Why Study a Foreign Language at MC?

Majoring or Minoring in a foreign language will help you become a better communicator and citizen of an increasingly global world. From understanding scholarly articles and literature written in other languages to proficiently communicating with people around the world, you will be prepared for a variety of challenges. Graduates of our foreign language programs go on to work with people in the U.S. whose English proficiency is limited, while others work overseas in business, foreign relations, politics, teaching, research, missions, journalism and tourism. Wherever your path leads, the study of foreign languages will open doors in exciting ways.

American Sign Language

American Sign Language is currently the sixth most-used language in the U.S., or the fifth most-used non-English language in the U.S. The study of American Sign Language leads students toward careers in interpreting and transliteration for members of the Deaf population as well as toward counseling, social work, teaching, working in schools for the Deaf, and graduate study in linguistics or anthropology. Maryville College is one of fewer than 50 schools nationwide offering bachelor’s degrees in this area of study. The major in American Sign Language- English Interpreting prepares students for careers as interpreters and transliterators; the major in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies leads to a wide variety of other careers serving the Deaf.


German is one of the most important languages of publication for scientific and technical literature worldwide, as well as the language of the country ranked by the World Bank as the fourth largest economy in the world (by gross domestic product, 2012). Maryville College offers a minor in German. A licensure to teach German is available with the minor if a student is already acquiring licensure with the student’s major.


Japanese is the language of the world’s third largest economy (by 2012 gross domestic product), a country with a history of technological innovation. Maryville College offers a minor in Japanese. A licensure to teach Japanese is available with the minor if a student is already acquiring licensure with the student’s major.


Spanish is the second most spoken language in the U.S. after English, so it opens many opportunities for interaction with major segments of the U.S. population, as well as doorways into the culture and life of Latin America and Spain. Maryville College offers both a major and a minor in Spanish. Moreover, the major in Spanish for Teacher Licensure leads to qualification to teach high school Spanish. So does the minor in Spanish for Add-on Teaching Endorsement, for those who already have teacher licensure in another field.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

Meet a current student

Bethany Headrick ’18
Hometown: Walland, Tenn.

Bethany’s ultimate career goal is to find a job in hospitality or service that will use her Spanish-speaking ability and allow her to travel and live abroad. Majoring in both Spanish and International Business, she has had numerous opportunities at MC that will help her realize her goal. She spent a semester studying abroad in Argentina, is interning with the non-profit Centro Hispano and is working at RT Lodge, an upscale group lodging and event site located on the MC campus. “My advisors have been nothing but helpful as I have searched for the perfect internship for me and appropriate Senior Study topic,” she said. “My horizons have broadened, and I now have an interest in service that I never thought I would be interested in before. MC has opened so many doors for me.”

Zach Price ’18
Hometown: Walland, Tenn.

Two hurricanes hitting Puerto Rico in 2017 prematurely ended Zach’s semester at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, but he returned to MC determined to take advantage of on-campus and local opportunities to improve his language skills. After graduation, he hopes to find a job in a business that will allow him to use his Spanish daily. He knows that becoming fluent in another language, especially Spanish, will help him stand out from other job seekers. “My professors here at MC have been tough, but they’ve been good for me,” he said. “They have pushed me to be the best that I can be in the classroom and as a person.”

Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduate

Kelsey White ’10
Currently: Immigrant Health Access project program coordinator, the university of north carolina-greensboro center for new north carolinians

Kelsey used the skills she learned in the Spanish major to influence her career in public health social work. Her dual master's degree in social work and public health at UNC-Chapel Hill focused on mental health, substance use and maternal/child health. Now at UNCG, she combines her Spanish and broad public health social work experience with a desire to promote health equity for immigrant communities in the Southeast. “I went into MC with a strong interest in service, and I learned so much about social justice,” she said. “In Dr. [Geoff] Mitchell’s class, I learned that language is tied to everything else, and you have to learn about culture, politics, history and so much more to truly understand and communicate with others. That’s directly related to how a social worker thinks.”

Job Placements

Alabama Department of Mental Health
Blount County Schools
Clayton Homes
Eastman Chemical Company
Deaf Access Solutions
Lenoir City Schools
Ruby Tuesday
Sorenson Communications

Graduate School Placements

Emory University School of Law
Gallaudet University, School of Social Work
George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Studies
Oklahoma State University, School of Business
Trevecca Nazarene University, School of Library, Information Sciences
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, School of Social Work and School of Global Public Health
University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Foreign Language Education at the College of Arts and Science

Required Coursesclick or touch to open

Instruction is available in six foreign languages; a major is offered in Spanish and minors are offered in German, Japanese, and Spanish. Course descriptions can be found under each listing. Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin are occasional special offerings.

American Sign Language

Two majors offered at Maryville College draw on American Sign Language, the major in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies and the major in American Sign Language-English Interpreting. Courses and requirements for each major can be found under those listings.

Beginning and intermediate French language courses are offered. Students seeking additional study in one of these languages or cultures should consider a study abroad experience from options available through the College Study Abroad programs.

FRN 110: Elementary French I (3 hrs.)
FRN 120: Elementary French II (3 hrs.)
FRN 201: Intermediate French I (3 hrs.)
FRN 202: Intermediate French II (3 hrs.)

The Minor in German consists of at least 15 credit hours above the 100-level, including:

GER 201: Intermediate German I (3 hrs.)
GER 202: Intermediate German II (3 hrs.)
GER 225: Intermediate Conversation and Composition (3 hrs.)

Six credit hours earned in an approved College Study Abroad program.

German 201-202, 225 or the equivalents, are prerequisites for students who intend to complete their German Minor by pursuing an approved course of study abroad.

German is offered for initial teacher licensure in conjunction with another licensure area. Beginning German language courses are also offered.

GER 110: Elementary German I (3 hrs.)
GER 120: Elementary German II (3 hrs.)

The Minor in Japanese consists of 15 credit hours above the 100-level, including:

JPN 201: Intermediate Japanese I (3 hrs.)
JPN 202: Intermediate Japanese II (3 hrs.)
JPN 225: Intermediate Conversation and Composition (3 hrs)

An additional six credit hours earned either by taking a combination of the following:
JPN 337: Internship
JPN 349: Selected Topics in Japanese (3 hrs.)


Participating in an approved College Study Abroad program.

Japanese 201-202 are prerequisites for students who intend to complete their Japanese minor by studying abroad. Beginning Japanese language courses are also offered.

JPN 110: Elementary Japanese I (4 hrs.)
JPN 120: Elementary Japanese II (4 hrs.)



The Major in Spanish consists of 46 credit hours beyond elementary Spanish.  In addition, Spanish majors spend the second semester of their junior year abroad in an approved program in a Spanish-speaking country. During this semester abroad, 12 hours of approved Spanish courses are completed. Arrangements for study at foreign institutions are described under the College Study Abroad programs.

A second track in the major, Spanish for Teacher Licensure, consists of 43 credit hours beyond elementary Spanish. Spanish majors for Teacher Licensure must also spend the second semester of their junior year abroad in an approved program in a Spanish-speaking country. During this semester abroad, 12 hours of approved Spanish courses are completed. In addition, students pursuing this major must complete 29 hours of professional courses in teacher education.

The Minor in Spanish consists of at least 15 credit hours in Spanish in courses above the 100-level.

The Minor in Spanish for Add-On Teaching Endorsement requires the completion of 15 hours of Spanish above the 100-level.

Video Galleryclick or touch to open