Learn a Foreign Language: Degree and Course Facts

In a foreign language program, you can learn how to read, write and speak a foreign language, as well as learn about the culture and countries of those who speak the language. Read on for more details on what to expect in a foreign language degree program. Schools offering Spanish degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You have a wide array of options concerning where, when and for how long you study a foreign language. There are many individual courses at all levels offered through college and university language departments, including some distance-learning possibilities. Courses may be immersion, in which you only hear and speak the language you are studying, while others allow students to use English in the classroom while learning a foreign language. Many instructors are native speakers of the language.

Courses Grammar, conversation, reading and writing in a foreign language as well as literature, history and culture related to the language
Degrees Associate's, bachelor's, master's, Ph.D.
Training Written and oral exercises, translations, reading comprehension, study abroad

What Will I Learn?

In undergraduate degree programs, courses go beyond learning the language itself and introduce you to culture, literature, and study abroad. In languages spoken in many countries, such as Spanish, you can expect to learn the differences between the Latin American and Spanish cultures, their literature and colonial histories. If you are studying a classic language, like ancient Greek or Latin, your focus may be more on reading and less on the spoken word.

What Are the Degree Programs Like?

You may earn an associate's or bachelor's degree by mastering the spoken and written language, while taking a series of electives and also completing general education courses. General education requirements vary from school to school, and courses may include math, science, philosophy or art. For example, courses in an undergraduate program in French may include:

  • Elementary and Intermediate French
  • French Conversation and Advanced French Conversation
  • Approaches to French Literature
  • Nineteenth Century France
  • Contemporary French Cinema

In addition to the traditional language and literature, master's and Ph.D. programs may teach courses in international law or business related to the language you are studying. Many graduate degree programs allow you to specialize in translation, international studies, comparative literature, or another sub-discipline of the language being studied. Advanced degrees typically culminate in a critical thesis or dissertation.

How Will I Learn?

Language courses are taught in a variety of ways. In beginner level language courses you will learn vocabulary, pronunciation, verb conjugation and sentence structure. You may be assigned workbook exercises and also could expect to write essays, translate passages and answer reading comprehension questions.

Many university language departments offer you the opportunity to study abroad and spend a semester or longer fully engaged with the culture related to the language you are studying. If you take an individual course through a language school, you may also have the chance to fully immerse yourself in the language, which could speed up comprehension.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Towson University

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham