The Handbook for Foreign Language Majors

A Note To Foreign Language Majors

The Handbook serves as an introduction to departmental resources and curriculum requirements. Please read it thoroughly and consult it frequently; it will help you to plan for each semester and to formulate a long-range plan for graduation. Students should also read and consult frequently the Key Points of Information. It contains the information regarding general education requirements for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Students should also consult the Foreign Languages and Literatures home page.

Introduction to the Department

The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures has been offering courses at NC State since 1896. Even over a century ago, the NC State University considered an international component to its curriculum as essential in its land-grant mission.

Professor Lawrence Hinkle, Department Head from 1916-1956, wrote in 1922: "The importance of languages in education goes without question. They are of immense practical importance, to say nothing of their cultural value.  Nations and people are closer today than ever before, and never has there been a greater need for mutual agreement amongst the peoples of the earth." At the beginning of a new millennium, Professor Hinkle's statement still rings true.

Today, employers seek graduates who can interact confidently and appropriately with diverse populations. Whether preparing for a career in business, government, law, education, human services, science, the military, or the arts, students who develop their foreign-language skills will have a competitive edge. To this end the Department strives to serve the interests of NC State by contributing to its advancement in international awareness and by providing direct contact with other cultures for the social and economic development of the citizens of North Carolina.

The Department offers a wide variety of courses to meet students' professional and personal needs in order to develop their language proficiency and cultural awareness and to help them be competitive in today's global society. The Department has a nationally and internationally recognized faculty, the latest in multimedia classroom technology, and access to the international community in the U.S. and abroad.

The Department offers elementary and intermediate language courses as well as advanced courses in language, literature, culture, conversation, composition, civilization, and specialized courses such as Arabic Media, Chinese Popular Culture, French Cinema, Green Germany, Business Spanish, and others. There are also courses offered in English as a Second Language. 

The Foreign Language Major has concentrations in Arabic Language and Culture, Asian Language, French, French Education, German Studies, Spanish, and Spanish Education. 

Minors are available in Chinese Studies, Classical Greek, Classical Studies, French, German, Hindi/Urdu, Italian Studies, Japanese, Japanese Studies, Russian Studies, and Spanish.

The Department directs summer study-abroad programs in Austria, France, Italy, Peru, and Spain. Distance-learning courses are offered in many of the Department’s languages. Last year the Department taught nearly 12,000 students in over 450 course sections.  Many of the faculty have been awarded outstanding teaching, research, and advising awards.

The CHASS Language Computing Lab is a state of the art facility which includes a PC workstation open lab for student use, a PC/MAC workstation development area, and a PC workstation electronic classroom. Each workstation offers Internet access, word processing and spell-checking capabilities in many languages, language-specific tutorials, and software packages to supplement the Department's course offerings.

The Department encourages students to prepare themselves to become world citizens, able to thrive in the truly international environment of the new millennium. It looks forward to continuing to provide an international dimension to the students of NC State and to the citizens of North Carolina.

Why Major in a Foreign Language?

The continuous expansion of international relations makes the knowledge of foreign languages a critical need for today's professional. Students of foreign languages pursue careers not only in education, research, translating, and interpreting, but also in politics, diplomacy, banking, computer technology, software development, commerce and journalism to name a few. The demand for multilingual personnel extends to all fields of enterprise and is continuing to grow. Students who major in foreign languages may go on to graduate school or teach or study law, medicine, or business. Many apply the cognitive, reading, and writing skills they acquire to various positions in management, public relations, administration and government.

The Student and the Department

Academic Advising

When you matriculate into the department, you will be assigned a faculty advisor.   You should meet with your advisor during the registration period and your advisor is available throughout the academic year.  He or she will help you plan to meet requirements for graduation.  We believe that a carefully planned program is crucial for success and hope that you will get to know your advisor well.  Students need to assume their share of responsibility for advising and progress toward degree. In addition to your academic advisor, the Associate Department Head and Assistant Department Head for Student Affairs, Ms. Susan Navey-Davis are available to answer your questions.

Communicating with our Advisees

We communicate frequently with our students through email and we post important advising information and special opportunities for our majors. It is important that you check your NC State email account regularly. Students are always welcome to visit their advisors in person throughout the academic year.


Arabic Language and Culture
Ms. Jodi Khater

Asian Language
Dr. John Mertz

r. Meredith Fosque

Dr. Helga Braunbeck

Ms. Susan Navey-Davis

Foreign Language Education
Ms. Hannah Bollinger

Tips for Registration

Your Plan of Work must be completed before you can register. Once you submit, check your MyPack Portal a few days afterwards for your advisor’s comments. If your Plan is approved, then your advising hold will be released, and you can register for courses, according to your enrollment appointment in your MyPack Portal. At that point, feel free to follow up via email or an office visit with your advisor to go over any questions you may have.


During the semester in which they are to graduate, all FLL majors will submit a reflective piece (before the end of the final exam period at the latest).  It will be read by foreign language faculty who will evaluate it using the ACTFL writing rubric (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages). The results are used to monitor our major programs and to help us define curriculum goals.

The reflective piece needs to be written in the target language of your major.  Here is what the reflective piece should address:

  1. Think back to when you began studying the language of your major and compare your linguistic and cultural knowledge between now and then (400 words).

  2. Please describe your plans upon graduation (200 words).

 Finally, you need to complete the University's Senior Survey.

Exit Interview

During the semester in which you are to graduate, you will be notified of an exit interview. You will be sent a questionnaire to complete. You will then make an appointment with an exit interview committee comprised of departmental faculty. The purpose of the exit interview is for the student to give feedback on his or her educational experience in the department. The information is used for our institutional effectiveness program, required for our periodic re-accreditation, and in no way affects the student's standing in the department. You will also be requested to complete a University survey.

Graduating Seniors

For those of you intending to graduate in any given semester, you need to process your on-line graduation application during the first two weeks of that semester (you will receive an email as a reminder). Once you review your degree audit and verify that all course requirements have been fulfilled, submit the online application, notify the Associate Head by email that you have done so for review and submission to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Office for final approval.

Study Abroad and Transfer Credit

The Department encourages all students to participate in a study abroad experience. NC State sponsors summer programs in Austria, France, Peru, and Spain, as well as a semester program in Santander, Spain. In addition to NC State programs, the University also considers other accredited study abroad programs for transfer credit. Remember that it is important to plan early and to research carefully the numerous options available. Be sure to complete the necessary study abroad forms, especially the course pre-approval form, before you leave for your destination.  15 credit hours of study abroad or other transfer credit may be applied toward the major in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, or Spanish. A full semester of study abroad or a three-month internship in a German-speaking country is required for the German Studies major.

Academic Minors

The Department offers Minors in Chinese Studies, Classical Greek, Classical Studies, French, German, Hindi/Urdu, Italian Studies, Japanese, Japanese Studies, Russian Studies, and Spanish. Students receive official recognition on their transcripts for a completed minor. The language coordinators serve as advisers. The Student Services Coordinator (Withers 310) will direct the student to the appropriate advisor. The student consults with the adviser to complete a Minor Declaration Form. His/her major adviser is also consulted for approval of the minor program. It is expected that students will complete at least three required courses for each minor at NC State or through an NC State sponsored study-abroad program. During the first few weeks of the semester in which the student is to graduate, s/he must see Susan Navey-Davis to complete a final "Application for Minor" form, which is then forwarded to the student's major department.


The Department supports and promotes the study of language and culture outside the classroom through numerous clubs and honor societies. For information about activities and meetings, consult the literature outside of the departmental offices (Withers 310), and talk to the faculty adviser for the particular organization.

Language Clubs





Honor Societies

Sigma Delta Pi (Hispanic Studies) Dr. James Michnowicz

Delta Phi Alpha (German Honor Society) Dr. Lutz Kube

Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society) 

Career Resources

The University Career Center offers students career counseling, on-campus interviews, a career/employer information library, access to internship listings, workshops on job-search topics including resume and cover-letter writing as well as interviewing techniques. Students should visit the center early and familiarize themselves with the resources of the center. CHASS Career Counselors: Ms. Sarah Wild & Ms. Courtney Jones.

NC State Career Development Center

Student Guidelines for Writing in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

1.  Your paper should have a clearly defined thesis statement which you will develop throughout your essay. Avoid only plot summaries or descriptions by articulating a thesis question or research problem that you then proceed to address.

2.  Your paper should include factual evidence in support of your thesis. Also incorporate examples or specific details, as appropriate.  Be sure to choose your sources carefully and to cite them using appropriate footnotes and bibliographical information according to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

3.  The treatment of your thesis question should be based on a variety of outside references, preferably most of them in print form (published books and articles). Do not rely solely upon the internet for your sources.

4.  Your paper should be well-organized and include a title that announces your thesis, and an introduction and conclusion, as well as good paragraph structure and transitions.

5.  Your paper should be clearly written in the target language with a minimum of grammatical, orthographic (including accents) and punctuation errors. Please refer to a grammar reference book and a dictionary as needed.

6.  Do not rely on other people or online translators for help; submit only your own work. Your instructor is primarily interested in seeing your own self-expression as you convey your ideas. Check with your instructor if you need assistance.

7.  Your paper should include a cover page and be typed double-spaced, using standard font and margins, with all text pages numbered.  Be sure to adhere to your teacher's instructions concerning the length and content of your paper as well as the dates when notes, drafts and final copies are due.

Languages are the keys to the world.