GVSU teaches ten languages.

Each of them satisfies the B.A. requirement following three semesters of study.

Competence in a foreign language is indispensable in the world today. Studying a language other than one’s own helps us understand the dynamics of language, our fundamental intellectual tool, and equips us to understand another culture.

The sooner a student acquires this competence, the sooner it will be useful. Hence, it is best to begin work in a foreign language in the first two years. B.A. students postponing the foreign language requirement until junior and senior years risk not graduating on time.

Courses in foreign languages and literatures are taught by the Departments of Classics and Modern Languages and Literatures.

Click on the languages below for more information.

Begin or continue language study right away.

You'll save time and money by retaining and enhancing abilities you already have, graduate on time by completing the credits and courses you need, and be able to complete enough advanced study to qualify for study abroad or for postgraduate study.

Teaching Certification. Language students have the option to seek teaching certification in French, Latin, German, and Spanish.

Foreign language requirement. In addition to basic skills and general education requirements, the B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) degree requires a third-semester proficiency in a foreign language.

Placement tests are available to students with pre-college competence in a foreign language who desire advanced placement or waiver of the foreign language requirement. 

Placing out of the 201 (third semester) level waives the B.A. language requirement. It does not waive the General Education Global Perspectives requirement.

Students who place out of the 202 (fourth semester) may take any three-credit language course and use it to fulfill the Global Perspectives requirement:

  • Email your name, G#, and the course for which you are requesting Global Perspectives credit to gened@gvsu.edu.

Study in classical languages

Courses offered by Classics aim at reading timeless works in their original languages and developing critical and expressive skills.

Greek and Latin are the source of legal, medical and scientific terminology.

Greek is the language of Homer and Sappho, of Aeschylus and Aristophanes, of Herodotus and Thucydides, of Plato and Aristotle, and of the New Testament.

Latin was the language of ancient Rome. Even after the Roman Empire collapsed, Latin continued as the language of literature, science, philosophy, medicine, law, and religion for over a thousand years

Many find that working with the classical languages improves their grasp of English and their skills as readers and writers.

Course instruction is conducted primarily in English. There are no language labs.


GRK/LAT 101 are offered in Fall semester only. It is vital to begin instruction in these languages right away.

Students begin reading unadapted original works in the third semester of study (201). 

Completion of the fourth semester GRK/LAT 20) fulfills the GenEd Global Perspectives requirement.


Study in modern languages

Courses offered by Modern Languages and Literatures aim at developing written and conversational skills and studying literature and culture.

ArabicChinese, and Japanese have become very important languages.

Heritage languages for West Michiganders include German.

Knowledge of a particular language and culture can be a real asset on the job market.

Course instruction is conducted primarily in the language of study.


FRE/SPA/GER 150 are a combination and revision of 101/102 for students wary of being placed in 201 right away.

SPA 203 (one section only) is specially designed for native or heritage speakers who may have learned Spanish at home but not formally been taught spelling or grammar. It satisfies the B.A. language requirement.


Page last modified November 12, 2018