World Languages and Cultures

Office:E332 Thompson Hall 

(716) 673-3380

Dr. David Rankin, Chairperson (interim)

Dr. Juan De Urda, Coordinator



With its interdisciplinary and global vision of a changing world, the Department of World Languages and Cultures contributes to the international education of students. Knowledge of a second language has become essential whether one lives and works within the United States or abroad. Conscious that language and cultural manifestations are expressions of the complexities of a country's culture, the department is committed to the formation of citizens that are culturally sensitive to the nuances of everyday business and interpersonal exchanges.

The department focuses on world languages that are spoken and used throughout the world. It offers a Bachelor of Arts in French and in Spanish. Fredonia students graduate not only with proficiency in French and/or Spanish, but also with a deep understanding of the multifaceted aspects of the countries where French and Spanish are spoken. In addition, other language offerings include, beginning instruction in German, Italian, Russian and American Sign Language.  

A major or minor may be earned in French and/or Spanish. Certification programs for Adolescence Education are offered in French and Spanish. Students can also design programs that go across disciplines and fields, with the assistance of their advisor.

Majors, minors, and world language concentration students are encouraged to travel to a foreign country for one or two semesters of study abroad. The department offers programs in Aix-en-Provence, France; Oaxaca, Mexico; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Students participating in these and other programs have found the experience enormously enriching. Many students choose to travel to other countries in Latin America and the French-speaking world. The department encourages students to participate in overseas programs. Plans should be discussed early with their advisor so they can take advantage of this opportunity as early as the sophomore year.

The department sponsors the French Club and has affiliation with two national honor societies: Pi Delta Phi in French and Sigma Delta Pi in Spanish.

The Thomas Goetz-Robert Rie Scholarship for Excellence in Modern Languages is awarded each year to an upper level major in modern languages who demonstrates outstanding academic ability and commitment to his/her field of study. Recommendations are submitted by the faculty to the chair of the department.

Requirements for Transfer Credit

A student can transfer up to 21 credit hours with a minimum grade of C towards the major. A minimum of 15 credit hours must be taken in the department at Fredonia.

For a minor, a student can transfer up to 9 credit hours with a minimum grade of C towards the program.


  1. Depending on the language preparation in high school, a student can be placed at a more or less advanced section of a language course by the instructor. Students are encouraged to speak with their instructor the first week of classes to ensure placement at the appropriate level.
  2. Unless otherwise specified, all courses are conducted principally in the appropriate foreign language.