Courses offered by the Department of Languages and Cultures provide students the opportunity to acquire an informed appreciation and understanding of other peoples through their language, literature, culture, and history. Language training, integrated with the sociopolitical and cultural understanding fostered in all the departments' programs, is applicable to many career areas, including teaching, translating and interpreting, international business, and government service.
The dual language major is designed for students who want to achieve a working proficiency in two languages other than English. Normally, students majoring in two languages will have developed some proficiency in one language prior tocoming to Principia College. Once here, they continue that language in addition to developing another one.
Both the dual language major and any of the single language majors may be combined with a second major as a support to another interest or career goal.
The Department of Languages and Cultures also offers a Language Certificate in both French and Spanish, which is available to majors and non-majors alike. The certificate recognizes students' proficiency in the language based on the standards of the nationally-recognized ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) test. With global business being conducted more and more in languages other than English, the certificate provides another way for students to prepare for success in multilingual environments.
Advanced students of German who are at the level of completing the equivalent of second-year college German may apply for a special scholarship from the Stein Fund to support their studying for a semester or a year in Germany. With proper planning, students that pursue this option can transfer the work they do back to Principia and continue towards graduation without interruption.