Why study languages and cultures?

We live in a global world, one in which effective communication in more than one language provides a distinct advantage with respect to career and further educational opportunities, particularly for those interested in international business, governmental employment, or graduate studies in the humanities. As well, research has shown that studying another language enhances problem-solving abilities and improves cognitive skills. In other words, learning languages and civilizations opens the world and expands the mind! The study of Classical civilizations and languages is at the core of the concept of western culture and society, so a grounding in Classical history, art, literature, and philosophy is of great utility for students who seek to better understand the roots of the west in the modern world.

Here are our programs and fields:

  • Ancient Studies: concentration, minor and major
  • Chinese: concentration
  • French: concentration, certificate of proficiency, minor, major, honours
  • German: certificate, minor
  • Japanese: concentration
  • Spanish: concentration, minor, major, and minor in Latin American Studies

Our Department also has a long history of preparing French majors for French language instruction and a large number of our graduates have gone on to teach French at schools throughout Canada. Similarly, many Commerce, International Development Studies, History, and Political Science majors have enrolled in our courses over the years to receive essential training in languages to enhance their chances of employment or acceptance to graduate studies programs.

The Department also offers many Study Abroad opportunities around the world, including in Angers, Mexico City, Kassel, Freiburg, Giessen, Italy, and at many universities in Japan and China. These programs and field schools present students with an invaluable opportunity to engage intensively in language acquisition while living among native speakers, to experience international cultures first-hand, and to engage in hands-on, living learning.

The Department’s faculty members have expertise in the study of Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Hispanic culture and pedagogy, as well as the study of Classical art, archaeology, and social history. Current faculty research includes dystopian literature, French nouveau roman, popular Quebec literature, travel literature, Roman archaeology, French pedagogy, linguistics, and Greek art. In addition, members of our faculty have received research funding from SSHRC and the Atlantic Metropolis Centre. Many faculty members also pride themselves on their pedagogical ability and several have won or been nominated for important teaching awards here at Saint Mary’s and at other post-secondary institutions, including the Father William A. Stewart S.J. Medal for Teaching, the SMUSA Teaching Award, and the STLHE - 3M Teaching Fellowship Program.

Contact us

Faculty of Arts
Department of Languages & Cultures
MN 414