About the Department

Do you want to enhance your job prospects? Apply to graduate school in the arts and sciences? Study abroad or travel for business or just for fun? Whatever your goal, whatever your passion, learning languages and studying cultures opens doors to the world. 

World languages and cultures currently offers courses in:

All language programs are supported by free foreign language tutors and state-of-the-art technology in our Language Resource Center. We also offer courses in English on world cultures, literatures, and translation.

Undergraduate Major

The department currently offers a Bachelor of Arts in World Languages and Cultures. Students must choose one of six different concentrations:

  • French concentration with a liberal arts focus
  • Italian concentration with a liberal arts focus
  • Spanish concentration with a liberal arts focus
  • Spanish professional concentration for professional applications, including business, law, health services, social services and technical professions
  • Spanish elementary education concentration for elementary and middle school teacher preparation
  • Spanish secondary education concentration for middle and high school teacher preparation

Undergraduate Minors

The department offers five undergraduate minors:

Graduate Programs

The department's Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish was developed in response to the increased need in North Shore communities for well-trained and licensed Spanish teachers at both the elementary (P-6) and secondary (5-12) levels, this program meets the pedagogical and content standards of the Massachusetts Department of Education for licensure at the initial level. Content area courses, conducted entirely in Spanish, give students an overview of literatures, cultures, linguistics, and teaching methodology.

The department also occasionally offers graduate courses in French and Italian, designed to help meet the professional development needs of French and Italian teachers in the region.


The full-time faculty members of the foreign languages department each hold an earned doctorate in the field in which we teach, giving each of us the specialized knowledge to offer challenging and insightful upper-division and graduate courses. All of the department's faculty are engaged in ongoing research, professional development, or publication projects that enrich our teaching and contribute to our fields. In addition, each faculty member has extensive training in teaching foreign languages at all levels, from the elementary level up, which reminds us of how exciting--and sometimes daunting--it is for students at the beginning of the language-learning process. The fact that all of the faculty teach lower-division as well as upper-division courses allows us to get to know our students well and to guide students through the stages of language learning. The full-time faculty is supported by a very friendly and always helpful department secretary and by talented adjunct instructors who have a passion for language teaching. If you have questions about any of the department's programs, please feel free to contact the department chairperson or any member of the faculty or staff. We are here to help you succeed!

Visit the faculty page to see the full faculty listing or learn more about the permanent full-time faculty.

Foreign Language Requirement

Any of the languages offered by the department may be used to complete the foreign language requirement that most bachelor of arts students have.


Study Abroad

The department strongly encourages students in our language programs to study abroad. In collaboration with the Center for International Education, we offer short-term, faculty-led summer study abroad options in Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, and Spain. Through the Center for International Education’s study abroad office, students can find other programs to study abroad for a summer, semester, or a full year in many different countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

Departmental Activities

Language clubs: the department of foreign languages sponsors a French Club, an Italian Club and a Spanish Club. The clubs are always seeking new members and students interested in leadership positions in the clubs. Each club organizes social and cultural activities on and off campus, including movie nights, dinners, and trips to museums. Join the email list of the French Club, Italian Club or Spanish Club to receive announcements about meetings and events. Join a mainling list or find us on Facebook.

La Lista: The Spanish program also hosts a virtual Spanish club, an online email list called "Castellano" to which students and members of the community can contribute. La Lista ("the list" in Spanish) is a bilingual (Spanish-English) mailing list for people associated with the Salem State community to share information and discuss topics related to the Spanish speaking world: language, culture, and politics, as well as jobs, fellowships, and other professional opportunities. The list is open to anybody with ties of any sort to Boston's North Shore area that Salem State serves. Subscribe to La Lista.

Department Events: The department organizes events such as guest speakers, movie nights, and parties. We regularly organize a party at the end of each semester for all of the students, faculty, and friends of the programs to celebrate and socialize. In early December, we host a holiday party and in early May, the Spring Fling. The Spring Fling is also an awards dinner where outstanding students in the Spanish major and minor programs are recognized for their hard work. Awards are given for academic excellence, academic achievement, and service to the department.

Lingua Franca Newsletter: The department publishes a newsletter each semester to keep students informed of departmental events and larger issues related to foreign languages. Students are invited to contribute articles or ideas for articles. You can find out more and read back issues of the Lingua Franca newsletter online.

HOPE Award Essay Contest: Every spring, the department sponsors an essay contest for the HOPE award. This cash prize is given to the student who writes the best essay on the topic of: doing Humanitarian work, creating Opportunities for those in need, promoting Peace in the world, or sharing your Expertise about linguistic and cultural diversity.

International Photo Contest: Each spring, the department also hosts an international photo contest. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff are invited to submit their best photo of an international locale they have visited. The 12 best photos are selected for a photo calendar, published each summer. Proceeds from the calendar support the HOPE award.

Undergraduate Research Symposium: Students in the senior seminar course, and sometimes in other advanced Spanish courses, regularly present their original research at the university’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. All students are invited to attend the symposium and support their classmates as they present their research to the university community (in Spanish!).

Phi Sigma Iota International Honor Society: The department has joined the Phi Sigma Iota international honor society. Visit the website for more information.