/ World Languages and Cultures Department

Degree Programs

We offer majors and minors in Chinese, Classical Studies, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

A major or minor in a second or third language pairs well with many other fields of study and is one of the easiest double-majors to earn while at Hope College. Language skills provide our students with opportunities to travel the world and open up the opportunities available after graduating.

View full major and minor information in the catalog 




Many students choose to add a language major or minor to their degree program at Hope.

The most popular major combinations are:

  • Communication
  • Psychology
  • Business/Management
  • Education
  • Biology
  • History
  • Religion

Other common combinations include:

  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Nursing
  • Exercise Science

The overwhelming majority of students studying language at Hope have two majors and sometimes a minor—a few even manage three majors.

Here’s the key to combining your majors for a successful time at Hope:

  • Start your language study early (ideally, the first semester of your career at Hope)
  • Seek advice from a language professor early and know which general education courses to save for your study abroad semester
  • Spend a semester abroad and double up on credits while there

​If you have prior language experience, you’ll be placed according to the number of years of study in high school and the grades you received. Most students are placed in the first or second year of college language. For example, if you’ve taken three years of a language up to your junior year of high school, you may be placed in the second or third semester of that language program. If you’ve had two years of a high school language, you may be placed in the first or second semester depending on the grades you received.

It is easiest to complete a language major if you are placed at a higher level in the second semester or above.

  • Depending on your chosen language, you’ll need a certain number of credits to complete your major (Classics, 32; Japanese, 36; German, 24; French, 28; Spanish, 32)
  • To complete a minor in most languages, 12–16 credits beyond the fourth semester level are required

If you have questions about your placement or what courses to take, please contact Mandy Stephenson in the Department of World Languages & Cultures: (616) 395-7570 or stephensona@hope.edu

If you’ve never studied a foreign language or wish to begin studying a new language, you may enroll in any beginning language course! Choose from Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish.


In all languages, we put a special emphasis on speaking. Throughout the curriculum, students are evaluated on their ability to express themselves orally and in written formal and informal situations. This is done by way of active class discussions, oral presentations, research papers and group work.

To measure our students’ progress over their four years at Hope College, students majoring in a language are assessed on their speaking skills at the end of their fourth semester and again before graduation.

The exam administered is a computerized oral proficiency exam that tests students’ ability to speak in the language studied. It is calibrated to the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, which are the national standard for foreign language learning. Taking this exam gives students a good sense of where they stand in their development in speaking their language of choice.