Sep 23, 2020  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of World Languages and Cultural Studies

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School of Liberal Arts


Chair: Associate Professor of Spanish Luis Sáenz de Viguera Erkiaga
Associate Professor of Italian Cinzia DiGiulio

A highly valued asset in today’s global workplace, second language study provides students with opportunities and experiences that are not available to individuals who are proficient in only one language. Gaining competency in a second language exposes students to systems of thought and expression different from their own, introducing them to new ideas, customs, habits and values. In so doing, second language study helps fulfill one of the core components of the mission/vision of Merrimack College, which calls for students to develop global awareness through knowledge and experience of diverse cultures. Moreover, in the process of acquiring a second language, students develop the ability and sensitivity to see their own set of cultural norms from an entirely new perspective, thus broadening their view of the world and appreciation of differences. Language study also fosters the understanding of grammar structures in one’s native language, improves oral and written skills, and affords a deeper awareness of the dynamics of communicative exchanges.

The Department of World Languages and Cultural Studies offers a variety of courses and programs that help language students at all levels (from absolute beginners to heritage and native speakers) strengthen their linguistic skills, expand their understanding of the world, and connect different disciplines together. Our faculty is trained to provide students with a unique set of cultural opportunities designed to broaden their horizons, enhance their intellectual flexibility, and increase their adaptability in the context of an ever-changing global workplace.

The Department of World Languages and Cultural Studies currently offers major concentrations in French, Italian Studies, Romance Languages and Spanish. Minor concentrations can be pursued in French, Italian, Italian Studies and Spanish. Transcripts will indicate the World Languages and Cultural Studies major or minor, and the chosen concentration: WLCS/French, WLCS/Italian (minor only), WLCS/Italian Studies, WLC/Romance Languages or WLCS/Spanish.

Teacher of Foreign Languages. Students interested in preparing for a career as a teacher of French, Italian or Spanish at the secondary and middle school level have the following two options: they may major with a major concentration in French, Spanish, Italian Studies or Romance Languages and pass the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) to obtain a 5-year preliminary license to teach the target language without taking any Education courses. Alternatively, they may double major with a concentration in French or Spanish and Education and pass the MTEL to obtain an Initial License.

Elementary Teachers can double major with a concentration in French, Spanish, Italian Studies and Romance Languages, combined with an Elementary Education major. They will not need to take the MTEL in French, Italian or Spanish.

WLCS Departmental Academic Policies

  • Language Placement Test. Students who wish to continue their study of French, Italian, or Spanish must take the Merrimack College Language Placement Test before doing so. The test is available via Blackboard, and students can only take it once.
  • Intro I Courses. Intro I courses (FRE/ITA/SPA 1110) are available to absolute beginners only, i.e. students with no classes in that particular language on their high school transcript. Failure to observe this policy will result in removal from the class.
  • Native/Heritage Speakers. Native/heritage speakers are not allowed in language courses ranging from 1110 to 2020 (Intro I through Intermediate II). Such students are encouraged to take the CLEP test (see departmental website for more information regarding transfer credits et al.) and to consult with their language professor about taking a conversation/composition course.
  • Culture Courses Taught in English. Although the Department of World Languages and Cultural Studies offers some upper-level culture courses that are taught in English, students majoring with a concentration in French, Romance Languages, and Spanish should be aware that only one course taught in English may be counted as fulfilling a requirement in their major concentration. Majors wishing to take such a course will need the consent of the instructor, as written assignments for the class and weekly meetings with the instructor to discuss the material, both in the target language, will be required.
  • Study Abroad. The department serves as a center for advice and assistance to students who wish to study abroad. Majors will be encouraged to spend one semester or more of foreign study in a country where the target language is spoken. The choice of study abroad program and the choice of courses to be taken there will be approved beforehand by the student’s advisor in the WLCS department. Spanish majors and minors looking to study in Europe will be sent to Universidad de Deusto (Bilbao).
  • Residence Requirement. At least half of the major and minor course requirements must be taken at Merrimack College, including at least one upper- level course upon return from a study abroad program.
  • Major GPA. The GPA for the World Languages and Cultural Studies major will be the average of all courses taken within the department. All World Languages and Cultural Studies Majors must maintain a 2.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) to remain in good academic standing within the Department.
  • Credits. The World Languages Cultural Studies B.A requires a minimum of 124 credits.  This includes the credit requirements for the major concentrations. 

The Department of World Languages and Cultural Studies offers the following major concentrations:


    Bachelor of ArtsMinor

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