Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    Hamline University
    Jun 22, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Modern Languages and Literatures Department

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academics

The Modern Languages department offers relevant, empowering, and skills-based language study for students seeking cross-cultural competence in another language and culture. Courses in Spanish, Chinese, and German provide pathways to value diversity and to understand contemporary issues such as climate change, migration, and economic development from an international perspective. We also explore language as cultural expression, reflecting the diverse values, beliefs and practices of people living in a dynamic global community.

Majors, Minors, and Interdisciplinary Studies

Students may major and minor in Spanish or German and minor in Chinese. The Modern Languages department also advises students on Flexible Curriculum options, which is one way to major in Chinese, for example. As the German program begins its scheduled phase-out, the Flexible Curriculum option will be available for students to major or minor in German. In addition, study abroad is recommended and encouraged. Courses taken abroad could count for the major and minor, depending on the content and faculty criteria.

Most students combine a major or minor in Spanish, German or Chinese with another discipline. Popular combinations include Global Studies, Education, Biology, Public Health, International Business, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Social Justice, Psychology, and also Creative Writing. An interdisciplinary major or minor in Linguistics is also offered at Hamline through the English department. Please contact a member of the Modern Languages faculty to discuss options.

Language Placement Tool

The Modern Languages Department encourages all first year, transfer, and returning students to complete an online placement assessment before registering for their first Hamline language class.

  • The assessment takes 10-25 minutes on average.
  • Results are available on-line within a few minutes of completing the assessment.
  • The assessment 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 placement tool, visit

Certificate of Proficiency

A Certificate of Proficiency is offered in Spanish, German and Chinese. The Certificate of Proficiency represents the acquisition of both linguistic and cultural competencies for basic professional purposes. It also recognizes that students have acquired advanced-intermediate communication skills in Spanish, German, or Chinese and is noted on their transcript.

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 are awarded honors at graduation, and their accomplishment is recognized on their transcript.

Honorary Societies

Hamline University is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society. Qualifying students are nominated for membership and invited to participate in an induction ceremony.

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, health sciences, business, social services, education (at elementary, secondary, and university levels), and in nonprofit and government agencies, international organizations, and 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 and Latin American literature (especially science fiction), film, and popular culture ; Spanish-English translation. 

Shannon Cannella, senior lecturer of Chinese Studies, chair. BA 1991, University of Minnesota; MA and MPhil 1997, PhD 2014, Columbia University. Modern Chinese Language and Literature, Sustainability in the Chinese context, Chinese environmental literature, Chinese poetry, and Chinese art history.

Maria Jesus Leal, professor. MA 1995, PhD 2007, University of Valladolid. Spanish Philology and Comparative Linguistics, Peninsular Literature and Culture, Idiomatic Speech, Spanish Children’s Literature.


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academics