About the Major
The purpose of the Modern Languages and Literatures major is to train students to become multilingual (English, Spanish and a third language). During the student's time in the WLC department, they will develop advanced linguistic skills in two languages simultaneously. They will also be expanding their knowledge and awareness of international issues and cultural understanding.
- BA Modern Languages and Literatures
- Minors: French, German, Italian, Spanish
Students with majors and minors from the World Languages and Cultures Department have been successful in careers in education, international business, finance, non-profit agencies, the viticulture industry, and government service. Others have attended graduate and professional schools in various fields, including languages and literatures, linguistics, speech pathology, law, medicine, and engineering. Our graduates have also been selected to teach in secondary schools in Spain (North American Language and Culture Assistants) and France (Teaching Assistant Program in France). In collaboration with the Cal Poly School of Education, we also prepare students for the California single-subject World Languages Teaching Credential. Finally, we work closely with our students to integrate junior- or senior-level education abroad experiences, internships or service-learning experiences in the U.S. or another country, or equivalent professional-level hands-on experiences (with departmental approval) as part of their total capstone experience.
Learn more about the WLC Curriculum at the Cal Poly Catalog website.
See the Winter 2017 Faculty Advisor List to find out which member of faculty you are assigned to.
Download the Senior Project Manual (PDF) for guidelines and best practices on conducting senior projects. Please check with your Senior Project Advisor for any updates or further recommendations.
Is WLC the right department for me?
Students within the WLC Department are typically highly driven, above average, curious individuals who like to take on challenges. They are motivated to be able to communicate with people from around the world. If you have these qualities and goals, then WLC is right for you!
Some advantages of WLC
Being in a small department gives students the great advantage of receiving individualized attention from both tenured and senior faculty. Unlike large departments, people who are amply qualified through advanced work teach WLC classes.
Another advantage to being in the WLC Dept. is the sense of family the department has. Students are nurtured from the beginning of their Cal Poly career through graduation. Students are constantly encouraged to be life-long learners. The WLC Dept. is greatly focused on giving all WLC graduates the sense of global awareness, of developing an integral worldview and an ability to contribute positively to the societies in which they live and work.
What languages can I learn?
All WLC students study two different languages in parallel tracks: a primary and a secondary language. The primary language requires 64 units of study while the secondary language requires 28 units of study. Currently the primary language for all WLC majors is Spanish.
Students have a choice of either German or French as their secondary language. Chinese (Mandarin), Italian and Japanese are also offered to be taken as elective work.
Why two languages?
The WLC major is unique to the entire CSU and UC systems; it was developed specifically for highly motivated language learners who could learn and understand more than one language. The major attempts to to help those students who are interested in communicating in languages other than English and Spanish.
What career opportunities are available for a WLC graduate?
WLC and French minor graduates have recently received one-year (renewable) teaching positions in French secondary schools through the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). For more information, please contact Dr. Kennelly or Dr. Thompson.
Students graduating with a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures prepare themselves for careers in:
- international business
- translation and/or interpretation
- government service
- foreign affairs
Students are also prepared to advance on to graduate school in Spanish language, literature or culture, film and electronic media studies, comparative literature, cultural studies, MFA in creative writing, librarianship, Latino(a), Latin American and/or European Pacific Rim studies, playwriting, single-subject k-12 credential, agribusiness, and international business and marketing.
What about study abroad programs?
The WLC Dept. strongly encourages all of its majors to take advantage of the many opportunites students have to travel and study abroad. The department currently supports summer programs to Mexico in Queretaro and to Spain in Valladolid.
Students in WLC can also take full advantage of other programs that go to:
- Costa Rica
For those programs sponsored by the WLC Dept., Cal Poly and/or the CSU system, full credit is given.