The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures builds, supports, and enhances a teaching and learning community outreach in the area of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. Our unchanging mission is articulated through the following goals and objectives for our students:

1. Development of professional and marketable mastery of communicative skills in one or more foreign languages other than English;

2. Appropriation of linguistic skills, transferable selectively to a wide range of practical options, including–but not limited to–mass media, higher education, travel/leisure enterprises, the performing arts, teaching, diplomacy, law enforcement, military intelligence, the space program, business/marketing, international banking, politics, the Peace Corps, etc.;

3. Acquisition of knowledge and sensitivity about one or more literary and cultural heritages/traditions other than those of English-speaking countries;

4. Internalization of the principle of diversity as one of the cornerstones of personal, national, and international relationships, and promotion of its inherent values in the world at large;

5. Achievement of a high degree of information literacy by accessing national and international sources, and judicious evaluation of the same for form, value, and content.

Majoring in a foreign language means studying the language, literature, and culture of the country concerned. In addition, knowledge of a foreign language enhances and deepens people’s understanding of their own culture and language and contributes toward a greater appreciation of other cultures. All courses are taught in the target language unless otherwise indicated in the course description.

The department offers majors and minors in French, German, and Spanish, a minor in Italian, and a minor in Japanese. The French and Spanish programs offer honors in the major. The department’s state-of-the-art Multimedia Language Learning Center allows faculty and students to use and apply advanced technologies to further the acquisition of world languages and cultural awareness.

The uses and applications of this new technology are limitless and they will greatly enhance the department’s capability to fulfill its mission in teaching and learning.

Students interested in a program of study in other foreign languages should refer to the program entitled Self-Instructional Language Program under “International Studies” in the University Catalog.

International Programs

Qualified students have an opportunity to study for a year in one of 20 countries through the California State University International Programs. For example, students studying German can spend a year at one of the German universities located in the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg. CSU, Chico also has an exchange program with the University of Mainz in Germany which provides a competitive scholarship for one student each year. Other California State University international program opportunties are in Canada (Quebec), Chile, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain. Students also have the option of studying abroad for a semester, year, or summer through the University Studies Abroad Consortium. Both these sponsoring organizations of study abroad have scholarships for interested students. See the University’s study abroad advisor for more information. Approval of course equivalencies from study abroad programs must be authorized by the department prior to studying abroad.

Career Outlook

A degree in a foreign language increases employment prospects with such employers as the government, multinational corporations, airlines, shipping companies, wineries, travel agencies, hospitals, education, technology, and music.Foreign language competency is necessary in different international programs (international relations, international business) and area studies programs (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Pacific Basin).

In California and many other states, Spanish is a very useful adjunct to your education in the fields of social welfare, medicine, elementary and secondary teaching, and other areas of public service.

For students planning to attend graduate school, the knowledge of a foreign language is an important research tool and is a requirement in most disciplines.


Scholarship opportunities are available to students in foreign languages from a variety of sources. The Italian Program offers scholarships every year to further the study of Italian and Italian-American studies.