Foreign Language


The Foreign Language Program offers students an opportunity to study a variety of foreign languages, including more commonly taught languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, and German, and less commonly taught and critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, and Russian. In addition, the program offers language courses for people with specialized reasons for language study such as Spanish for Nurses, Teachers, or Law Enforcement Officers, as well as formal language instruction for heritage speakers. Language offerings vary depending on student interest and demand.

Classes in foreign languages are conducted in both conventional teacher-fronted settings that include opportunities for small-group learning and also in roundtable format.  Maximum enrollment in foreign language classes is ordinarily 15 students or fewer. Courses in less commonly taught and critical languages typically have smaller sections.

The philosophy of the Lewis University Language Program stresses immediate practical language skills and communication. Emphasis is on how to use the language in culturally appropriate ways rather than simply learning facts about the language. Very little English is used. Each foreign language course carries three semester hours of credit.

Students are encouraged to carefully select the language of study and to consider taking one of the less frequently taught critical languages, the knowledge of which is especially valued today.


A Spanish Language and Culture major is offered. See the separate description of this major for further information.

A Foreign Language and Culture minor is a flexible, interdisciplinary program that focuses on a specific linguistic and geographical region, requires three semesters of language study, and allows students to choose three additional courses that will enhance their understanding of the culture and the language they wish to pursue. Students can choose these three additional courses from among numerous offerings in cultural studies as well as additional courses in the target language.

This minor not only prepares students to become more proficient in a foreign language, but it also documents their dedication to global citizenship. Because employees with proficiency in foreign languages and intercultural understanding are already in high demand, those who complete the minor will be able to distinguish themselves as they compete for jobs. This minor is, therefore, especially beneficial for majors in Aviation, Communication, Criminal/Social Justice, English, History, Journalism, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, and Pre-Med or Pre-Law – all those who plan to pursue careers in particular geographic regions of the U.S. or the world, and all those in business, education, or nursing who may be interested in making themselves more marketable by preparing themselves to work in global companies or not-for-profit agencies.

Students are strongly encouraged to engage in a Study Abroad opportunity.

The minors offered include Arabic, Chinese, East European (Polish and Russian), and Spanish languages and cultures. These are critical languages currently having great applicability. Every Foreign Language and Culture minor must complete nine hours in the minor at Lewis University.  That is, at least one course in the target language and two other appropriate upper-division culture courses MUST be completed at Lewis University.  The two upper-division courses and an additional three credit hours may not apply to any other minor or any major offered at Lewis University.

Students are awarded credit in First-Year Foreign Language 1 and/or 2 by earning a qualifying score on AP, CLEP, IB tests, or on any accredited foreign language proficiency examination. See relevant charts in the General Information section of this Catalog for qualifying scores on AP, CLEP, and IB tests. See the Director of the Foreign Language Program for information on other nationally-recognized proficiency examinations accepted by Lewis University.

Only declared Foreign Language and Culture minors and declared Spanish Language and Culture majors may petition the Director of the Foreign Language Program to take a Challenge Examination to earn credit for prior learning in First-Year Foreign Language 1 and/or 2. See the Program Director for more information. Modest testing and transcript fees apply and a maximum of 6 credit hours may be earned. Written Challenge Examinations in Spanish Grammar 1 and 2 are available for Spanish Language and Culture majors only.

Students who have studied a foreign language may be granted advanced standing in a language according to their level of proficiency. Students are granted advanced standing by the Director of the Foreign Language Program after a placement interview in which the student demonstrates oral/aural proficiency. Students whose first or home language is the target foreign language will ordinarily be placed in a Heritage course.