Undergraduate Programs

Contact the Modern Languages Department

Modern Foreign Languages Department Morgan Hall, Room 375 Washburn University 1700 SW College Topeka, KS 66621 (785) 670-1714

Modern Foreign Languages - Bachelor of Arts

Mission Statement

Consistent with the mission of the University, the Department of Modern Languages serves as the main source for studying world cultures in their own languages, thus preparing students to communicate in other languages and be knowledgeable about other cultures, so they can compare and connect their culture to others and become engaged citizens in the global community.

Faculty members and language instructors, trained in humanities and linguistics studies, strive to share their knowledge and understanding of diverse cultures.  The department collaborates with many other units, such as Music, History, Business, Education, and the Honors program to offer a vast array of opportunities to students wanting to bridge discipline boundaries. Through study abroad programs, and service opportunities within the community and at the international level, the department continues to support the mission of the university in developing skilled, engaged, and informed global citizens. Our department reaches out to the community by inviting guest speakers to campus and by fostering a relationship with local schools and other community engagement groups.

The department offers a minor in International Studies; majors and minors in French, German, and Spanish; collaborates with the School of Business in their minor in International Business; and also offers a minor with the History Department in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino/a Studies. It also maintains course offerings in other languages, currently Latin, Japanese, and Chinese.

Thus, the Department aims to serve students who:

  • Major or minor in a foreign modern language
  • Must fulfill the foreign language requirement (BA degree)
  • Wish to combine foreign language with a professional program, e.g. business
  • Plan to teach
  • Plan to go on to graduate school

Why Study Languages?

Foreign Language studies enhance your personal and professional life.  Knowing a language well enough to communicate expands cultural contacts and broadens your appreciation of the world and its people.  It also gives you a better understanding of your own culture and your own language.

Knowing a foreign language will prepare you for our multi-cultural and internationalized world.  Knowing a foreign language opens doors in business, journalism, nursing, criminal justice, social work, teaching, foreign services with the government and the military in an increasingly global environment.  Your language skills will let you combine a career with the excitement of international travel.  Furthermore, proficiency in a foreign language is excellent preparation for entrance into professional programs such as law, diplomacy and international business.

General Education Courses    

Many language courses taught by the Department of Modern Languages are part of the University's General Education program.  However, students seeking a BA degree need to remember that they must pass the 102 level in order to fulfill the Language Proficiency Requirement set by the College of Arts and Sciences.  Therefore, for those students, the 102 courses will not count as fulfilling a General Education Requirement.

Some courses in the Department of Modern Languages are taught in English and fulfill the General Education requirement in the Humanities.  These courses cannot count toward the major, but may count as correlated courses.

Requirements for a B.A. in French, German, or Spanish 

Students who plan to major in a foreign language are encouraged to begin their language studies as soon as they enter Washburn University, and should continue to enroll in at least one language course each semester until graduation. Learning a foreign language is a cumulative process and any period of time away from the language is highly detrimental to developing and maintaining necessary skills in the language.

General Education Requirements: 35 Credit Hours (See list of acceptable courses in the university catalog.)

University Requirements (11 Credit Hours)

  • EN101  Freshman Composition (3 hours)
  • EN300  Junior Composition (3 hours)
  • WU101  The Washburn Experience (3 hours)                    
  • MA112  Essential Mathematics OR MA 116 College Algebra (3 credit hours with “C” or better)

General Education:  See University Catalog for specific details

  • 15 credit hours in Arts and Humanities with minimum of 3 credit hours in Art, Music or Theater
  • 12 credit hours in Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • 15 credit hours in Social Sciences

WTE:  See below, and also in the University Catalog for details.  For language majors, a study abroad experience can fulfill the WTE requirement.

In order to major in a foreign language, a student must complete 30 hours of coursework beyond the 100 level.  101 classes will count as part of the total number of hours needed for graduation; 102 fulfills a General Education requirement in the Humanities.  The following courses are required:

  • FR/GE/SP 311 - Grammar Review
  • FR/GE/SP 312 - FR/GE/SP Composition
  • FR/GE/SP 331 - Introduction to FR/GE/SP Literature
  • FR/GE/SP 400 - Senior Thesis (includes portfolio submission, see below)

+A minimum of 3 hours of upper division coursework must be completed (300 level +)

+9 hours of Correlated Courses must also be completed -- These courses are intended to complement and broaden your language classes.  They are selected in consultation with your advisor.  A suggested list is available in the Modern Languages office (MO375).

All coursework for the major must be completed with a grade of “C” or better.

Portfolio:  All language majors are required to present a portfolio after the 202 level course. They are then required to keep updating their portfolio which is turned in as part of their grade in FR 400 course before graduation. This has the advantage of giving the department an initial assessment as well as an outcome assessment.

Study Abroad Option: Some of the hours required to complete the major can be earned through the study abroad program.  The department strongly recommends study for a period of time in a country where the foreign language is spoken as a component of the student’s preparation for the major. We offer summer, semester, or year-long programs.  Substantial scholarships for study abroad are available each year from the department and the International Education Committee.  Deadline for scholarship application is February 15th of each year

Requirements for a Foreign Language Minor

In order to minor in French, German or Spanish, a student must complete 18 hours of coursework beyond the 100 level.

Certification to Teach

Students who plan to teach will need to be formally admitted to the University's Teacher Education Program.  All language majors preparing to teach must complete ED 368 Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages, and must include the following courses as part of their major.


  • FR 324 French Civilization
  • FR 326 La France Contemporaine                                                                      


  • GE 207 Basic German Convers. OR GE 214 German Reading & Conversation
  • GE 324 German Civilization OR GE326 Contemporary German & Austrian Civilization


  • SP 324 Civilization of Spain
  • SP 325 Civilization of Mexico OR SP 326 Civilization of Latin America

Minor in International Studies 

The curriculum for the Minor in International Studies consists of three components: a foreign language requirement, a study abroad requirement and a course work requirement.  The specific requirements are as follows.

Foreign Language Requirement: A minimum of 9 credit hours of a modern foreign language beyond the 100 level.

Study Abroad Requirement: Participation in at least a summer long (4 weeks minimum) study abroad program in the country of the language studied.

Course Work Requirement: A minimum of 12 hours of course work chosen from the following collaborative departments: English, History, Art, Political Science, Religion, Philosophy, Anthropology and Sociology, Mass Media and the School of Business. The courses identified should focus on international topics. They should be chosen in consultation with an advisor in the Department of Modern Languages.

Minor in International Business 

The department of Modern Foreign Languages also helps the School of Business with their minor in International Business with regard to the language requirements.  For more information, see the School of Business web page

WTE: The Washburn Transformational Experience

Students who first enrolled in 2006-07 or after must complete a WTE.  Language students may choose to meet the International WTE requirement by studying abroad for a summer, semester or year.  Students who, for personal or family reasons, cannot study abroad may choose to meet the Research WTE requirement with their Senior Thesis.


Substantial scholarships are available for study abroad for languages majors or minors with a 3.0 GPA; deadline for these scholarships is February 15th of each year. The department offers semester or academic year direct exchange programs in Austria at the University of Klagenfurt; in Germany at the Fachhochschule Osnabrück; in France at the University Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand; in Spain at the University of Cantabria, Santander; and in Mexico at the Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico. The faculty also helps students identify other suitable programs

Study Abroad Programs 

Some of the hours required to complete the major can be earned through the study abroad program.  The department strongly recommends study for a period of time in a country where the foreign language is spoken as a component of the student’s preparation for the major. We offer summer, semester, or year-long programs.  Substantial scholarships for study abroad are available each year from the department and the International Education Committee.  Scholarship deadline is February 15th of each year.

Additional Resources and Programs  

Students may enrich their language acquisition through participation in a variety of departmental clubs and activities.  French, German and Spanish clubs coordinate a range of programs, such as tutoring foreign language students at area schools and participating in community fund-raising and awareness events.  French, German and Spanish students may attend conversation tables, informal groups that meet approximately once a month to practice speaking the target language in a conversational setting. 

For the student who wishes additional help outside of class, departmental tutors maintain regular shifts and are available for study help at no charge.  French, German and Spanish tutors are available.

Statement of Non-Discrimination    

It is the policy of Washburn University to assure equal educational and employment opportunity to qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Contact Information 

For additional information on the Department of Modern Languages, please contact:

Department of Modern Languages
Morgan Hall, Room 375
Washburn University
Topeka, KS  66621
(785) 670.1714