Department of World Languages and Anthropology student and staff photo montage

Department of Anthropology and World Languages

Explore the richness of human cultures.

The Department of Anthropology & World Languages offers engaging programs that examine contemporary and historical cultural diversity. Develop the skills for global citizenship as you appreciate the depth and breadth of the human experience.

- The World Languages and Cultures program offers a variety of majors and minors in language, language education, and area studies that prepare you for a wide range of career settings, including government, international business, education, law, human services, and NGOs. Coursework in language, literature, culture, and linguistics ensure our graduates have the language proficiency and cultural competencies to live and work in a global context.

- The Anthropology/Archaeology program emphasizes the study of human diversity in the past and present. Gain a strong foundation in the four main subfields of anthropology (sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology) as you consider what it means to be human. Acquire the critical thinking, communication, data management, excavation, and intercultural skills that are valued by graduate programs, and public- and private-sector employers.

The Department of Anthropology and World Languages fosters intellectual curiosity through hands-on experiences, small classes, community engagement, and close faculty mentoring, while maintaining unwavering support for our diverse student body and the equitable treatment of people worldwide.

Program Requirements

All World Languages majors must maintain an overall 2.5 GPA and at least a 2.75 GPA in World Language major courses. Spanish Education majors must also meet all the requirements of the Education program. All majors and minors, as well as those students seeking teaching certification, are expected to maintain a portfolio, which will be important for assessment at Sophomore Review, before a student is permitted to student teach, and prior to graduation. An outline of requirements for the portfolio, which includes written and oral work, can be obtained from the student's language adviser or from the department chair.

Learning Outcomes

Spanish/Spanish Education
  • Speak and understand Spanish at the Intermediate High level or above as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • Read and write in Spanish at the Intermediate High level or better as detailed in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  • Demonstrate cultural proficiency in cultures that use Spanish.
  • Discuss in both spoken and written Spanish, literary and visual texts or cultural artifacts of the target culture.
  • Conduct and produce research in Spanish.
  • Demonstrate understanding of second-language acquisition and the history of foreign-language pedagogy (education majors only).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply understanding in practice teaching situations and to analyze and critique the teaching of others (education majors only).
Russian Studies
  • Demonstrate knowledge and accurate application of grammar concepts in Russian.
  • Demonstrate competence in listening and speaking in conversational settings.
  • Demonstrate ability to read and comprehend literary texts in Russian.
  • Write descriptive, narrative, expository and argumentative essays in Russian.
  • Identify major historical figures, architectural styles, paintings and moments in Russian cultural history.
  • Identify major literary figures, trends and works from Russian literature.
  • Analyze Russian literary texts in translation for content, structure and style.

    Students who minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies will read, write, and communicate orally in Modern Standard Arabic, allowing them to interact with native speakers and perform effectively in a daily environment. The interdisciplinary coursework includes classes in Arabic language and culture, religious studies, history, and political science. Students benefit from the one-on-one support, as well as conversational and cultural enrichment from our Fulbright Teaching Assistants in Arabic.

    Arabic and Islamic Studies requires seven courses in language, culture, and religious studies.

    Selected Courses: 

    ARAB 101 Intro to Arabic I
    ARAB102 Intro to Arabic II
    ARAB 203 Intermediate Arabic I
    ARAB 204 Intermediate Arabic II
    ARAB 125 Arabic and Islamic Cultures
    RLST 208 Islam
    POLI 245 Comparative Politics: Middle East

    Acquire expertise in one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and the third most common language in the U.S. while developing an understanding of this rich and diverse culture. A minor in Chinese or Asian Studies will prepare you to work in and with Sinophone areas of the world or for graduate study in East Asia-related fields. Graduates may work in government service, NGOs, cyber security, international business, or education. 

    The Chinese minor requires five language and two culture courses. The Asian Studies minor requires four language and three culture courses.

    Selected courses:  

    CHNS 101 Intro to Mandarin I
    CHNS 102 Intro to Mandarin II
    CHNS 203 Intermediate Mandarin I
    CHNS 204 Intermediate Mandarin 
    ASIA 125 Asian Cultures
    ASIA 127 China/India: Two Giants in Asia
    ASIA 135 Food, Thought, and Art
    RLST 207 Buddhism
    POLI 241 Comparative Politics: Asia

    Mercyhurst students who are interested in pursuing a minor in language may choose to minor in French or Spanish. These minor programs offer students courses in language, literature, and culture in the student's respective field of study. 

    Spanish and French minors take eight courses unless they begin at the intermediate level, in which case they take seven courses in language, culture, literature, and phonetics.

    Mercyhurst students who are interested in pursuing a minor in language may choose to minor in Russian studies. This minor program offers students courses in Russian language, literature, history, and culture.

    Students minoring in Russian studies must take eight core courses and two upper-level Russian language courses. Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA in the minor.

    Whether you’re planning to work in school districts in the U.S. or travel and work overseas, the ability to effectively teach students the English language will open employment opportunities across the board. Students in the Teaching English-Language Learners minor will learn not only the methods for teaching English as an additional language but also the language acquisition theories, socio-cultural influences, and program development strategies that make for more culturally sensitive and effective instructors (and leaders) of English language education. The minor includes six core courses, one elective, and more than 60 hours of practicum experience working with trained education professionals in pre-K-12 and adult education.

Engage With Our Diverse World

1 /  
  • Fulbright Scholars Program

    Mercyhurst participates in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program for Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin. Each year, this program brings young professionals to the U.S. to share their linguistic and cultural expertise by teaching courses, offering conversation groups, and enriching our students' understanding of their area of study.

    three fulbright scholars students pose with a professor
  • Study Abroad

    Mercyhurst World Language students apply their global competencies and language skills first-hand through study abroad. Our students have traveled throughout South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East as they make meaningful, lasting connections and experience the unique music, food, sights, and cultural traditions in their countries of study.

    a group of students and professors pose in France with a Mercyhurst flag
  • Phi Sigma Iota

    Phi Sigma Iota is an international honor society for the study of foreign languages and cultures, and is one of the highest honors one can achieve in the field. Language majors and minors are nominated in their junior or senior year based on their GPA, a faculty recommendation, and completion of a 300-level language course (or equivalent).

    Student holding up a Phi Sigma Iota International Foreign Language Honor Society certification