Languages, Cultures and Literatures

The mission of the Department of Languages, Cultures and Literatures is the development of students’ communicative and linguistic proficiency, intercultural competence, and skills in critical thinking through the study of languages, literatures, and other forms of cultural production. We are dedicated to excellence in teaching in these areas and producing original scholarly and creative contributions to our disciplines. Our mission speaks directly to the University’s commitment to academic excellence, providing students with an enriching liberal arts education, and preparing them to engage responsibly in diverse local, national, and international realities.

The department offers undergraduate studies in nine different languages with majors in French, Italian Studies, and Spanish and minors in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Courses in Arabic, Chinese, Classical Greek, Japanese, and Latin may be taken through the fourth semester and beyond. In addition, the department’s courses form a part of a number of interdisciplinary programs including Asian Studies, Classical Studies, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Latin American Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Liberal Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. By its very nature, the department contributes significantly to the internationalization of the curriculum and cultural diversity at USD.

Language study is a vital part of a liberal arts education and can be highly beneficial to those pursuing studies and careers in many different fields. At the lower-division level, the language programs are designed to enable students to acquire the basic structures and vocabulary necessary to communicate effectively in the target language in a variety of settings. Likewise students develop a greater awareness of other cultures, develop skills in intercultural communication, and gain direct access to additional bodies of knowledge. Ultimately, through their language studies, students will be better prepared to participate more fully and actively in the global community.

Upper-division courses provide students with a foundation in the cultural history of the languages, peoples, and regions studied within their socio-political and economic contexts. These courses help students to develop skills in critical thinking, literary and cultural analysis, and clear and effective self-expression in both speaking and writing in the target languages. Students enhance their appreciation for and contribution to the level of inclusion and diversity in U.S. and international communities through cultural understanding and linguistic proficiency. Upon completion of the department’s majors, students are well prepared to initiate graduate studies in language, literature, or other disciplines, or to become successful professionals in a number of different areas including international relations, law, health, business, and education, among many others.

The basic language sequence (101-102-201) with the LANG subject code is used to indicate courses in languages not offered by the department. LANG 201 fulfills the Core Curriculum language requirement.


Units: 3 Repeatability: Yes (Repeatable if topic differs)

Study at the lower-division level of a topic in language, literature and culture. This course is taught in English and will not satisfy the Language Core requirement.


Units: 3

An introduction to the history of second language teaching methods, applied linguistics, and the fundamentals of second language teaching. Initial training in the skills needed to be a second language teacher. This course is cross-listed with 315 in the majors and minors in the department (FREN, GERM, ITAL, and SPAN). Students whose language of study is not one of those four may take the course as LANG.

Remaining courses are listed under each individual language.


Michèle Magnin, PhD


Santiago Rubio-Fernaz, PhD


Íñigo Yanguas, PhD


Clara Azevedo, MA

Kimberly A. Eherenman, PhD

Kevin Guerrieri, PhD

Rebecca Ingram, PhD

Loredana Di Martino, PhD

Julia Medina, PhD

Alejandro Meter, PhD

Sylvie Ngilla, PhD

Amanda Petersen, PhD

Martin Repinecz, PhD

María Cecilia Ruiz, PhD

Leonora Simonovis-Brown, PhD

Richard Stroik, PhD

Mei Yang, PhD