Frequently Asked Questions

map of world languages

  1. If I already speak the language, should I avoid majoring in it?
    You can definitely major in a language that you can already speak and the formal study of that language will provide many advantages. People who grow up speaking a language don’t automatically know how to write in that language, or write at a level that a prospective employer would want. By studying the language, you will also increase your ability to speak well, and expand your knowledge of the culture and literature. Developing your skills in reading and writing a language, even if you already speak it, will open the door to many more career possibilities.
  2. If I want to improve my English, should I avoid majoring in Modern Languages because I won’t be taking classes in English?
    A major in Modern Languages does not mean all your classes will be in the target language. You will still need to take at least thirty credits in other subjects, taught in English.
  3. Is an AA degree in Languages only useful if I want to become a language teacher?
    Whatever your career choice, your credentials will be enhanced by knowledge of another language. Many businesses are international, with offices in multiple locations. Even careers that are focused in one location usually deal with people from multiple cultures. Whether you are pursuing a career as a lawyer, nurse, social worker, accountant, etc., you will be a more qualified employee with foreign language skills. Another benefit to an AA in Modern Languages is that you can turn your language credits into a minor in that language when you transfer to a senior college, where you can pursue a BA in any field.
  4. Will I be able to make a living with a Modern Languages degree?
    Salaries for those fluent in another language average above the median income. We offer an AA in Modern Languages and as you pursue a BA in any field, your AA in a language offers an additional credential, certifying your skill in another language. The AA also showcases your strong interpersonal communication skills, your cultural competence and your global literacy—all of which will expand your career options and financial success. An example of this might be a B.A. in Business with a minor in French, Spanish, or Italian.
  5. If I speak English, is there any point to to learn another language?
    In this increasingly globalized world, why limit yourself? With skills in more than one language, you will have access to the cultures of hundreds of millions of people around the world. When two people are being considered for a job, one who only speaks English or an equally well-qualified candidate who speaks English and another language–the job candidate with more language skills has an advantage. Lawyers, doctors, dentists, nurses, psychologists, and business people who speak another language always highlight this asset on their profiles and resumes.
  6. Can I take Modern Language courses as an elective?
    In some majors,  students are required to take two consecutive courses in Modern Languages. Native speakers of the language in question and students who have studied a language in high school should take the Language Placement Test to determine what level of course they can select. For literature-level courses, students must either pass level 300 or score at the literature level on the language placement test or have departmental approval.Students in Liberal Arts, Early Childhood Education, Human Services, Business Administration, and Sciences curricula can also take Modern Languages as a general elective course.

Modern Languages Dept.

199 Chambers Street, Room S-601
New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 220-8105

Office Hours:
9 a.m.-5 p.m