Modern Foreign Languages (Major)

MFL Department

Pamela O'Brien, Dean, School of Arts, Sciences and Business
Rachel Burk, Ph.D., Chair
Marcela Valencia, Ph.D.

Associate Faculty
Alejandro Sánchez-Aizcorbe, Ph.D.
Joseph Wieczorek, Ph.D.

Degrees offered



Main Campus

Welcome! Bienvenue! ¡Bienvenidos! Gain advanced proficiency in two modern languages through individualized attention, integrated technology, and communication-focused coursework. Our students take their language skills from the classroom into the NDMU community and the larger world via study abroad, service learning, language-exchange partners, clubs, and internships.


Foreign language courses cover essential language structures, practical communication, and cultural learning. Small classes, close relationships with professors, multimedia technology, and interactions with native speakers encourage general education students to speak, write, listen, and read in a foreign language while gaining perspectives on the larger world. Majors and minors in modern languages refine their language skills in two languages and at the same time immerse themselves in literature, history, film, art, and culture, locally and internationally.

General Education Language Requirement for WOM and CAUS

Native Speakers of English

Women’s College students of traditional age, both first-year and transfer, may fulfill the general education foreign language requirement in one of three ways:

  • AP Exam: Provide evidence of an earned grade of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement Language or Literature exam
  • Language Department Placement Exam: Place into the advanced level (301) on the language department placement exam. (These students may wish to satisfy the General Education Literature Requirement through a literature course in the foreign language.)
  • Coursework: Complete one course at the intermediate level (103, 233 or 234), preferably building upon foreign language skills acquired at the secondary level.

Students in the Women’s College ages 25 years and older at the time of matriculation, as well as students in the College of Adult Undergraduate Studies, may fulfill the General Education Language Requirement in one of two ways:

  • Exam: Provide evidence of completion of one semester of foreign language study through the Advanced Placement Language or Literature exam or the CLEP test (available in French, Spanish, and German through the College Board).
  • Coursework: Complete one semester at the appropriate level (101,102,103 or higher).

Native speakers of English who are bilingual should consult with the Chair of Modern Foreign Languages for guidance regarding the language requirement.

Language courses that satisfy the general education language requirement are: 103, 233, 234 or any Latin course above the 102-level.

Languages Offered through 103-level

Courses at the 101, 102 and 103 levels in French, Latin, and Spanish are taught regularly on the NDMU main campus. Classes in other languages may be taken via the Baltimore College Consortium to fulfill the general education language requirement and as an elective.

Non-Native Speakers of English

International students may fulfill the general education foreign language requirement in one of three ways:

  • TOEFL Exam: At entrance, provide evidence of a score of 550 or higher on the TOEFL exam, or 213 or higher on the TOEFL: BT Test or 80 or higher on the IBT Test.
  • English Language Institute Placement Exam: At entrance, score on the advanced level on all parts of the language department's English Placement Test.
  • ELI Placement Exam: Complete LEF-203LEF-204 or LCL-331, based on the results of the English Placement Test.

Placement Testing

Placement testing will assure every student studies at a level consistent with her current abilities. Students at Notre Dame must complete one semester of foreign language at the intermediate level (103) or above. The sequence of foreign language courses offered is as follows:


Beginning Spanish I and II (do not fulfill the language requirement)


Intermediate Spanish I (Courses beginning at this level fulfill language requirement.)


Spanish for Oral/Written Proficiency


Advanced Conversation and Composition I and II

Placement result

Courses needed to fulfill the language requirement


101, 102, 103

Start a new language

101, 102, 103


102, 103







Students who have achieved a score of 3 or above on the Advanced Placement Language or Literature Test are considered to have fulfilled the language requirement. No additional courses are required.

Transfer students

Those who have studied a foreign language at the college-level satisfy the requirement with one course at the intermediate level. Beginning, college-level coursework in a foreign language serves as a prerequisite for 102 or 103. Those students who have college level language credit must make this information known to their advisors! Since course numbering varies, failure to do so may result in taking the same course twice and being denied credit.

Programs of Study: Modern Foreign Languages

To declare a Major or a Minor in the Department, a student must have a minimum grade of C in the course that satisfies the General Education language requirement. All courses in the Major and the Minor must be completed with a grade of C or above. Double major programs may be developed through consultation with academic advisors from each department.

The Languages Department strongly recommends that students who Major or Minor in foreign language study abroad. All such courses must be pre-approved by the University in advance of the study abroad year or semester.

The Modern Foreign Languages Major

The modern foreign language major combines the study of two languages and is recommended for students who arrive at college with language proficiency in at least one language other than English, wish to pursue a career abroad or in international relations, or aim to teach in secondary schools. Students choose between French and Spanish as their first or main language; they may take French or Spanish as a second language or select another language available through the Baltimore College Consortium. 42 credits (14 courses) are required for the major. Students who place into the 300-level in the first or second language will take 36 credit hours (12 courses).

Required Courses for the Modern Foreign Languages Major

The Modern Foreign Language Major requires 42 credit hours (14 courses) beginning at the 200-level in main language of French or Spanish. Students who place out of LSP-233 and 234 will take 39 credits (13 courses). All Majors, including native speakers, must take LFR/LSP-301 and LFR/LSP-302.

Language Skills

Introduction to the Discipline:

       LFN-201 The World of Language (taught in English) (3)

First Language (French or Spanish)

       LFR-233/LSP-233 Oral Proficiency
       LFR-234/LSP-234 Written Proficiency
       LFR-301/LSP-301 Advanced Conversation & Composition I
       LFR-302/LSP-302 Advanced Conversation & Composition II

Second Language

       101 Beginning Language I
       102 Beginning Language II
       103 Intermediate
       233 Oral Proficiency
       234 Written Proficiency


       *258 Readings in Literature (in either language) (3)
       One course at the 300- or 400-level (3)
       *For native speakers who have successfully completed a literature course in English, 258 should be replaced by one 300- or 400-level literature course in one of the target languages.

Culture and Civilization

       Once course at the 300-level (3)
       LFN-450 Research Seminar (3)

See Spanish (Major, Minor) and French (Minor) for course descriptions.

Secondary Education Certification—Approved Program in Modern Foreign Language

Students who wish to prepare for teaching in secondary schools may take a select portion of the modern language major in addition to the professional education courses offered by the School of Education. Qualified students may complete both the Bachelor of Arts and the Master of Arts in teaching degrees in five years. Interested students should confer with the School of Education, since early planning is essential. Students who wish to become certified to teach English as a second language would study at the graduate level.