Languages at St. Mary’s University

In the Department of Languages at St. Mary’s University, students learn to think critically and write clearly about an array of literary, linguistic and cultural topics.

These skills are strong preparation for careers in education, government, international business or for graduate and doctoral studies.

A degree in Languages provides students with tools to function effectively in different linguistic, cultural and professional contexts, thus enabling them to become leaders for the common good.

Language Courses

Spanish is offered as a major or minor and Portuguese is offered as a minor. St. Mary’s University also offers an undergraduate Certificate in Languages with concentrations in Spanish and Portuguese.

Faculty in the St. Mary’s University Department of Languages offer courses in the following languages:

Germany is a financial leader of Europe and therefore a major player in world economic matters. St. Mary’s business students are offered several business programs in German-speaking nations: one in Innsbruck, Austria and another in the small German town of Schmalkalden, where they can expand their knowledge of U.S and international business, German language and German culture and history. While knowledge of German language is not a prerequisite, it is certainly helpful to have taken some German at the main campus and know that one can go out into the town and get to know the locals and practice what was learned in the classroom.

St. Mary’s students are offered summer law courses and undergraduate and graduate business courses in Innsbruck, Austria, a German-speaking nation. Again, knowledge of German language can only enhance a student’s experience in a foreign country, in addition to giving the locals a better image of Americans.

Music majors will necessarily study the great German masters and voice students know that proper interpretation of music depends upon knowing what the words mean and being able to pronounce and intonate properly. Over the years, students have approached the German language faculty to consult with us about proper pronunciation of German music they are presenting in both private and public performances.

Besides those above-mentioned programs in Schmalkalden and Innsbruck, St. Mary’s students have participated in a number of programs at other German institutions, including universities in Berlin, Heidelberg, Frankfurt and Munich. All have returned with a greater appreciation of the necessity of understanding our global interconnectedness and are enthusiastically recruiting fellow students to take advantage of the world of opportunities available to the St. Mary’s community.


Meet your language requirement with Greek myths, philosophy and theology. Students who enroll in LN 1311 and 1312: Introduction to Greek will learn a new alphabet, read the New Testament in the original language, among other fascinating uses.


Upon completing two semesters of Introduction to Korean, students should be able to carry on simple conversations in their new language. The course focuses on four language skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading. Additionally, students will be immersed Korean culture via videos, films, podcasts and other media.

  • Speaking Portuguese increases your marketability, as more businesses, government agencies and non-governmental organizations seek trilingual (English-Spanish-Portuguese) speakers to cover Latin America.
  • Portuguese is the most widely spoken language in South America, with over 208 million speakers in Brazil. Portuguese is also designated as a Critical Language by the U.S. Government. This means that students in R.O.T.C. can receive an additional stipend for studying Portuguese. Those who serve in the Armed Forces and civilians who work for, or want to work for, the Federal Government may also be eligible for additional pay and may be needed for particular positions or assignments.
  • Portuguese is an official language of the European Union, and of Mercosur, the South American Trading Bloc. In Africa, two Portuguese-speaking nations, Mozambique and especially Angola, are experiencing rapid economic growth after the end of civil conflicts as production of their natural resources increases.
  • St. Mary’s has two study abroad options in Brazil: 1) During Maymester (Southern Cone Studies Program) or 2) Semester study at the Catholic University of Paraná during the fall or spring. Internships are also available. St. Mary’s also hosts students from the Catholic University of Paraná for one semester, and is the University’s most active exchange.
  • Spanish is the language spoken in the greatest number of countries in the Western Hemisphere, and is also an official language of the European Union.
  • Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the U.S. after English. Graduates fluent in Spanish find that their language and cultural skills are valuable in many different regions of the United States, and in many different fields, including, but not limited to education, health care, scientific research, and business.
  • For students who are able to conduct a fluent conversation in Spanish but who are hesitant about using Spanish outside of interactions with family and friends, the Languages Department highly recommends taking one semester of any advanced Spanish course (3000 level or higher). These courses enable students to gain confidence in their writing and presentation skills in Spanish, and a grade of B in an advanced course fulfills the Foreign Language Requirement (in lieu of two courses at the second-year level).

Through a Languages Consortium with the University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University and Our Lady of the Lake University, St. Mary’s is also able to offer courses in the following languages:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Russian

Study Abroad

The Language Department encourages study abroad to students of all majors. Studying abroad can help students reach the requirements for any of the majors, minors or certificates in Languages.

Studying abroad gives students first-hand experience with other cultures and languages and helps them develop cross-cultural communication skills valued by many employers.

St. Mary’s University has a spring semester at the Universidad de Alcala de Henares outside of Madrid, Spain. Part of the program was designed to give prospective teachers a cultural experience. All Teacher Certification students are encouraged to participate in the Spain Semester abroad.

Academic Programs in the Department of Languages



Certificate in Languages

Mexican American Studies

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