Undergraduate Studies

What is a Modern Languages major?

Thousands of K-State students recognize the value of combining a degree in agriculture, engineering, architecture, physics, journalism and many other fields with a foreign language to enhance their career plans.

The Department of Modern Languages offers majors in French, German and Spanish. Students may combine their Modern Language majors with a major in a different field or college. To accomplish this, students need to complete the requirements for a BA in Modern Languages as well as those for the other major or degree. We also encourage students to consider secondary majors in International Studies or Latin American Studies or a minor in East Asian Studies, or work in African Studies, to complement their curriculum. For information about these programs, please contact Dr. Robert Clark (rclark@ksu.edu), Assistant Professor of French, Modern Languages, and Director, International and Area Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, or the program director in other area studies that interest you [David Graff (dgraff@ksu.edu)for East Asian Studies, or the leaders in African Studies].

Our department recommends students study abroad in order to enhance their major. Students are advised to consult with the department regarding applicability of courses taken abroad to their major. Students interested in preparing for graduate school or for high school teaching should be aware of the corollary courses in linguistics and phonetics. Six hours of history of the country of the student's major language are desirable.

Entering students who have had previous language experience and who plan to continue language study are required to take a language placement examination (available in 001 Eisenhower Hall) before or at the beginning of the first semester of language study. Students wishing to acquire credit for language proficiency gained before coming to K-State should contact the Department of Modern Languages (modlang@ksu.edu).

Students testing into a higher level and successfully completing the course with a "C" or better, will receive retroactive credit for the preceding course for FREE, on a "take one class/ receive credit for one class" basis, thus completing your language course sequence quicker.

How to declare a major in Modern Languages?

To major in Modern Languages a student should enroll in and must meet the requirements of a Bachelor of Arts degree. To declare a major in Modern Languages, go to the office of Arts & Sciences, 117 Eisenhower Hall, make sure to specify the language you wish to major in. Once you have declared your major, contact Angélique Courbou (angeli@k-state.edu) to get an advisor.

Financial aid:

The department offers scholarships to undergraduate majors and double majors for study at K-State or study abroad programs. For details, contact the head of the Department of Modern Languages.

Programs abroad:

The department sponsors summer study programs in France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain. In addition, students may choose to participate in other programs, such as the International Student Exchange Program, or Community Service Programs. For more information about study abroad opportunity, please check our study abroad page.


Beginning and intermediate courses

Levels I and II of each language introduce the student to the structure of the language and provide ample opportunity for practicing the spoken language, including additional experience in the language laboratory.

Levels III and IV provide a continuation of Level II with practice in the spoken and written language. They may include intensive grammar review as well as introduction to reading the modern prose of the respective language.

Elementary Conversation IIIA and IVA are normally taken concurrently with Level III and IV courses. These courses emphasize the spoken language. Students are given the opportunity to practice their oral skills in situations that are useful for traveling, studying or working abroad.

Advanced courses

Courses on the 500 level refine the speaking, listening, writing and reading skills developed in the beginning and intermediate language courses. Conducted entirely in the foreign language, these courses attempt to build the confidence of the student in using the language while simultaneously increasing his or her knowledge in specific areas of language, literature and culture. They include courses on composition and civilization as well as introductions to the literature of the respective language.

The 700-level courses further increase the student's sophistication in spoken and written language skills and train him or her in the specialized techniques of literary study.

Our department encourages students to study abroad in order to enhance their major or minor. While university policy requires courses applied towards the minor and the major to be taken in residence, we will accept appropriate coursework taken toward the minor and the major; provided that at least two 400/500 level courses for the minor, and two 700 level courses for the major be taken on campus. Students are advised to consult with the department regarding applicability of courses taken abroad to their program of study.

Students interested in preparing for graduate school or for high school teaching should be aware of the corollary courses in linguistics: 681, General Phonetics, and 780, Introduction to Linguistics. Six hours of history of the country of the student's major language are desirable.


Careers and Modern Languages

Fields particularly suited to double majors with languages:
  • English, particularly for teaching
  • Linguistics
  • Comparative literature
  • Journalism, especially in areas with large minority populations
  • English as a second language; positions here and abroad
  • Business administration; graduate schools of international management
  • Psychology (many graduate departments are reverting to a requirement)
  • Social work; counseling
  • Education and educational administration, especially in bilingual areas
Fields in which knowledge of a language is an asset:
  • Banking and economics (international)
  • Ecology, energy sources- international research and development
  • Publishing- translation, editing, review of current works, correspondence
  • Journal abstracting, in all fields, especially sciences
  • Medicine, dentistry, nursing
  • Law, especially urban areas, but beginning to be profitable over larger areas
  • Theology, ministerial and missionary work
  • History, political science
  • Music, art (in creative and publishing-merchandising aspects)
  • Movies, television
  • Libraries- researcher, bibliographer, etc.
  • Airlines, railroads, travel agencies, hotel/motel industry
  • Government programs (HSA); Peace Corps programs in public and private sectors (many advisory and research international programs funded by foundations, interest groups, trade organizations, etc.)
  • Educational foundations (Ford, etc.); representatives, planning student travel
Fields requiring a good deal of language and specialized training:
  • Simultaneous translator (United Nations, etc.)
  • Interpreter- in both government and business and in almost any field
  • Translator- publishing companies, business and government- even in agriculture
  • Reader- publishers, libraries, business, journalism, research
  • Teacher: secondary- need training in language and in how to teach it
  • Teacher: college- at least an M.A. here and abroad
  • Teacher: bilingual- mostly primary/elementary; must be fluent in the language and have coursework in how to teach several subjects in that language
  • Consultant- teaching, machines, language laboratory supervision and development, multimedia language programs, textbook development, graphics, etc.
  • Diplomatic service

For more information on careers, contact Kansas State University Career and Employment Services.