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Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures
Skidmore College
815 N. Broadway - Palamountain Hall, 4th Floor
Saratoga Springs NY 12866

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth O'Brien

Patricia Ivory

Department Blog


Since the department offers a rotation of advanced courses in French, German, and Spanish, students desiring a major in one of these languages should begin as sophomores to plan their programs for their junior and senior years.

Students majoring in the department are expected to acquire fluency and accuracy in one or more of the modern languages; a general knowledge of the civilization and culture that the language expresses; an ability to interpret texts linguistically, stylistically, and historically; and an intensive knowledge of certain, defined periods of literature.

FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND LITERATURE WRITING IN THE MAJOR REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in French, German, and Spanish will demonstrate an advanced level of proficiency in writing (“Advanced Plus” on the ACTFL scale). Foreign Languages and Literatures majors will develop the ability to write in the target language in a range of genres including writing for academic, social, and professional contexts in such forms as letters, reports, and research papers for purposes of description, narration, and analysis. FLL majors will demonstrate in writing the ability to perform a close reading of a literary or cultural text including explication of relevant rhetorical features, structural elements, and historical and cultural references. Through writing assignments students learn how to develop a thesis, provide textual evidence, present logical arguments, and employ appropriate theoretical lenses.

INTERDEPARTMENTAL MAJORS: In conjunction with the relevant departments, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures offers majors in Business-French, Business-German, Business-Spanish; English-French, English-German, English-Spanish; Government-French, Government-German, and Government-Spanish.