May 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Modern Languages and Cultures Department

Professors: F. Iturburu
Associate Professor: M. Cusson
Lecturers: O. Flores

Contact Us
Chairperson: Marie Cusson,  Associate Professor
Phone: 518-564-3831


The Department of Modern Languages and Cultures offers baccalaureate program in Spanish and minor programs in French and Spanish. It also offers, in conjunction with the Teacher Education Unit, one combined undergraduate and graduate program: B.A./M.S.T. Spanish/Adolescence Education. This program leads to New York State teacher certification in Adolescence Education (grades 7-12). (See the Combined Programs section of this catalog.)

The majors and minors in foreign languages offer a well-rounded and balanced liberal arts education. Cultural studies focusing on the intellectual, geographic, political, economic, and social structures of the countries in which each language is spoken, and courses geared to developing the ability to analyze, comprehend, and discuss literary themes and art forms, complement the department’s fundamental objectives to expand the student’s oral and written language proficiency and cultural sensibilities to the broadest extent possible.

The department’s degree programs begin with a four-semester (12 credit) introductory language sequence (some or all of which qualified students can satisfy through prior credit or by examination), followed by 30 credits of 300-level and 400-level courses devoted primarily to three areas of study: the advancement of linguistic skills through courses in conversation, composition, and grammar; the methodologies of analyzing, interpreting, and understanding literature; and the civilizations, cultures, and literary history generated within the countries where the respective languages are spoken.

Generally, the 400-level courses are designed to deepen and broaden the knowledge and skills acquired in the lower level courses; they are intended to provide the capstone experiences for majors, and to help them make the transition to graduate-level study and to professional careers.

By design, philosophy, and faculty preparation, the department’s offerings are richly interdisciplinary and purposely multinational. Students of Spanish, for example, study Latin American and Caribbean cultures along with those of the Iberian Peninsula. 

Travel and study-away - especially through SUNY programs - are strongly encouraged, and as much as half the student’s major or minor program can be accomplished abroad. Many of the department’s students take advantage of the college’s broad range of study opportunities by accomplishing double majors or minors in such fields as Canadian studies, Latin American studies, International Business, Communication, and other similarly interrelated fields.

In addition to courses in French and Spanish, the department currently offers courses in descriptive and theoretical linguistics as well as beginning level I and II courses in  Arabic. Faculty members in the department support and frequently participate instructionally in the college’s honors, women’s studies, and anthropology programs and direct the interdisciplinary minor in language and linguistics.

For further information concerning the major, minor, and advanced placement programs, please contact the departmental office in Champlain Valley Hall (518-564-3829). For additional information on NYS teacher certification in foreign languages, please contact either the departmental office or the Office of the Teacher Education Unit in Sibley Hall (518-564-2122).


    Majors (Undergraduate)Minors (Undergraduate)