2013-2014 Undergraduate Bulletin 
    Feb 03, 2023  
2013-2014 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Modern Languages and Literatures Department

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The department of modern languages and literatures offers students the opportunity to develop a high degree of competence in a foreign language and to examine and understand values, beliefs, and practices different from their own through the study of language, literature, and culture. Students may study intensively German or Spanish, and, to a lesser degree, Chinese and French. The department actively encourages students to engage in collaborative scholarship with faculty members in the fields of language, literature, or culture. To facilitate the study of language in an interdisciplinary context, the department participates in international studies, Latin American studies, and international management and economics. The department also participates in the interdisciplinary minor in linguistics offered at Hamline through the English department.

To provide students with a more direct experience in their chosen language, the department helps students choose appropriate study abroad programs and facilitates interaction with Amity Scholars from France, Germany, Spain, and Latin America, as well as with native speakers from other countries.

In addition to the major, and the minor in German and Spanish, the department offers the “certificate of proficiency” to students in those languages who wish to acquire communication skills and cultural awareness for basic professional purposes

Language Placement Exam

The Modern Languages Department encourages all first year, transfer and returning students, to take the placement exam before registering for their first Hamline language class.

*The test takes 10-25 minutes on average.
*Test results are available on-line within a few minutes of taking the exam.
*The test results indicate clearly which appropriate level students should register for, including 1st (1110), 2nd (1120), 3rd (3210) and 4th (3220) semester language level. Scores higher than 4th semester should register for an Advanced Composition, Conversation or Reading course. See Modern Languages Department webpages for course descriptions.

For more information and to access the test, visit www.hamline.edu/languageplacement.

Certificate of Proficiency

The certificate recognizes that students have acquired basic communication skills in both German and Spanish. See the individual languages for details.

French Language Studies

Hamline offers students interested in French both beginning and intermediate classes. More advanced students seeking the minor or the major are encouraged to pursue opportunities for advanced study available to them through the ACTC.

French may be used to complement majors in such fields as anthropology, biology, communications studies, global studies, management and economics, and international relations. It may also prepare students for Study Abroad.

Students who score higher than the 4th level on the language placement exam would be advised to take advanced-level courses in French offered by the ACTC.

Undergraduate Research and Honors

Students interested in undergraduate research are urged to communicate their interest to a faculty member in their chosen language as soon as possible. Students wishing to be considered for honors in either German, or Spanish should request detailed information from the faculty no later than the fall or spring mid-term of their junior year. Both undergraduate research and honors projects offer students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, to formulate a question, to explore it in depth, and to write a significant paper. Students who successfully complete their honors project will be awarded honors at graduation, and their accomplishment will recognized on their transcript.

Honorary Societies

Sigma Delta Pi.This is the Spanish National Honor Society founded at UC Berkeley. Qualifying students are nominated for memberships.

Postgraduate Opportunities

Students who study in the modern languages and literatures department find that they have been helped to think analytically, to read carefully, to express themselves well in writing and orally, and to conduct themselves with sensitivity in interpersonal and multicultural settings. Language majors have entered careers in journalism and communications, in business, in social welfare, in education (at elementary, secondary, and university levels), in nonprofit and government agencies, international organizations, and in law. Students wishing advice on postgraduate opportunities or wishing to contact alumni in fields that interest them should consult with faculty members in the department, as well as the Career Development Center.


Andrea Bell, professor. BA 1982, Whitman College; MA 1984 and 1985, PhD 1991, Stanford University. Spanish, Peninsular and Latin American literature, culture and history; Latin American science fiction. 

Maria Jesus Leal, associate professor. MA 1995, PhD 2007, University of Valladolid. Spanish philology and linguistics, Peninsular literature and culture.

Kari Richtsmeier, assistant professor. BA 1992, Hamline University; MS 1995, PhD 2000 Georgetown University.

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