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Modern/Classical Languages Department

The modern/classical languages department offers an intellectually stimulating curriculum to students within a comprehensive study of the language, literature and cultures of the Hispanic world. The program is organized to prepare students for a professional career in international business, a career in teaching, or graduate study in Spanish. The use of proficiency-based methodologies and audio-visual tools in the study of culture and language bring the student to an understanding and an active command of Spanish in the areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking. All Spanish courses are conducted in the target language. A full complement of courses for a Spanish major or minor is available on the Winona campus. The modern/ classical languages department also offers a wide variety of Spanish courses that contribute to the General Education Curriculum. *Although the French major and minor are currently suspended, the department offers intermediate and advanced French courses as student interest demands. Additionally, the department offers beginning courses in Greek, Hebrew and Latin. All French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin courses need a minimum enrollment of eight students for the course to be offered.

General Department  Goals

Upon completion of their studies, majors are able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions;
  • The ability to understand and interpret both spoken and written language on a variety of topics; and
  • The ability to present information, concepts and ideas to an audience of readers on a variety of topics.

All students who have taken Spanish in high school must take a placement test prior to continuing in that language at Saint Mary’s. The test facilitates placement at an appropriate level and is given prior to registration each semester. Upon completion of one semester of study with a final grade of B or above, a student earns 2 credits for each class bypassed in the language sequence (courses numbered 101, 102, 201, 202). If a student earned a 3 or higher through the CEEB AP program, she/he may receive 4 100-level credits. A maximum of 8 credits may be earned that count toward a Spanish minor, and as elective credits that count toward graduation. If the student earned a 3 or higher through the CEEB AP program, she/he may receive 4 100-level credits. A maximum of 8 credits may be earned through the CEEB AP program and/or SMU AP program.

Extracurricular Organizations

The department sponsors two extracurricular organizations. Alpha Mu Gamma is a national foreign language honor society. Seniors majoring or minoring in Spanish are eligible for induction annually into the Eta Delta Chapter. The department also sponsors Cineclub, which is open to the university community. Films from both Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries are screened throughout the year, providing a venue for both artistic and cultural reflection.

Spanish Studies Abroad

Saint Mary’s University has an affiliation with the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies (CC-CS), which offers courses and internships in Spain (Seville, Alicante, Barcelona), Argentina (Córdoba), Cuba (Havana), and Puerto Rico (San Juan), CC-CS offers semester or academic year programs as well as short-term options during the winter, spring or summer. Saint Mary’s also partners with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA), which offers semester-long internship opportunities in Ecuador.

It is suggested that students interested in:

  • A professional career should take Advanced Conversation, Civilization/Culture, and Spanish for Business;
  • Teaching Spanish should take Advanced Composition, Advanced Conversation, Civilization/Culture, Phonetics/Diction;
  • Continuing their studies in graduate school should take Advanced Composition, Advanced Conversation, Civilization/Culture, three different period/area literature courses, and acquire a working knowledge of another foreign language; or
  • Any of the above, complete a period of study abroad in programs through Saint Mary's or in programs with which Saint Mary's has an affiliation.

Majors Offered

Minor Offered


For more information contact:

Dorothy Diehl, Ph.D.
Chair, Modern/Classical Languages Department
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights #75
Winona, MN 55987-1399
(800) 635-5987, Ext. 1531