Education Requirements section of this catalog.)
  2. Placement for further study in the language: the score achieved on this test is an accurate indicator of the course level at which language study should be resumed at the University (e.g. 102, 201, 202).
  3. Credit by examination: A student with extensive language study may score high enough on the placement exam to qualify for University credits if she or he places into 202 or 301. By taking the course into which she or he placed (202 or 301) and receiving a B (3.00) or better, the student may then receive four by–pass credits (Pass grade only) for the preceding course (201or 202).

Students who elect not to take this exam may:

  1. Satisfy the General Education Competency Requirement in Foreign Language by successfully completing a University foreign language 102 (second semester) course.
  2. Estimate their placement level for further study by the approximate equating of one year of high school study to one semester of university study. Students should consult with the department in making this estimate.

Foreign Study Programs. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures offers programs of accredited study in Austria, Chile, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Mexico, and Russia. Each program is supervised by a departmental faculty member, and is open to any student who meets the respective foreign language prerequisites. (There is no language prerequisite for the Study Abroad in Italy, but Italian is recommended.) Details concerning individual programs are available from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. The department also sponsors work/study internships abroad for students in Japanese.