Department of Modern Languages

This is an archived copy of the 2020-21 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit

Undergraduate Programs of Study

  • French (major, minor)
  • French Studies (minor)
  • German (minor)
  • German Studies (minor)
  • Spanish (major, minor)
  • Spanish Studies (minor)

Degrees Offered

  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
  • Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Department Description

Today’s interconnected world generates the need to be able to communicate in more than one language. As networks of international cooperation and exchange grow in complexity, particularly among governments and businesses, those who possess foreign language competence become increasingly valuable. Moreover, it has been shown that learning a second language can improve one’s overall writing and speaking ability.

The Department of Modern Languages offers major programs in French and Spanish, and courses in German. Study Abroad and the experience of living in another culture are an integral part of majoring in languages at North Dakota State University. Through the Tri-College University consortium, NDSU students may also study Chinese, Japanese, American Sign Languages, and classics.

In addition, degree programs in French Education and Spanish Education are offered between the Department of Modern Languages and the School of Education.

Language Placement 

Students must adhere to the placement requirements when enrolling in a language course for the first time at NDSU. If, after appropriate placement, the student’s instructor recommends that because of exceptional circumstances the student should be placed at a lower level, full credit at the new level may be granted.

Credit for Advanced Language Placement

A student placed at an advanced level may receive NDSU credit for those courses waived, upon fulfillment of the following conditions:

  1. The student has completed no previous college-level credit in that language;
  2. The student enrolls consecutively in at least two courses within the same level, i.e., 201-202, (intermediate); 311-312, (advanced); and receives grades of 'B' or better, (courses may not be taken pass/fail);
  3. The student submits a petition form obtained from the Department of Modern Languages, signed by the instructor and the department chair.

Major and Minor Programs

Language majors and minors may be obtained in French and Spanish, and a minor is offered in German. German courses are available through the third-year level.

Both the French and Spanish majors consist of a minimum of 28 credits above the intermediate level. At least nine of these credits must be in advanced language; the remainder may be chosen from a variety of courses in linguistics, literature, and culture. A minimum of one year of a second foreign language at NDSU, or the equivalent, is required. French and Spanish majors must earn a minimum grade of a 'B' for courses in the major, including credits received for study abroad. Junior and senior year course work will be determined in consultation with a faculty adviser according to the student’s background and interests.

A minor necessitates completion of a minimum of 18 credits beyond the intermediate level. At least nine of these credits must be in advanced language (normally conversation/composition).

Career Directions

Experience has shown that many students, with or without declared modern language majors or minors, find a second language background especially useful when combined with preparation in another professional field. Examples include health care, public relations, journalism, TV and radio broadcasting, hotel management, publishing and editing, government service, banking, and management.

One of the more promising occupational fields for language students has been international business. Individuals with foreign language skills are finding increased opportunities with multinational corporations, especially in management and marketing. Many companies with international ties recruit candidates possessing linguistic training because they recognize its correlation with effective verbal and written communication. Regardless of their specific majors, students are encouraged to contact the department for information and advice on career application of foreign language skills.

Students wishing to prepare for high school teaching should make this intention known to the School of Education and to the Department of Modern Languages to make certain that the requirements for state certification are met. Competitiveness and flexibility in the job market tend to be greater if certification can be obtained in two or more different areas.