Being able to communicate in a foreign language is a fundamental asset in any profession, from careers in education, translating and interpreting, to those in international studies, health, business or law. The knowledge of a foreign language is also useful for traveling and research in many parts of the world. The School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts offers four foreign languages for UC Merced students: Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish.
All lower-division courses in Chinese, French, Japanese and Spanish are content-based, learner-oriented and follow the communicative learning approach. In addition to helping students develop skills to communicate in the target language, these courses attempt to promote a cultural awareness of the countries and communities where the languages are spoken.
The Spanish-language program at UC Merced offers courses at the lower- and upper-division level plus a minor in Spanish. Lower-division course offerings include introductory and intermediate courses and courses for Spanish heritage speakers who would like to improve their oral, writing and reading skills. At the upper-division level, the Spanish program offers a wide variety of courses that provide students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the language and of Hispanic cultures, as well as to learn the vocabulary and expressions commonly used in specific professions. Consult the Minors section of the catalog for information on the minor in Spanish.
To ensure appropriate placement in our foreign language courses, students with previous academic instruction in the language that they would like to study are encouraged to take the placement exam for that language.
Spanish heritage speakers who wish to improve their oral, writing and reading skills should not take the Spanish placement exam, but register in SPAN 010-SPAN 011. Students should have fulfilled the requirements (SPAN 004 or SPAN 011) or equivalent to register in upper-division Spanish courses.
For information about placement exams please go to the Orientation website or speak to a UC Merced academic advisor. You can also contact the Foreign Languages Program coordinator with questions related to the placement exam or any other foreign language issues.
See the SSHA Advising website for more information on foreign language placement.
Foreign Language Learning Outcomes
After completing two years (Intermediate level II) of the foreign language of their choice, students will be able to identify and analyze cultural traits and concepts relevant to the country and communities where the target language is spoken. In addition, they will have developed intermediate writing, reading, listening and oral proficiency in that foreign language, which means students will:
- Possess listening skills equivalent at least to the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL Proficiency. Guidelines: Ability to understand main ideas and some facts from interactive exchanges and aural texts.
- Possess speaking skills equivalent at least to the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL Proficiency. Guidelines: Ability to handle successfully a variety of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations.
- Possess reading skills equivalent at least to the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL Proficiency. Guidelines: Ability to read consistently with increased understanding simple, connected texts dealing with a variety of basic and social needs.
- Possess writing skills equivalent at least to the intermediate-mid level of the ACTFL Proficiency. Guidelines: Able to meet a number of practical writing needs. They can write short, simple communications, compositions, descriptions and requests for information in loosely connected texts that are based on personal preferences, daily routines, common events, and other topics related to personal experiences and immediate surroundings.
- Demonstrate in their oral presentations, compositions, and other class assignments a reasonable knowledge of the ways of thinking, behavioral practices, and the cultural products of the country and communities where the target language is spoken.
Students that complete foreign language courses at the upper-division level will be able to identify and analyze cultural traits and concepts relevant to the country and communities where the target language is spoken. In addition, they will develop skills in critical thinking and advanced writing, reading, listening and oral proficiency in the target language.
Last Updated: June 2016