04/24/14 6:28 AM

Academic Programs

World Languages and Literature


Pictured: Nine Spelman students studied in Oaxaca
(pronounced "wa-HA-ka"), Mexico this summer.

The Department of World Languages and Literature at Spelman College, housed on the fourth floor of the Cosby Academic Building, offers a variety of courses and programs in Spanish, French, Japanese and Latin. There are fifteen full time faculty members in the department, a director of the Language Resource Center, and part time faculty as enrollment demands.

Why Study Foreign Languages?

A language major or minor opens doors to teaching, foreign service, human rights agencies, social work and community service organizations, international corporations, international business and sales, consulting, interpreting, journalism, and the medical and legal fields, just to mention a few examples.

Major / Minor

The foreign languages department offers specialized programs in French. Chinese and Spanish leading to either a major or minor. Major and minor students are strongly encouraged to participate in a foreign study program. Students who wish to major in either French. Chinese or Spanish must complete at least 12 courses (45 credits) above the 200-level. Those wishing to minor in French, Chinese or Spanish must complete 6 courses (24 hours) above the 200-level. For either a major or minor, specific courses are required. For further information on the courses required, consult the college bulletin or the departmental chair.

Summer Programs

The department of foreign languages sponsors four summer programs. Students of French may spend a month in Martinique where they live with host families and study the French language and French-Caribbean culture. Students of Spanish may participate in our programs in Oaxaca, Mexico, Santiago, Malaga, Spain, Dominican Republic, and San José, Costa Rica. In these programs, students live with host families for a month and study Spanish in a university setting. The Oaxaca Program is intended for students who wish to also study historical and economic concerns of Mexico and see its diverse indigenous heritage. The program in the Dominican Republic is for students who are also interested in current social, political and economic issues in the Caribbean that affect Dominican life.

The program in Costa Rica is for students who wish to study Spanish and are also interested in social and environmental issues, and community service. Eight hours of credit are awarded upon successful completion of these programs.

French Films
Japanese Films
Spanish Films

Year / Semester Study Abroad

Spelman language students study in a wide variety of locations during their junior year, either for a semester or for the entire year. Some students choose to spend the first semester in one country and the second semester in another. Students planning to major in French or Spanish are strongly encouraged to participate in a Study-Abroad Program. The department sponsors a one-semester program at the Catholic University in Valparaiso, Chile, and works closely with the Director of the Office of Study Abroad to help students select appropriate programs.

French-Speaking Countries

Semester or academic-year programs are available in: Belgium; France: (Paris, Dijon, Nantes, Strasbourg); Senegal: (Dakar).

Spanish-Speaking Countries

Academic programs are available for a semester or a year abroad in Argentina: (Buenos Aires); Chile: (Santiago); Dominican Republic: (Santiago or Santo Domingo); Mexico: (Guadalajara); Spain: (Alicante, Madrid, Salamanca, Seville).


The Institute for Asian Studies offers programs at Tokyo International University for students of Japanese. These university-hosted programs are designed for English speakers since, in addition to Japanese language courses, students can earn university credit in academic courses taught in English.


Spelman works with organizations such as CIEE or Global Alliances to offer junior-year study abroad experiences in Shanghai, Beijing and Xi'an.

Language Resource Center

The new language lab is equipped with a 23 station state-of-the-art multimedia Sony Language Learning system. Additionally, five P.C. stations are outfitted with CD-ROM and Internet access. The technological flexibility of the system gives faculty and students a variety of options (from pronunciation drills to research), increasing understanding of other cultures and improving language performance. Contact: Paulina Canales

General Education Requirements

Students are required to complete a 202-level foreign course (for which they may substitute 222 in French or Spanish) in their chosen language. New students are offered a placement exam and subsequently placed in a language class between 101 – 202 / 222. Exceptional students may take an additional oral interview for possible exemption from the general education requirement. A student may fulfill the language requirement with two years of a language that is not offered at Spelman by taking, with prior permission of the department chair, off-campus courses.