Nov 29, 2022  
2020-2021 General Catalog 
2020-2021 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Modern Languages and Literatures

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Department Office
Carson Hall 18
(707) 664-2351

Department Chair
Jeffrey T. Reeder

Administrative Coordinator
Linnea Mullins

For faculty information, please see Faculty  or the Modern Languages faculty web page.

The programs and courses of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures make accessible to students the languages, literatures, and cultures of France and the Francophone world, Germany and the German-speaking countries, and Spain and Latin America. We recognize students’ need for linguistic competency and cultural sensitivity in the multilingual, multicultural world in which they will live and work. Thus, language is taught as an integral part of its cultural context. Programs and courses are designed to complement academic work in many other fields. For further information please consult the department’s website at

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers major and minor programs in French and Spanish, a minor program in German, and a Master of Arts program in Spanish. In addition, the department offers courses in World Literatures in English, participates in First- and Second-Year Experience through the Freshman Humanities Learning Community (HLC) and Second Year Research and Creative Experience (SYRCE), and provides an advising pathway for the Interdisciplinary Studies Special Major in German Cultural Studies and for the French Language certificate for Wine Business. Modern language courses are taught in the target language; functional control of all language skills (reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking) is a primary goal.

It is highly advisable that students combine a major or minor in modern languages with a major or minor in another discipline. Coursework, minors, and majors in modern languages complement specialized knowledge and expertise in other academic areas. The structure of the modern languages major programs facilitates the planning of double majors and minors. In addition to majors and minors offered by other departments, interdisciplinary and career minor programs of special interest to Modern Languages students include the Global Studies minor and the minor in linguistics.

Careers in Modern Languages and Literatures

The importance of early and frequent consultation with departmental advisors cannot be overstressed. It is the key to meaningful access to academic and career opportunities, including internships both at home and abroad. Through careful academic planning, the study of modern languages and literatures can open a wide range of career options in such fields as international business, wine business, government service, domestic and international human services, travel, librarianship, translating and interpreting, and journalism. Many department alumni have pursued work in the Peace Corps and various other nonprofit entities; others have earned teaching credentials or advanced degrees in their discipline and teach at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary levels. A degree in a second language is also an excellent preparation for a career teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures successfully prepares students for graduate programs in a wide variety of fields, most of which recommend or require second language proficiency.

International Programs

Through the International Programs of the California State University, Sonoma State University students may spend an academic year in residence at a university abroad. Courses taken abroad through the International Programs count as residence units in all University programs and can be integrated into an overall academic plan. For further information, contact the Center for International Education, (707) 664-2582, located in the International Hall.

Placement in Modern Language Courses

The faculty of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will assist students in selecting the appropriate course level.

Students with this many years in high school language courses should enroll in courses in this level:

0 Years Placement in 101
1 Year Placement in 102
2 Years Placement in 102
3 Years Placement in 200/201
4 Years Placement in 200/201

Students who have taken an Advanced Placement (AP) exam and scored 3, 4, or 5 should contact an advisor in that language for specific information regarding placement and credit.

Please note that placement can be very individual, particularly for heritage speakers of a language. Any students who have reason to believe that their language skills are more advanced than this table would imply should consult with the instructor of the course in which they think they would benefit most.

Transfer students with college credit in a modern language may not receive credit for SSU courses in the same language that duplicates previous work. Exceptions may be made by the chair of the department when the following conditions are met:

  1. The courses involved are lower-division; and
  2. The original study was accomplished three or more years prior to enrollment in the equivalent course at Sonoma State University.

Four-year graduation plans for students pursuing the bachelor of arts in French or Spanish are detailed below. Please see an advisor for details.

Course Challenges

Students may challenge courses, as provided in University procedures (please see more information in the Admissions  section of this catalog). It is essential that students interested in this possibility consult instructors of the courses they wish to challenge at the start of the semester.

Grade Requirements

Undergraduate Progression and Retention in Modern Languages Programs:

Students must maintain a minimum grade of C- in each course required for the major in French or Spanish; otherwise, the student will not be permitted to graduate in the programs. The student may repeat the course if she/he does not earn the minimum grade. The student must receive a grade of C- or better when the course is repeated. This policy also applies to courses taken at other institutions, abroad or in the United States.

Bachelor of Arts in the Special Major: German Cultural Studies

For information about the Bachelor of Arts in the Special Major: German Cultural Studies , see Interdisciplinary Studies  . You may also contact the coordinator Michaela Grobbel (; (707) 664-2673).



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