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    Hamline University
    May 24, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2019-2020 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 Global Studies and International Management and in the interdiscipinary major and 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 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants who are native speakers of Spanish, German, or Chinese.

In addition to the major and minor in German and Spanish and the minor in Chinese, the department offers the “Certificate of Proficiency” in Spanish, German, and Chinese 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

Certificate of Proficiency

The Certificate of Proficiency recognizes that students have acquired basic communication skills in Chinese, German, or Spanish. See the individual languages for details.

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 be 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, Chair. 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. 

Shannon Cannella, Lecturer of Chinese Studies. BA 1991, University of Minnesota; MA and MPhil 1997, PhD 2014, Columbia University. Modern Chinese Language and Literature. Chinese Poetry and Poetics. Chinese Paintings.

Maria Jesus Leal, Professor. MA 1995, PhD 2007, University of Valladolid. Spanish Philology and Comparative Linguistics, Peninsular Literature and Culture.


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