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We prepare students to engage with an increasingly globalized world through the intensive study of languages, literatures and cultures.

Proficiency in a foreign language is more than just an asset in today’s job market; it is an essential part of comprehending contemporary society. Our students learn how to communicate effectively in another language, while understanding and appreciating the culture in which it is spoken. Through clubs, language tables and faculty mentorship, our graduates are poised to ride the tidal wave of globalization and enter a multitude of career areas.

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85 percent of faculty are native speakers.

The major is a part of the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures, an academic unit within the College of Arts and Letters.

Students can earn both a B.A. in Modern Foreign Languages and a minor in a specific language. Currently the department provides:

  • Four years of instruction in Arabic, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Three years of instruction Chinese and Japanese.
  • Two years of instruction in Ancient Greek, Latin, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.

The minimum requirement for a major in languages is 33 upper-division credit hours in a specific language.

Modern Foreign Languages

Degrees Offered: B.A.

Concentrations: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Russian (not available 2020-21), Spanish

Minors: Arabic, Business French, Business German, Business Italian, Business Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Law Enforcement Spanish, Legal Spanish, Medical Spanish, Russian, Spanish, Translation & Interpretation (Spanish)

Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
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Currently Enrolled Major Changers 
Current students wishing to declare or change a major, minor or pre-professional program must complete a request through MyMadison. Additional department specific information will be available when that academic plan is selected.  Follow all directions and steps necessary to execute your request. Once all necessary steps are completed, the department will either approve or deny your request or contact you for additional information.

For additional assistance making this request, view the Change/Declare a Major/Minor tutorial in MyMadison or on the tutorials website.

Progressing in the Major

If students have had two or more years of language study in high school or at a previous institution and have not taken the SAT II in that language, students are required to take the JMU Foreign Language Placement exam if students plan to continue study in the same language at JMU.

Information about the foreign language placement exam can be found at: https://www.jmu.edu/forlang/flpe.htm

To progress in the major students should remain in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.


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Career Planning

A successful career and a meaningful life is what it’s all about. Whether it’s an internship, a great first job or a top graduate school appointment, JMU Dukes make their dreams ignite. You will, too.

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