BA in Language and Culture
A language and culture major with a concentration in Spanish prepares students for a variety of careers in which cultural understanding, international experience, critical thinking, and practical application of a second language play a significant role. It is an excellent complement to a second major in many fields, adding valuable foreign language and cultural competency and international or multicultural experience to knowledge in other disciplines and preparing students for careers in government or civil service, law and law enforcement, health and human services, travel and tourism, international business, and education. The foreign language program at SOU prepares majors to enter graduate programs leading to careers that require superior language proficiency in specializations such as linguistics, literature, culture studies, and translation.
The language and culture major enables intermediate to advanced students to maximize their competency in language skills and cultural proficiency by focusing on communication, practical applications, research and analysis, language fluency, and cultural knowledge and understanding. Incorporating the most current models instruction, a multidimensional program equips undergraduates with varying skills to reach their potential language and culture proficiency levels. The language and culture major requires all students to complete an international internship or a local community-based work experience. Both the international and local work experiences must demonstrate high language skills and good cultural knowledge.
The language and culture major is also designed to increase students’ integration of multidisciplinary knowledge into their specialization and their preparedness to enter the work world. To this end, foreign language and culture majors are required to complete a minor or a second major in another field.
Accelerated Baccalaureate Degree Program
Language and culture majors may participate in the University’s Accelerated Baccalaureate Degree Program.
Admission to the Major
To be admitted to the language and culture baccalaureate program, students must have:
- Completed two years of college-level Spanish or the equivalent;
- Attained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 in all coursework;
- Attained a cumulative GPA of a least 3.0 in all coursework in the language option chosen; and
- Demonstrated an oral proficiency level equivalent to intermediate mid on the scale published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).
Requirements for the Major
Students in a language and culture major must complete the following minimum requirements:
- Fulfill baccalaureate degree requirements.
- Speak with an advisor in the language area and create a junior and senior plan of study, including all items below, as approved by an advisor.
- An interdisciplinary culture core (12 credits).
- A Spanish language and literature core (24 credits).
- Advanced language, literature, or culture credits (16 credits).
- A research and writing skills requirement, which must be met by completing SPAN 312 or 412 on the SOU campus in Ashland.
- A culture-specific work experience undertaken once an advanced level of proficiency has been demonstrated (minimum of 4-8 credits).
- A capstone project, completed under the supervision of a member of the languages and literatures faculty (4 credits).
- A minor or a second major. Requirement can be waived with 20 upper division credits abroad.
- A minimum 3.0 GPA in the language of specialization and a 2.5 GPA overall.
- A campus residency requirement. At least 16 upper division credits that have been approved by an advisor in the language of concentration, not including the capstone project and the practical work experience, must be completed in courses offered on the SOU campus in Ashland. At least 12 credits taken in residence, excluding capstone and practica credits, must be at the 400-level.
Work and Study Abroad
Foreign language students are encouraged to take advantage of the many varied and high-quality SOU approved study or work abroad programs and options available. Financial aid applies in most instances. With advisor consent, internship, practicum, and study abroad credit earned through SOU or another accredited U.S. university may fulfill foreign language and other program requirements. An academic year abroad is recommended for all foreign language majors.
Advanced Service Learning
The language and culture degree requires students to work locally or abroad for at least 120 hours. The work must be completed in a community or country where Spanish is spoken. The community-based work experience is generally a part-time experience spread over several weeks. Majors must complete at least 4 credits and may be eligible to earn additional credits depending on the total number of hours worked (30 hours of work per credit). The work may be undertaken once a student has achieved an appropriate level of linguistic and cultural proficiency, usually toward the end of the junior year or at the completion of a year or semester of study abroad. The work experience is registered as an irregular course or courses and includes statements of work objectives, journals, reports, and an employer evaluation. Credits and course requirements are overseen by a member of the foreign language faculty.
All students in the language and culture major must complete a capstone project that demonstrates the skills and knowledge acquired during the completion of the major. The capstone project includes an analytical research paper and annotated bibliography following standard MLA format. The research is presented before students and a panel of foreign languages and literatures faculty.