Courses & Requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2022-2023 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Group Language

Overview

Students interested in the study of more than one foreign language from the perspectives of literature or linguistics may combine two languages or one language and linguistics into a Group Language major.

Requirements

A total of eleven courses is required for the Group Language major: five courses for each half of the major and one course emphasizing methods or theory.

Major

Course requirements for each half of the Group Language major are listed below. For all the languages listed, only two of the five courses may be taken outside the Occidental language departments. Students must receive a grade of B or higher in the 202-level course for both languages to be eligible for the major.

Chinese (5 courses)

CHIN 202 and above (only one of which may be a course taught in English).

French (5 courses)

FREN 202 and four courses numbered 300 and above. FREN 490 is recommended.

German (5 courses)

GERM 202 and above (two of which may be in related areas such as history, art history, politics, language learning/linguistics). Participation in at least one of the GERM 370 seminars is required.

Japanese (5 courses)

JAPN 202 and above (only one of which may be a course taught in English).

Linguistics (5 courses)

LING 301; a second course in linguistics; one semester of a foreign language from one of the following categories: 1) Greek or Latin, 2) Spanish or French, 3) German or Russian, 4) Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese (the course must be in addition to and in a different category from the language used to fulfill the Core language requirement); and two additional courses with a language focus (such as one more foreign language course, another course in linguistics, COGS 330, COMP 331, EDUC 205, or PHIL 344,).

LING 301 must be taken before the senior year.

Russian (5 courses)

RUSN 202 and above (two of which may be in related areas such as history, art history, language learning/linguistics).

Spanish (5 courses)

SPAN 202 or SPAN 211 plus four courses numbered 300 and above. Two of these four courses must be in either literature or linguistics. One must be numbered 340 or above. Only one course may be taken in English.

Methods or Theory Courses:

LING 301Introduction to Linguistics

4 units

SPAN 490Senior Seminar: Genre and Literary Theory

4 units

JAPN 273Popular Culture and Literary Traditions of Tokugawa Japan

4 units

CHIN 273Contemporary Chinese Writers in Exile

4 units

All courses taken outside of the Occidental language departments, including those taken on study abroad programs, must be approved in advance by the appropriate language department. Students combining a language with linguistics must take LING 301 before the senior year.

Honors in the Major

Group Language majors with an overall GPA of 3.25 and a 3.5 GPA for major courses may submit an honors research proposal at the end of the fall semester of the senior year. If the proposal is supported by faculty from both components of the major, the student will enroll in two two-unit Independent Studies in the spring, in which they will develop the comprehensive papers from the fall into two distinguished papers of 20 pages each. Papers for French, German, and Spanish must be written in the target language. The student may instead choose to conduct a comparative study and integrate the two papers into a single paper of 40 pages in English. If one or both of the languages for the major is French, German, or Spanish, the student must also submit a complete version of the paper in one of these languages.

Second-Stage Writing Proficiency

Students majoring in Group Language will satisfy the second-stage writing requirement by submitting a paper in English from a 300-level or seminar course in the fall of the senior year.

Comprehensive Requirement

Students will fulfill the Group Language comprehensive requirement in one of two ways:

(1) A student may choose to submit a 20-page paper on a senior research project on comparative literature or linguistics combining both halves of the major. To prepare for this comparative paper written in English, the student should enroll in two two-unit Independent Studies (with separate faculty advisors for the corresponding halves of the major) in the fall of the senior year. If one or both of the languages for the major is French, German, or Spanish, the student must also submit a complete version of the paper in one of these languages. In the spring semester of the senior year, the student will also give an oral presentation, conducted in both languages of the major, on the comparative paper.

OR

(2) Students choosing not to write a comparative paper may conduct two separate research projects and do the following for each half of the Group Language major:

Chinese

A student will fulfill the Chinese portion of the comprehensives through: (1) a two-unit Independent Study in the fall of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 10-page paper in English on Chinese literature or linguistics which include texts written in Chinese; followed by (2) an oral presentation in Chinese about the research project in the spring semester.

French

A student will fulfill the French portion of the comprehensive EITHER (1) by completing the Major Seminar FREN 490 which includes an oral presentation on a seminar theme; OR (2) by completing a two-unit Independent Study in the fall semester of the senior year, which includes writing a 10-page paper in French on a topic in francophone literature and making an oral presentation in French on the paper's topic.

German

A student will fulfill the German portion of the comprehensive EITHER (1) by enrolling in a GERM 370 seminar during the senior year and writing a separate 10-page-paper on a topic in German Studies (literature, culture, history) and making an oral presentation, in German, on the topic OR (2) by taking a three-hour written examination focusing on two-selected topics in German Studies, followed by an oral examination on the topics, in either the fall or spring semester. The completion of an additional two-unit Independent Study in the fall or spring semester of the senior year, which focuses on background research for the Comps topic, is recommended.

Japanese

A student will fulfill the Japanese portion of the comprehensives through: (1) a two-unit Independent Study in the fall of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 10-page paper in English on Japanese literature or linguistics which include texts written in Japanese; followed by (2) an oral presentation in Japanese about the research project in the spring semester.

Linguistics

A student will fulfill the Linguistics portion of the comprehensives through: (1) a two-unit Independent Study in the fall of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 10-page paper in English on a topic in linguistics; followed by (2) an oral presentation in English about the research project in the spring semester.

Russian 

A student will fulfill the Russian portion of the comprehensives through: (1) a two-unit Independent Study in the fall of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 10-page paper in English on Russian literature or linguistics which include texts written in Russian; followed by (2) an oral presentation in Russian about the research project in the spring semester.

Spanish

A student will fulfill the Spanish portion of the comprehensives EITHER through:

  • the Spanish Senior Seminar in the fall semester of the senior year, followed by an oral presentation in Spanish of the seminar paper in the spring semester; OR
  • a two-unit Independent Study in the fall of the senior year, in which the student will produce a 10-page paper in Spanish on a topic in Hispanic literature or linguistics, followed by an oral presentation in Spanish of the paper in the spring semester.

Advising Information

Depending on the combination of languages, students may also need to register in an Independent Study to complete the Senior Seminar requirement. Students interested in linguistics should take LING 301 no later than their junior year.

Placement Information

Students who have previously studied a language offered at Occidental should take the placement exam for that language as early as possible.

Sample 4-Year Plans

Group Language with Spanish (starting at SPAN 101) and Linguistics


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • SPAN 101

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • SPAN 102

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 2

Year 3

  • 300-level SPAN (Literature)

  • LATN 102

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • 300-level SPAN (Literature)

  • EDUC 205

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)


Year 4

  • 300-level SPAN

  • 300-level SPAN

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Group Language with Japanese (starting at JAPN 202) and French (starting at FREN 101)


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • FREN 101

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

Year 2

Year 3

  • LING 301

  • FREN Elective above 202

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • FREN Elective above 202

  • JAPN 301

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • FREN 490 (Senior Seminar)

  • JAPN 497 (2 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • JAPN Elective above 202

  • FREN Elective above 202

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Curricular Notes

  • For Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Russian, students must take the 202-level course plus four additional courses numbered above 202. 

  • For Chinese, only one course can be taught in English  

  • For Japanese, only one course can be taught in English.

  • For Linguistics, students must take LING 301 and a second linguistics course; one semester of a language that is categorically different from the language with which they satisfied the Core Language requirement; and two additional courses with a language focus. See Catalog for full details.

  • For Spanish, students must take SPAN 202 or SPAN 211 plus four additional courses numbered 300 and above. Two of these courses must be in either literature or linguistics. One course must be numbered 340 or above. Only one course may be taken in English. 

  • For Russian, two of the required courses can be in related areas such as history, art history, language learning/linguistics.

  • Group Language majors must take one methods or theory course in addition to the courses taken for their two group areas: LING 301, SPAN 490, GERM 370, JAPN 273, CHIN 273.

Honors in the Major

Transfer Credit Policies

The Group Language policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. For all the languages listed for the major, only two of the five courses may be taken outside the Occidental language departments. All courses taken outside of the Occidental language departments, including those taken on study abroad programs, must be approved in advance by the appropriate language department. For languages within Group Language in which 201 or 202 are offered, students who earn a score of 4 on an AP Language examination will earn four units of credit and be placed into 201 in that language while those who earn a score of 5 will earn four units of credit and be placed in to 202 in that language. Students are not placed in language courses based on IB or A-level examinations. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Courses

Chinese Courses

French Courses

German Courses

Japanese Courses

Linguistics Courses

Russian Courses

Spanish Courses