Modern Languages

Modern languages bring wings to your future career and help you stand out on job markets because employers know that it takes diligent work, self-discipline, and a vision to do well in modern language classes. If one succeeds in learning a language, one can succeed at anything!

Our Program

Roger Williams University offers degrees in six modern languages: American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. In addition to Modern Language Studies, RWU offers programs in Latin-American and Latino Studies and Classical Studies (Greek and Latin.)

Download Fact Sheet

Loading...
Loading...

In order to gain a fundamental proficiency in a language while pursuing a major outside of the Department, students may choose to complete their Core Concentration or a minor from among the classical or modern language offerings. Both programs are open to all majors and both fulfill the University Core Concentration requirements. In order to complete a Core Concentration in a language, students are placed at the appropriate level in their chosen language and are required to complete a minimum of three courses in one language, with at least one course being at the 300 level (or above). Students pursuing a minor must complete the Core Concentration requirements and one additional course, for a minimum total of four courses, in the same language at the 300 level (or above). Core Concentrations are not permitted in a student’s native language.

As an example, for a student who places at the 101 level, a Core Concentration in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, or Spanish would consist of the following five courses:
LANG 101 Elementary Language I 
LANG 102 Elementary Language II 
LANG 201 Intermediate Language I 
LANG 202 Intermediate Language II 
One 300- or 400-level course 

For a student who places at the 102 level, a Core Concentration would comprise:
LANG 102 Elementary Language II 
LANG 201 Intermediate Language I 
LANG 202 Intermediate Language II
One 300- or 400-level course 

For a student who places at the 201 level, a Core Concentration would comprise:
LANG 201 Intermediate Language I 
LANG 202 Intermediate Language II
One 300- or 400-level course 

For a student who places at the 202 level, a Core Concentration would comprise:
LANG 202 Intermediate Language II
Two 300- or 400-level courses

For a student who places at the 300 level, a Core Concentration would comprise:
Three 300- or 400-level courses

Students pursuing a Minor must complete the Core Concentration requirements plus:
One additional 300- or 400-level course

Waiver from prerequisite courses does not carry credit. Documentation of the waived courses and placement test results must be sent to the registrar and to the appropriate dean. CORE concentrations are not permitted in a student’s native language.

Why Study Modern Languages?

Our world has become more interdependent. New technologies have allowed us to work in close contact with people all over the world. As relationships (in business, commerce, cultures, politics, etc.) grow, so does the need to speak a modern language and become culturally and linguistically prepared.

At RWU, Students are encouraged to do a double major or a minor or Core Concentration in a language. 

Here is an overview of career potentials for students with a combination of a language and another field at RWU:

Modern Language + Legal Studies or Criminal Justice

  • Immigration/Naturalization
  • Customs
  • Security and Protection (Language Analyst for Security Services)
  • Law Enforcement
  • Court Interpreter

Modern Language + International Relations

  • Diplomacy (Embassies and Consultants)
  • Government: CIA, FBI, Defense Dept., Peace Corps,
  • Political Risk Analyst
  • International Political Organizations
  • International Aid/Development Worker

Modern Language + International Business / Marketing

  • Marketing Executive
  • Import/Export Companies & International Banks
  • Business, Logistics and Finance Careers
  • Advertising and Public Relations (PR) Careers

Modern Language + Science (Biology, Chemistry, Sustainability, Environmental Science, Aquaculture and Aquarium Science)

  • International Aid/Development Worker
  • International Research
  • Pharmaceutical Representative
  • Consultant
  • Non-Profit Organization Officer

Modern Language + Graphic Design Communications

  • Journalism/Broadcasting
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Tourist information manager
  • Travel Writer

Modern Language + Public Health

  • Translation/Interpretation
  • Hospitality, Health Care Services, Pharmaceutical Companies
  • International Aid/Development Worker

Modern Language + Visual Arts

  • Advertising
  • Art dealer

Modern Language + Education

  • Foreign Language Educator
  • Education Consultant
  • International Student Programs
  • Corporate Programs for Transfer Students
  • English as a Foreign Language Teacher

Language Placement Test

A placement test is required for all new students who have skills in a second language and/or have taken courses in a second language in high school; students who major in International Relations or International Business are also required to take the test. Students who have no prior experience studying a second language but are interested in learning one are encouraged to take the placement test to determine their level placement.

Q: What languages are placement tests in?

A: Online tests are available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. For American Sign Language (ASL), please contact the Dean’s Office in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Education (SHAE).

Q: Where is the language placement test located?

A: The test is located here.

Q: Do I take the test in all of the languages?

A: No, you take a test only in the language you intend to study at RWU.

Q: Can I take the test more than once?

A: No, the test is taken only once. Review the language you have learned, then take the test when you feel prepared.

Q: What should students do after their language placement?

A: Start taking language courses right away! The sooner you begin studying a language, the less time you will need to refresh your skills and the better you will do in class.

Q: What if the placement level does not reflect a student’s proficiency?

A: Placement is not set in stone. If the language course you are taking is too easy or too challenging for you, talk with the instructor, speak with them in the target language, and ask whether you can be placed in a different course.

Q: What is the benefit of taking language courses at RWU?

A: To graduate, RWU students need a major and a Core Concentration. A Core Concentration requires five courses. However, if you are placed in 102 of a language and do a Core Concentration in that language, you need only four courses; if you are placed in 201, 202, or 300-level of a language and do a Core Concentration in that language, you need only three courses!

Q: Why should I take language courses?

A: Our world has become very interdependent. New technologies have allowed us to work in close contact with people all over the world. As relationships (in business, cultures, politics, etc.) grow, so does the need to speak different languages and become culturally and linguistically prepared! And foreign languages bring wings to your future career and help you stand out in job markets because employers know that it takes diligent work, self-discipline, and a vision to do well in language courses. If one succeeds in learning a foreign language, one can succeed in their pursuit of anything!

Q: What if I am interesting in majoring in another field?

A: Students can do a double major or a minor or Core Concentration in a language.

Student Learning Outcomes

It is the expectation of the department of Modern Languages that students show a level of foreign language competency equal to or exceeding the equivalent of the ACTFL standard for Level B High on standardized examinations in Italian, German, French and Spanish. Where such standardized examinations do not exist, such competency is tested internally through the department’s exit examination.

Roger Williams University Goals and Outcomes: 

The learning outcomes of our program integrate completely with the university’s goals and mission. We aim to graduate competitive members of the work force, young people with exceptional skills and advantages; we integrate with global communities, helping to address problems that matter to our society and to others; our classes encourage diversity of viewpoints and cultural understanding; beyond our classes, our study abroad programs offer experiential learning and are truly transformative of students’ lives. 

  • Roger Williams language students will enter the labor force with special skills and a competitive advantage 
  • On the RWU campus, language students will be ambassadors for other cultures and world views 
  • Language students will write English with greater clarity and professionalism 
  • Roger Williams language students will have experience through study abroad, and international and domestic internships, that will greatly change their vision of their potential and their life-paths 

American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) defines Level B high as:

  • Students can understand the main ideas of complex texts on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in a field of specialization. 
  • They can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for you or your conversation partner. 
  • They can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options. 

Recent Alumni Success and Opportunities for Language Students

  • Students wrote the first commentary ever written for a Medieval Latin text on the city of Rome.
  • Students assisted in surveys comparing the differences in spoken Spanish in Puerto Rico and Florida.
  • Students assisted in developing high school language textbooks.
  • Students assisted a professor in comparing travel literature in Communist China and the former Communist Germany.
  • Bibliographical Database of Spanish Linguistics
  • Translation and Commentary on the “Mirabila Romae”
  • Academic Standards Comparison of American and German Educational Systems
  • History of Fishing in Ancient Greek and Latin Literature
  • Methodologies in Creating Online and Distant Learning Language Classes
  • Digital Scholia
  • History of Rome Through Coins
  • CDS International, Inc.
  • AIB Cologne
  • IAESTE United States
  • A Praça Magazine
  • Diálogos Books

Our Graduates Are Working At:

  • Barrington High School
  • Banco de Portugal
  • Interserver, Inc.
  • Bauer, Inc.
  • U.S. Consulate, New York, NY
  • U.S. Trade Commission, New York, NY
  • Fulbright Commission
  • Siemens, Guibh
  • Asahi Shimbun New Agency, Tokyo, Japan
  • Texaco, Inc.
  • Bayer, Inc.

Our Graduates Are Studying At:

  • Princeton University
  • University of Dallas
  • American University
  • University of Munich
  • Catholic University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Pennsylvania

Juris Doctor/Bachelor's 3+3 Accelerated Program (J.D.)

Earn your bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees in six years through RWU’s Three-Plus-Three Law program. You’ll get a jump-start on your J.D. by integrating law courses into your undergraduate studies and completing undergraduate requirements in your first year of law school. Accepted students will take first-year courses in the School of Law along with legal electives to fulfill undergraduate fourth-year requirements. Interested students must indicate their intent to pursue a 3+3 pathway early in their undergraduate studies for curriculum planning and advising.

Learn More About the 3+3 Program