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Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication
Career and Academic Paths | Study Abroad | UMBC in Mexico City | Honors Program | Teacher Certification | Academic Advising | Major Program | Minor Program | Certificate Programs | Special Opportunities | Internships | Financial Aid | Undergraduate Research Opportunities | Student Organizations |
ChairAna María Schwartz
ProfessorsAlan S. Bell
Thomas T. Field
John H. Sinnigen
Associate ProfessorsOmar Ka
Sara Z. Poggio
Judith M. Schneider
Anna M. Shields
Robert A. Sloane
Samir Ol Omari
Susanne S. Sutton
Assistant ProfessorsNicoleta Bazgan
Senior LecturersMarie de Verneil
Courses in this program are listed under ARBC and CHIN and FREN and GERM and HEBR and JPNS and KORE and LING and MLL and RUSS and SPAN and WOL.
In an increasingly interdependent world, the study of languages and cultures, including the heritage languages and cultures of immigrants to the United States, is a fundamental part of every student’s education. Knowledge of at least one foreign language and familiarity with different societies equip university graduates for more intelligent choices as citizens of today’s world, and enhance their effectiveness in a range of career fields, including law, journalism, business, education, health care, banking, social work, management, international administration and many others in the public and private sectors. The study of linguistics and human communication provides perspectives and tools of analysis useful in every human endeavor. The Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication (MLLI) offers an innovative, multi-disciplinary program with a triple focus: language, literature and society. Courses are offered in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Linguistics, Russian, Spanish and Wolof, as well as a range of culture and general education courses under the designation MLL (Modern Languages and Linguistics). Majors in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication share a common interdisciplinary core of courses (MLL 190, 230 and 301), which provides a grounding in essential issues of human communication and social context. There are four options for the MLLI major:
The department also offers a minor, a certificate in language studies (Chinese/French/German/Korean/Russian/Spanish), and a certificate in Intercultural Communication. Additionally, the program in modern languages combines exceptionally well with major programs in many other departments, where knowledge of another language and culture is often a valuable asset.
The courses listed as MLL, taught in English, provide offerings of general interest to both the major and non-major. These courses present a wide international and intercultural perspective on aspects of language, linguistics, world literature, culture and film.
Career and Academic Paths
MLL graduates have successfully pursued careers in law, medicine, education, social work, government and international business. Within the accelerated B.A./M.A. program offered by the department, qualified students completing an undergraduate major in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication may, during their junior or senior year, apply for admission to the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Intercultural Communication. If accepted, they can apply nine credits of approved B.A. course work to their M.A. degree. Such students may be able to complete both degrees in five years. Those interested should contact the director of the INCC graduate program. A description of the M.A. in Intercultural Communication may be found in the Graduate Catalog. Courses frequently taken by undergraduates in the accelerated B.A./M.A. program include:
For a complete list of courses and their descriptions, please consult the Graduate Catalog.
French, German, Russian, and Spanish students are encouraged to spend a semester or at least a summer working abroad or studying in an approved university program in a country where the language is spoken. Students in these areas are advised by MLLI faculty on their choice of program and assisted in course selection and credit transfer. They are also put in contact with students who have returned from study abroad experiences. The experience of living and studying abroad is an extremely important asset for all language students. Students should discuss study abroad options with their advisor early in their studies. In general, financial aid may be applied to study abroad programs, and credits earned in the target language through study abroad may be transferred to UMBC and applied towards the MLLI major and minor programs. Students interested in co-ops and internships abroad are encouraged to consult the Shriver Center.
UMBC in Mexico City
Each fall, a group of advanced (SPAN 201 and above) undergraduate students study at the main campus of the Center for the Instruction of Foreign Students of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of Latin America's oldest, largest and most prestigious universities. Courses are offered in intensive Spanish language and Mexican and Latin-American studies. Courses also may be taken in other UNAM departments. Students earn an average of 15 credits per semester. Students placing at the proper level may complete 15 of the 18 credits required for the Spanish minor through this program. The program is extremely cost-effective, and financial aid is available. Highly recommended.
The Honors Program of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication provides a small group of majors with additional intellectual experiences, both individually and as a group. The central components of the program are an honors seminar taught in English and the development and writing of an honors project, an experience that provides exceptional preparation for the work world or graduate school. Students who complete the program will graduate with departmental honors. Information is available in the department office.
There are many openings for teachers of modern languages in public and private schools. Students intending to major in a language and seek elementary or early-childhood certification or seek secondary certification in their major language should consult with the Department of Education as early as possible for a description of the certification requirements and the procedures for admittance into the program.
The Modern Languages Linguistics and Intercultural Communication department organizes annual information meetings on the major, internships and study abroad. Students with an interest in majoring or minoring in modern languages and linguistics should contact the department office at 410-455-2109. Majors and minors are assigned to a faculty advisor, but they are free to select a different advisor at any time and are encouraged to do so if their interests and career goals change. Transfer students should meet as quickly as possible with the coordinator in the area in which their main interests lie (French, German, linguistics, Russian, Spanish) to plan an efficient program of study.
All majors who pursue the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication take a common core of courses, as follows:
Students may select one of four options for the major:
One-Language Option (Total credits: 39-42)
French Interconnections With the World (42 credits)
German (40 credits)
Russian (38 credits)
Spanish (43 credits)
*Note: 400-level courses routinely require a term paper or equivalent written assignment.
Two-Language Option (Total credits: 39-42)
French Interconnections With the World (42 credits)
German (40 credits)
Russian (39 credits)
Spanish (43 credits)
Language and Cultural Studies (Total credits: 39)
Applied Linguistics (Total credits: 39)
*One cognate course in another discipline (e.g., MLL 413, PHIL 445, PSYC 316, ENGL 407, ENGL 490) and up to two language-specific linguistics courses (e.g., FREN/GERM/SPAN/ RUSS 331, 332, 438) may be used as substitutes for an equivalent number of the required LING courses with the approval of a designated LING major advisor.
All courses submitted by a student in fulfillment of the requirement for the major must be completed with a grade of "C" or higher. Students must earn a grade of "C" to continue in the next course in a basic language sequence (101-202).
A minor in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication (MLLI) allows students to develop proficiency in a foreign language, to learn about the nature of language and to become familiar with the societies in which different languages are spoken. A minor in MLLI will assist students in developing communication skills and in understanding the complexities of an increasingly interdependent, multilingual and multicultural world. It will enrich students’ learning experience and enhance their career potential.
The MLLI language minor requires a total of 22 credits:
The rest of the required courses must be chosen from one language area:
The MLLI applied linguistics minor will require a total of 21 credits:
A cognate course in another discipline (e.g., MLL 413, PHIL 455, PSYC 316, ENGL 490) or a language-specific linguistics course (e.g. FREN/GERM/RUSS/SPAN 331, 332, 438) may substitute for one of the LING courses with the approval of a designated LING major advisor.
The MLLI minor in Chinese language and culture will require a total of 18 credits
Students may petition the MLLI department to have relevant courses from other disciplines be counted for the minor in Chinese Language and Culture.
All students desiring to complete a minor in MLLI-language, applied linguistics, or Chinese language and culture must have a designated minor advisor and select courses with the approval of that advisor. All courses submitted by a student in fulfillment of the requirement for the minor must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.
Note: Minor through study abroad. Students at the appropriate level may complete up to 15 credits of a minor in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication through a semester of study abroad.
Certificate in Intercultural Communication (18-19 credits)This certificate program is intended for students who wish to combine the study of intercultural communication with advanced foreign language study.
A competence in intercultural communication is indispensable for functioning effectively in an era of economic, social and cultural globalization. Language study together with instruction in issues of communication across cultures will help students acquire useful knowledge and skills in their careers and in their lives as citizens.
(A more advanced student may substitute a three-credit higher-level language course)
Certificates in Language Studies: Certificate in Chinese Studies; Certificate in French Studies; Certificate in German Studies; Certificate in Russian Studies; Certificate in Spanish Studies. (17 credits)The Certificate in Language Studies program is intended for those students who want to explore another part of the world as part of their overall education but who do not have the time to complete a traditional minor. In addition to the required language credits, MLL-rubric classes conducted in English offer the possibility of investigating the target cultures in some detail without waiting to attain advanced language competency. The certificate cannot be combined with an MLL major or minor. Students desiring to complete an MLLI certificate in language studies must have a designated advisor and select courses with the approval of that advisor.
Students must complete all of the following in the same language/culture area with a grade of “B” or higher:
CHINESE: Choose TWO of the following:
FRENCH: Choose TWO of the following:
GERMAN: Choose TWO of the following:
RUSSIAN: Choose TWO of the following:
SPANISH: Choose TWO of the following:
Intercultural Living Exchange:
The Intercultural Living Exchange is a living learning community of UMBC. Students residing in the intercultural suites interact with international student resident mentors (native speakers of each cluster language: Chinese, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Russian and Spanish), who organize cultural and social activities for their language clusters as well as for the UMBC community. These activities include participation in UMBC’s International Week, intercultural presentations and workshops, language chat hours, study abroad presentations, international film festivals, field trips, culinary projects, intercultural holiday celebrations, lunches with faculty and excursions to concerts, plays and museum exhibits. Residence in the ILE provides excellent preparation for study abroad, as well as continuity for those who have previously gained language proficiency in a study abroad experience.
In collaboration with The Shriver Center, the department provides majors in Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication information and support for internships. Internships and community service projects are available for activities ranging from teaching language to children to working with foreign travelers for VISA International. In addition, internships abroad have, in recent years, become a significant way of combining study abroad with work experience. Students interested in earning MLLI credit for internships should consult with the department’s internship coordinator.
Financial aid is available for majors to participate in study abroad programs. In addition, the German area offers the Knapple and Plogman scholarships for students in the German track. Applications are due each April; awards are announced in May. Music students who also study German may apply for the Elterman scholarship through the music department.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
The faculty encourages and supports undergraduate participation in faculty research. Advanced Spanish students may join in a research project based in a Spanish-speaking area in Baltimore.
The department has a council of majors and several language clubs, often organized by native speakers. The German area offers membership in Delta Phi Alpha, the National German Honors Society. Russian Chorus: All students have the opportunity of participating in the unique and talented Russian Chorus, which performs at campus events and in the Baltimore area community. No knowledge of Russian is required. Contact the Russian area for more information.