A student of modern languages and cultures at Albion can major in French, German or Spanish. The Modern Languages and Cultures Department also offers courses in Japanese. A modern language major entails extensive study of the literature and culture of a particular speech community, and it presupposes for all majors a high level of linguistic performance. Similar linguistic capabilities are expected of students who seek a minor. Specific curricula and other requirements are designed to help achieve these goals. The faculty has been chosen based on proven teaching ability, professional reputation, and varied backgrounds and points of view.
Albion's off-campus programs in Argentina, Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Sénégal and Spain offer immersion in French, German or Spanish culture and language. Other international off-campus programs are available to students as well (e.g., Belgium, China, Japan and Russia).
Albion College offers language-learning housing for modern language teaching assistants and language students in French, German, Japanese and Spanish. This residential space serves as a "living laboratory" where Albion College students can practice their conversational skills with fellow students and native speakers. Students pledge to speak the intended language within their living quarters. French, German, Japanese and Spanish students are encouraged (or sometimes required) to attend the Modern Language Tables held once a week at noon.
Students may obtain college credit according to their scores on a standardized Advanced Placement (AP) language examination administered at their high schools. A score of 3 merits one-half unit, a 4 merits one unit and a 5 merits one and one-half units of credit at Albion College. A maximum of one unit may be applied toward a major or minor in French, German or Spanish.
Before Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) and during the first week of fall semester, the department administers an online placement test for students with prior study of French, German or Spanish. Any student with two or more years of high school modern language course work must take the placement test before enrolling in language courses at Albion. This test does not give college credit; its purpose is to place such students at the appropriate level.