Department of Languages and Literature

Undergraduate Programs of Study

Arabic & Islamic World Studies



The Alhambra

Chinese (Mandarin)

minor, minor with concentration

Benedictine University's minor in Chinese includes beginning, intermediate, and advanced courses in Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world and the fastest growing language taught in schools. With China's increased prominence on the world stage, learning Mandarin can help one professionally in a variety of fields.

Students minoring in Chinese will learn the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking in small, student-centered classrooms. Classes in Chinese history, religion, literature, film, and culture, which form part of the growing Chinese Studies curriculum, supplement this language coursework. Chinese minors are also able to participate in unique faculty-led short-term study abroad experiences, which are often linked to semester courses, with additional opportunities for study abroad in China available through full scholarships, student exchanges, and internships. Students may also wish to pursue a concentration in Cultural Studies or an Asian concentration in International Business as part of their minor studies.

Chinese coin

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English Language & Literature

major, major with Education minor, minor

Designed to develop an appreciation and understanding of English and American literature, as well as works in translation, the program in English Language & Literature offers study of significant writers, periods, genres, literary techniques, and the structure of language. Coursework in the major begins with Advanced Academic and Nonfiction Writing (LITR 2298) and Introduction to Literary Analysis (LITR 2299) and culminates in Senior Seminar (LITR 4399), in which students complete a major research project. With the guidance of faculty advisors, students build upon this foundation by selecting courses that provide exposure to a wide range of periods, authors, genres, and critical methodologies. Majors and minors alike develop their analytical abilities, strengthen their oral and written communication skills, and gain a heightened awareness of the literary legacy of diverse cultures and traditions.

The English Language & Literature degree prepares students to succeed in graduate or professional school; to enter the business world, which highly values critical-thinking and communications skills; and to work in publishing, writing, and electronic and print media. Combining the major with study of other fields, such as biology or communications, often gives students an edge in a competitive job market. And for those students wishing to pursue a career in teaching, we offer the option of a major paired with a minor in Education.

Charles Dickens

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English Language & Literature at Benedictine!

Medical Spanish

major concentration, minor

According to the Pew Research Center, "With more than 37 million speakers, Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people ages 5 and older. It is also one of the fastest-growing, with the number of speakers up 233% since 1980." As such, there is growing demand for Spanish-speaking professionals in a number of critical fields, particularly in the areas of health care and emergency response. The Department now offers programs in Medical Spanish that have been carefully designed to prepare students to meet this demand by giving them the language proficiency and cultural competence necessary to work effectively with Spanish speakers in a variety of contexts.

While valuable to any students interested in improving their oral and written Spanish, these programs should be particularly useful to Heritage speakers interested in capitalizing on their knowledge of the Spanish language; students aspiring to careers in health care, social work, or law; and future emergency responders (firefighters, police officers, dispatchers, etc.). Students have the option of pursuing a Spanish major with a concentration in Medical Spanish, the standalone Medical Spanish minor, or the Introduction to Medical Spanish for Interpretation minor.

Doctors and patient

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Medical Spanish at Benedictine!


major, minor

The Department's major and minor programs in Spanish are guided by a simple but important philosophy: the world will have fewer boundaries for those who possess the ability to communicate in another language and show sensitivity toward and understanding of other cultures. Our courses enable students to initiate and progressively develop skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, while also stimulating their intellectual growth and broadening their perspective, enabling them to become responsible citizens and leaders in the world community. In addition to developing and polishing their language skills in our programs, students can combine a major or minor in Spanish with degree programs in another discipline such as global studies, international business and economics, education, and pre-law. For students with interest in careers in health care and social work, we also a major concentration and minors in Medical Spanish.

Our faculty subscribes to the proficiency guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and uses them as a basis for instruction. Spanish majors are expected to develop at least Intermediate-High level language proficiency, as defined by ACTFL guidelines, while Spanish minors are expected to achieve Intermediate-Mid level language proficiency. Prior to graduation, students must demonstrate their oral proficiency by means of an ACTFL oral proficiency exam, based on which they will receive a nationally-recognized certificate of their oral Spanish proficiency . (For more information about proficiency exams, contact Dr. Rafael Iglesias).

All Spanish majors and minors are strongly encouraged to spend at least a summer, and preferably a semester, abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. This experience affords students the opportunity to observe, firsthand, the culture s/he has been studying, and to gain intensive real-life language exposure and practice that cannot be replicated in the classroom. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of internship and university study programs through Benedictine and other accredited institutions.

Mission, Argentina

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Spanish at Benedictine!