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    Hamline University
    Jul 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Modern Languages and Literatures Department

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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 and Chinese 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.

Students interested in languages other than Spanish and Chinese may enroll in language classes through ACTC at Augsburg, Macalester, St. Kate’s or St. Thomas. For more information, see Hamline’s ACTC information page.

Minors and Interdisciplinary Studies

Students may minor in Spanish and Chinese. The Modern Languages department also advises students on Flexible Curriculum options, which is one way to major in a language. In addition, study abroad is recommended and encouraged. Courses taken abroad could count for the minor, depending on the content and faculty approval.

Most students combine a minor in Spanish or Chinese with another discipline. Popular combinations include Global Studies, Education, Biology, Public Health, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Social Justice and Social Change, Psychology, and also Creative Writing. 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 link will send you to a login portal. Create an account using your Hamline ID. You will not be charged for the placement exam.

  • 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 (3110 or 3210) and 4th (3120 or 3220) semester language level. Scores higher than 4th semester should register for an Advanced Composition, Conversation or Reading course. See the Courses section of this Bulletin for course descriptions.

Certificate of Proficiency

A Certificate of Proficiency is offered in Spanish 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 or Chinese and is noted on their transcript.

Undergraduate Research

Students interested in undergraduate research are urged to communicate their interest to a faculty member in their chosen language as soon as possible. Undergraduate research 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. 

Honorary Societies

Hamline University is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society. Our chapter is Lambda Omicron. 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 and minors 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 seeking 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.


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.


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