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Modern Languages

Major / Minor Requirements

Carthage offers majors and minors in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Major/Minor Requirements for Specific Languages

Required Study Abroad Experience

Majors are required to study abroad over one term in an academic setting in a country where the target language is spoken. Classroom instruction for all courses, regardless of discipline, will be in the target language. Courses taken at foreign institutions are usually recorded on the student’s Carthage transcript as GNR 3510. This is a global designation for experiential learning and courses that may be in History, Economics, Political Science, Linguistics, Art History, or a number of other fields supporting the MLA major. When faculty of any department agree, a specific course taken abroad may be accepted in lieu of a course in that department and be so noted on the student’s transcript. Students are strongly urged to get such courses approved by Carthage faculty before taking them. Prerequisites to apply for study abroad in modern language majors: MLA 2200, 3010, 3110, and either 3080 or 3090. (In exceptional cases, approval may be granted for substituting two summers for the term. Students are strongly urged to get such courses approved by the Carthage faculty before taking them.)

Certification For Teaching Modern Language

In addition to the professional education sequence of courses and 12 credits of student teaching (both required of all students wishing to be certified as teachers), students seeking certification to teach French, German, Chinese, Japanese, or Spanish  in Wisconsin must have a major or minor in the language and complete these three additional requirements before they begin student teaching:

  • Successfully complete Methods and Materials in Teaching Modern Languages (MLA 4200).
  • Complete at least four weeks of immersion in the target culture (see below).
  • Achieve an ACTFL proficiency level of “Intermediate High” or better on the oral proficiency interview and the written proficiency test (see below).

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires those seeking certification in a modern language to complete an immersion experience in the target culture. For Modern Language majors, this will be met by the required semester abroad. Modern Language minors wishing to be certified to teach must document an immersion experience of at least four weeks. Students preparing to study abroad are urged to take MLA 2200 (required for majors).

Students who wish to be certified to teach French, German, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese in Wisconsin must take the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) oral proficiency interview and the written proficiency test and receive a rating of “Intermediate High” or better prior to beginning their student teaching. Students should contact the Modern Languages Department as soon as they have decided to seek certification in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese in order to receive information about preparing for the exam. The exams are given by examiners who are independent of the College. These examinations are arranged by the Departments of Modern Languages and Education, and are paid for by the student.

Placement and Competency

Students who have studied a modern language and plan to continue their studies in that language will be placed at the appropriate level on the basis of previous courses and grades and/or a departmentally administered placement test. Students completing the Carthage course in which they were placed with at least a grade of “C” will be awarded credit for the preceding courses in the normal language sequence, to a maximum of 12 credits per language. If placed above 3010, the Spanish minor requires students to take a minimum of 14 credits.

Carthage does not administer placement examinations or offer any form of credit by examination in languages not offered at the College. However, for purposes of the College’s Modern Language requirement, please note the following:

You may be exempted from the Modern Language requirement if:

  • A minimum of 6 credits in a modern language, with grades of “C” or better, appears on an official post-secondary transcript.
  • You are fluent in a modern language other than those offered at Carthage and can document a majority of non- language academic courses (i.e. biology, mathematics) taught in that modern language at the high school level.
  • You are fluent in a modern language other than those offered at Carthage and can pass a proficiency examination in that modern language at the level of two semesters of college coursework. The examination must be administered and documented by another college and/or university. All arrangements and costs are the responsibility of the student.
  • You can document having taken 12 credits from an American Sign Language program.

Majors and minors in French, German, and Spanish are required to pass a target language competency exam during the term in which they take 3010.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

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    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Modern Languages Professor Pascal Rollet writes songs that highlight grammar points in French and Spanish. He uses software to merge synthesized instruments, guitar, and vocals into tunes a college audience can tolerate, and learn from.

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

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    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

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    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

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    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

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    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

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    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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