Department of Modern Languages & Literatures

About Us

We offer courses in the following:

  • American Sign Language (first-year only)
  • English as a Second Language
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

Languages open the door to a more enriching experience of the world through travel and through work and study abroad. At the same time, the languages we teach are not strictly “foreign” languages in that they have been represented in the region of the present-day United States for generations, even centuries.

The benefits of language study are many. They include a better appreciation of diversity in our own society, in-depth knowledge of national and regional cultures beyond our borders, and an increased general understanding of how language functions and how meaning is constructed. Research has shown that bilingualism enhances cognitive abilities prized by educators and employers alike, such as verbal skills, critical thinking, problem-solving, flexibility, and creativity.

Recipient of the College of Arts, Letters, and Education Team Excellence Award.

Study Abroad

The picturesque town of Passau, complete with Roman walls, is located in the southern state of Bavaria on the border of Austria at the convergence of three rivers: the Danube, the Inn, and the Ils.

Eastern is offering eight credits of intensive German language and culture courses from beginning to advanced level during a four-week study abroad program at the Universitat Passau.

For further information or questions, please contact Jody Stewart-Strobelt at or 509.359.6935.

We are offering a 5-credit Spanish language course during a three-week stay at Colegio Delibes in Salamanca, Spain. The program offers you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance your language proficiency, increase your cultural awareness and gain an international perspective. It is directed by EWU Professors Natalia Ruiz-Rubio and Parker Shaw, along with Colegio Delibes faculty.

Program Features

  • The price is approximately $2,900
  • Program is five credits (one extra if needed for financial aid)
  • Lodging with host families in individual rooms
  • Three meals a day
  • One laundry service per week
  • Four daily lessons
  • Health insurance
  • One-day trip to Aveiro, Portugal
  • One-day trip to Segovia and Ávila.
  • One-day trip to Finca Valverde
  • Free cultural activities in Salamanca
  • Bus transportation from Madrid to Salamanca upon arrival

Registration & Payment Deadlines

  • After consulting with Professor Ruiz-Rubio, register via EagleNET. Registration begins March 6, 2020.
  • Final payment is due June 22, 2020.

Refunds will be only approved by the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures under exceptional circumstances.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Scholarships and financial aid are available for EWU students. Please contact Elena Axton, Study Abroad Advisor at or 509.359.6275.


Plan to attend one of the following orientation sessions:

  • Thursday, Mar. 5 at 3 p.m. in PAT 133C
  • Thursday, Apr. 23 at 3 p.m. in PAT 133C
  • Thursday, May 14 at 3 p.m. in PAT 133C

More Information

For further questions, please contact Prof. Natalia Ruiz Rubio in Patterson Hall 133C at 509.359.7955 or

Passau, Germany
Salamanca, Spain

Study a Language,
Satisfy a Gen Ed

Take second-year language classes (French, German, Japanese, or Spanish) and satisfy the two General Education requirements from Arts & Humanities. It will make you more marketable when applying for future opportunities.

If you are not sure which class to take, talk with an advisor in Patterson Hall 133.

Foreign Language Requirement

  1. The Oral Proficiency Interview is an approximately 30-minute telephone interview with a Certified ACTFL Tester. It costs $159.
    The Oral Proficiency Interview by computer is a test of speaking performance recorded via computer lasting up to 45 minutes. It costs $105 and can only be done at a testing center.
  2. The Writing Proficiency Test is a standardized computer-based writing test. The test takes 80 minutes and costs $105. Candidates can choose a booklet option instead.

Once the rating of your test is completed, you can view the test results and print an Official ACTFL Proficiency Certificate on your LTI account. Test results will automatically be reported by LTI to the Washington DOE.

Eastern requires that all students, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree, complete two years of the same language in high school OR one year of the same language at the college level (103 level or higher). Any of the languages offered in the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures can fulfill this requirement.

Students who have some proficiency in a language not taught at Eastern (e.g. Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Swahili, etc.) can satisfy the requirement by taking the ACTFL oral and writing language proficiency tests through Language Testing International (LTI). Eastern Washington University is one of the testing sites serving the state of Washington.

A testing session is organized for the first Friday of every month (except August). Tests are proctored by faculty in Patterson Hall 216. After registering for your tests with LTI, please contact Natalia Ruiz-Rubio at to let her know about your upcoming tests.


Proficiency Placement Credit

Students who have no prior study or knowledge of a language should begin study with 101, normally fall quarter.

The state of Washington has established equivalency standards for language instruction, under which one year of high school language study equals to one quarter of university study; two years of high school equals two quarters at university; three years high school equal the entire first-year college/university sequence.

The following guidelines show where students should begin university according to their high school language background. Students ought normally to begin at the highest level indicated. This makes them eligible for maximum proficiency placement credit. They may elect to begin at a lower level and/or be advised to do so for reasons of weak background and/or a considerable lapse of time between high school study and university enrollment.

Students with one year of high school language study should place themselves in a 102 section (normally winter quarter). They may also elect to begin with 101 (fall quarter).

Students with two years of high school study should place themselves in a 103 section (normally spring quarter). They may also elect to begin with 102 (winter quarter), but they must have a written waiver from the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures in order to receive credit if they begin with 101.

Students with three years of high school study should place themselves in a 201 section (fall quarter). After completing 201 (and additional course work), they become eligible for proficiency placement credit. They must have a written waiver from the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures in order to receive credit if they begin with 103 or lower.

Students who have prior university credit for language study may not repeat equivalent courses at Eastern for additional credit. They should continue language study in sequence from the point they ended their previous study.

Students who believe that they have attained intermediate or advanced knowledge in a language through previous experience may take the placement test offered by a program or otherwise consult the program faculty before or at the time of initial enrollment in language courses.

We offer proficiency placement credit to students who enter Eastern Washington University with some prior training and knowledge of foreign languages at the first- and/or second-year levels. These guidelines explain the conditions under which students may receive placement credit for previous language study. Proficiency credit is not given automatically.

Yarwood/Robertson/Wellman Modern Languages Scholarship

Application for Fall 2020

To be eligible for the Yarwood Robertson Wellman Modern Languages Scholarship, you must be taking at least one 400 level class in ESL or Spanish in Fall 2020 (or Winter 2021, if no 400-level class in your area is available for you, due to a time conflict or another reason). Spanish BAE students who have completed the language component of their degree but are taking a 400-level class in Education in Fall 2020 may also apply.

  • Preference will be given to candidates having a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher in their program of study.
  • Preference will be given to local candidates, in particular candidates from Cheney High or Medical Lake High

Application Requirements

  • Complete the form below
  • A letter of intent in which you address the following questions:
    • What are your achievements in your program up to this point?
    • What are your goals after you graduate?
    • Have you participated in any campus activity or community service linked to your program?


Your application must be submitted by Friday, May 15, 2020.

Apply Now

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