Bachelor of Arts in World Languages and Cultures

The world languages and cultures department offers a bachelor of arts in world languages and cultures (WLC) that gives students the skills they need to communicate effectively in their chosen language, while also providing the cultural knowledge and analytical skills needed to be able to work in a multilingual setting. Students must choose one of six concentrations in the major:

  • French concentration
  • Italian concentration
  • Spanish concentration
  • Spanish elementary education (teacher licensure track)
  • Spanish secondary education (teacher licensure track)
  • Spanish professional studies (focus on translation and professional Spanish)

Each concentration is comprised of 12 courses (36 credits) in language, literature and/or culture, with interdisciplinary course options in the liberal arts concentrations. All majors complete an experiential learning course (an internship, community service placement, or study-travel project), allowing them to use their language skills in a practical and meaningful way within the local or global community. WLC majors also must complete a senior seminar where students undertake a major research project on a topic of their choosing. The department also strongly encourages its majors to participate in a study abroad program to improve their language abilities and to learn first-hand about the cultures they are studying in our programs.

Flowsheets for the BA in world languages can be found in the academic catalog (PDF).

[Note: Students who entered Salem State prior to fall 2013 in the BA in Spanish program may complete their BA in Spanish with the flowsheet of the year they entered the major, or they may opt to switch into the new BA in world languages and cultures. If you are currently a student in the BA in Spanish and wish to switch to one of the new flowsheets, please see your academic advisor or the department chairperson.]

How do I choose a concentration?

Liberal Arts Concentrations in French, Italian, Spanish:

These concentrations offer students the opportunity to develop advanced communicative proficiency in their chosen language, while also giving them a broad understanding of the cultural diversity, literature, and history of Italian, Francophone or Hispanic world cultures. The liberal arts base aims to prepare students to work in a global environment in a variety of fields where language training is required or preferred. Interdisciplinary course options encourage students to explore the interconnectedness of various disciplines and to examine their major subject through a broader lens. They also allow students to focus on a particular area of interest within the major (i.e., Francophone Africa, the Italian Renaissance, etc.). Suggested minors or second majors for WLC majors include a second foreign language or a professionally-oriented field such as education, communications, business, geography (travel and tourism), social work, pre-law studies, or political science. Students may also opt for a minor or second major in related liberal arts field, such as history, art, music, theatre arts, sociology, women’s studies, African studies, peace studies, or philosophy.

Specialized Concentrations in Spanish:

The Spanish education tracks offer a liberal arts degree combined with practical training in teaching methodology, leading to teacher licensure in Spanish at the elementary or secondary level. The professional concentration in Spanish is geared specifically to the development of translation, interpretation and language skills needed for business, medical or legal professions, health or social service careers. 

At what level do I start my studies?

The French, Italian and Spanish concentrations of the WLC major all begin at the 300-level. The Spanish education and professional tracks start at the 202-level. So all students need to complete the intermediate-level sequence (201-202) or demonstrate competency at the 202-level. Students can demonstrate competency by taking our Spanish placement test, or by consulting with a French or Italian faculty member. Students may also demonstrate competency by completing an AP test, CLEP exam or NYU exam in the language (these exams can give students up to six credits at the intermediate level or higher), by transferring credits taken at the intermediate level or higher at another institution, or by demonstrating graduation from a foreign high school where the language of instruction was French, Italian or Spanish. See our language placement guidelines or talk to the department chairperson for more information.

What can I do with a world languages and cultures major?

Coupled with a minor (or a second major) in a professionally-oriented field, or by selecting one of the specialized Spanish tracks, the WLC major may lead to post-baccalaureate careers in education, journalism, translation/interpretation, advertising, marketing, public relations, non-profit or government agencies, international business, museums or cultural organizations, libraries, travel agencies, public service, or publishing companies.

The world languages and cultures degree provides a solid liberal arts foundation for graduate studies in literature or cultural studies, in translation/interpretation, in a liberal arts discipline that requires language skills (history, political science, etc.), or for an international specialization in a professional field, such as law, politics, education, or business.

Study Abroad

Students can study abroad in virtually any country through the university’s Center for International Education. We offer department-sponsored, affordable summer programs in Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, and Canada. Study abroad credits completed during a student’s degree program at Salem State are counted as “in residence” credits for our majors and minors. For more information about study abroad, contact the study abroad advisor at the Center for International Education.


All WLC majors are required to participate in an experiential learning course (internship, community service, or travel-study project). These experiences give students the chance to use their language skills in a practical setting and explore career options for language majors.

Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities

Students may apply for post-baccalaureate “teach abroad” programs in France, Italy, or Spain. These programs are funded by the governments of these European countries and pay a stipend for housing and living expenses for American students to work as English teaching assistants in European middle and high schools. There are also post-baccalaureate fellowships for research abroad available through the Fulbright fellowship program.



Eight students pose for a photo in front of a building in Oviedo, Spain.

Summer Program in Oviedo, Spain

Earn up to six credits in Spanish in Oviedo this summer at any level from beginner through advanced! Students live in dorms at the University of Oviedo, located in the Asturias region of Spain. Financial aid is available. See Dr. Serra for more details.