Languages and Literatures

    The Department of Languages and Literatures offers programs of study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    In addition to our degree-granting programs, a wide range of minors and undergraduate coursework in Ancient and Modern Greek, Latin, Biblical and Modern Hebrew, Hindi, German, Linguistics, Russian, Arabic, and Classical studies are also available within the department.

    For graduate students in other disciplines, we offer reading courses in French and German. 

    For a full cultural immersion experience, we strongly recommend you take advantage of St. John's extensive Global Education offerings.

    Additional Information

    The English as a Second Language (ESL) program at St. John’s University, housed in the Department of Languages and Literatures, provides non-native English speakers with the language skills necessary to succeed in both academic and professional settings. The comprehensive program includes language evaluation, advisement, instruction, and cultural orientation.

    Undergraduate students in the ESL program receive credit toward their degrees and fulfill their language requirements, while graduate students receive three credits toward full-time visa status.

    For more information about TOEFL/IELTS scores and admission to an undergraduate or graduate program at St. John’s University, please visit the Admission section of our website.

    Program Features

    Outside of the classroom, students work with qualified language tutors at the Global Language and Culture Center (GLCC) and participate in cultural activities sponsored by the GLCC.

    They may also take part in The English Language Table, a program that allows international students to socialize with American students in small groups and learn about American life and culture. In turn, the ESL students share their language and culture with American students.


    Nina Beliavsky, Ph.D.
    ESL Coordinator
    St. John Hall, Room 434F
    718 990-1929
    [email protected]

    Language placement tests are only administered for students intending to major or minor in a language. All other students seeking to fulfill their language requirements will be advised and placed by faculty in the Department of Languages and Literatures. You may not register for a language class for the first time at St John’s without prior placement. If you, bypass this regulation, you will be placed at the proper level by your instructor or the language coordinator on the first day of class, which may result in class schedule conflicts.

    The placement test evaluates your proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing competencies and are administered for the following languages:

    • French
    • Italian
    • Spanish

    If you are interested in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, please contact the Institute for Asian Studies

    You will take the placement test at the Global Language and Culture Center. During the academic year, placement tests are administered on a walk-in basis during regular office hours. Over the summer, appointments are necessary. 

    You must bring photo identification with you for the test, which takes approximately 45 minutes and requires no prior preparation. After you receive the test results, you will schedule a meeting with the coordinator for the language of your choice.

    If you are a Staten Island student, please contact your Dean's office for placement guidelines.

    The Classics and Ancient Studies minors offer students the tools to understand and appreciate the ancient world. These minors study the culture, language, politics, philosophy, and religion of antiquity.

    The Classics minor requires the completion of 18 credits, including six credits of Latin above LAT 1020, six credits of Ancient Greek, and six credits in related courses chosen under departmental advisement. The Ancient Studies minor does not require any knowledge of Latin or Greek, but rather 18 credits of courses dealing with Greek and Roman antiquity selected in consultation with an advisor.

    Courses Offered

    Language Courses
    GRA 1010; 1020 Elementary Ancient Greek
    LAT 1010; 1020 Elementary Latin
    LAT 2030; 2040 Intermediate Latin
    LAT 2050 Selections from Medieval Latin
    LAT 2060 Ecclesiastical Latin
    HBB 1010; 1020 Elementary Biblical Hebrew

    General Courses
    CLS 1210/ENG 3620 Classical Mythology
    CLS 1240 Women in the Ancient World
    CLS 1250/GOV 1250 Western Political Thought I: Classical and Medieval
    CLS 1260 Ancient Greek and Roman Historians
    CLS 1320/LIN 1320 Roots of English Vocabulary
    CLS 1770/ART 1770 Classical Archaeology
    CLS 2001/HIS 2001 Early Ancient Civilizations
    CLS 2002/HIS 2002 Ancient Greek and Roman Civilizations
    CLS 2150/LIN 2150 Introduction to Romance Linguistics
    CLS 2600/GOV 2600 Roman Law and Society
    CLS 3100/PHI 3500 History of Ancient Philosophy
    CLS 3130/ THE 3130 The Bible and Archaeology
    CLS 3200/SPE 3130 Foundations of Rhetorical Theory
    CLS 3500/ENG 3500 Classical Literature
    CLS 3600/ENG 3600 Classical Epic in Translation
    CLS 3610/ENG 3610 Classical Drama in Translation

    Study Abroad
    CLS/ART 1775 Greek Archaeology On-Site
    CLS/ART 1790 Survey of Art and Architecture in Italy
    CLS/ART 1795 The City of Rome

    Robert Forman
    Walter Petrovitz

    This minor will prepare students for the demands of a highly competitive international marketplace by building their global competencies and appreciation of different French-speaking cultures across five continents. Several courses that apply to this minor are offered in English. 

    Completion of a minor in Francophone Studies requires 18 credits chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor. Students will complete six credits of French language instruction at any level, as well as 12 credits from among the following: 

    FRE 3901 Francophone Literature
    FRE 3902 Women Writers in France
    FRE 3920 Human Rights in Francophone Africa
    FRE 3921 History of French Cinema
    FRE 3930 Paris in the French Culture
    FRE 3905 Science and Technology in French Culture and Literature
    FRE 3923 Urban France
    LAC 1000 French Language and Culture

    Sara Hanaburgh
    Michele H. Jones
    Zoe Petropoulou
    Steve Puig

    French is the second most frequently taught foreign language in the world (after English). It is the only language other than English spoken on five continents. Learning French opens up many opportunities for students in fields like international business, education, translation, and the arts.

    Completion of a minor in French requires 15 credits of the following courses chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor.

    Courses Offered
    FRE 3090C Masterpieces of French Literature Part I
    FRE 3100C Masterpieces of French Literature Part II
    FRE 3550; 3560 French Civilization Part I; II
    FRE 3870 Advanced French Grammar and Composition
    FRE 3110, FRE 3120 Advanced French Conversation
    FRE 3150 Review of French Grammar
    FRE 3260 History of French Cinema
    FRE 3280 20th/21st Century French Literature, Film, Media, Culture
    FRE 3300 France within the European Union
    FRE 3600 Life in Contemporary France
    FRE 3630 17th Century French Literature
    FRE 3650 18th Century French Literature
    FRE 3670 19th Century French Literature
    FRE 3690 20th Century French Literature
    FRE 3810 Advanced Commercial French
    FRE 3820 Afro-Caribbean Francophone Literature
    FRE 3870 Advanced French Grammar and Composition
    FRE 4830 French and Francophone Women Writers
    FRE 3900 Art and Skills of Translation
    FRE 4620 Paris in the French Culture
    FRE 4990 Seminar
    FRE 4980 International Internship in France

    Sara Hanaburgh
    Michele H. Jones
    Zoe Petropoulou
    Steve Puig

    Hallo! Willkommen!
    A minor in German, the most spoken language in the European Union, opens doors for students in the fields of science, technology, business, journalism, and the arts. Completion of the minor requires 18 credits of the following course offerings, chosen in consultation with the department chair.

    Courses Offered 
    GER 1010 German, Level I
    GER 1020 German, Level II
    GER 2030 German, Level III
    GER 2040 Intermediate German Conversation
    GER 3090; 3100 Masterpieces of German Literature I and II
    GER 3110; 3120 Advanced German Conversation
    GER 3550; 3560 Civilization of Germany I; II
    GER 3690; 3700 Goethe
    GER 3710 German Romanticism
    GER 3720 German Novel
    GER 3870; 3880 Advanced German Grammar and Composition I; II
    GER 4953 Independent Study

    Zoran Cerar

    Career opportunities abound for professionals with Italian language skills in the fields of international banking, fashion, travel and tourism, politics, journalism, law, commerce, translation, and the arts. The 15-credit minor in Italian allows students to supplement their major field of study with an understanding of the rich language and culture of Italy.

    Courses Offered
    ITA 1000 Intensive Italian I; II
    ITA 2000 Intensive Italian III; IV
    ITA 1010 Italian, Level I
    ITA 1020 Italian, Level II
    ITA 2030 Italian, Level III
    ITA 2040 Intermediate Italian Conversation
    ITA 3080 Italian Contemporary Readings
    ITA 3090; 3100 Masterpieces of Italian Literature
    ITA 3110; 3120 Advanced Italian Conversation
    ITA 3150 Review of Italian Grammar (online)
    ITA 3240 Pirandello’s Theatre
    ITA 3260 Italian Cinema, from Neo-Realism to the Present
    ITA 3500 Italian Culture through the Internet (online)
    ITA 3530 Italian Renaissance Art and Literature
    ITA 3540 Southern Italy: A Cultural Journey
    ITA 3550; 3560 Civilization of Italy
    ITA 3570 Studies in Italian Culture
    ITA 3580 The City of Rome
    ITA 3590 Dante and His Times
    ITA 3600 Contemporary Italy
    ITA 3710 Trends in Italian Opera
    ITA 3720 Italian Culture through its Music:
    ITA 3610 Eros and Medieval Culture in Boccaccio’s Decameron
    ITA 3660 The Italian Novella
    ITA 3620 Italian Renaissance Literature
    ITA 3670 Twentieth Century Italian Literature
    ITA 3680 The Modern Italian Theatre
    ITA 3690 Italian Poetry of the 19th Century
    ITA 3700 Italian Novel of the 19th Century
    ITA 3740 Contemporary Italian Fiction
    ITA 3810 Advanced Italian for Business
    ITA 3820 La Divina Commedia
    ITA 3870 Italian Advanced Grammar and Composition
    ITA 3900 Art and Skills of Translation
    ITA4953 Independent Study
    ITA 4980 Italian International Internship

    Florence Russo
    Annalisa Saccà

    The 18-credit minor in Italian allows students to supplement their major field of study with an understanding of the rich history and culture of Italy.

    Students in the minor must complete one Italian language course, along with 15 credits chosen from among the following: 

    ART 1095 Monuments of the World Architecture
    ART 1250 Italian Sketchbook
    ART 1790 Survey of Art and Architecture
    DNY Rome and New York: Urban Design and Culture
    ENG 2500 Discovery of Italy through British Writers
    HMT 2025 Italian Culture through Food
    ITA 3580 The City of Rome
    ITA 3910 Regional Italy: The Arts, The Culture, The Food
    ITA 3920 Italian Fashion
    ITA 3980 The Culture of Rome through Its Neighborhoods
    ITA 4000 Special Topics in Italian

    You may also apply any online course related to Italian art, history, culture, or economics, chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor. 

    Annalisa Saccà

    The Linguistics minor trains students in the principles of grammatical analysis. It serves as an excellent complement to majors in English, Government and Politics, Philosophy, Theology, and modern languages. Students in the minor must complete 18 credits of the following courses, chosen in consultation with an advisor.

    Courses Offered
    LIN 1010 Introduction to Linguistics
    LIN 1020 Survey of Linguistics
    LAC 1000 Language and Culture
    LIN/ANT/SPE 1155 Language and Intercultural Communication
    LIN/CLS 1320 Roots of English Vocabulary
    LIN 1510 Language and the Law
    LIN/SPE 1710 Phonetics
    LIN/SPE 1720 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech System
    LIN/SPE 1730 Language Acquisition
    LIN 1810 Phonology
    LIN/CLS 2150 Introduction to Romance Linguistics
    LIN/PHI 3400 Introduction to Logic
    LIN/PHI 3420 Informal Logic
    LIN/PHI 3910 Philosophy of Language

    Γειά σας
    The Greek language has been hugely influential in the development of western culture and civilization. Today, Greek is one of the main languages of the European Union. The study of Modern Greek language and culture provides students with the key to understanding the importance of the hellenic tradition in European intellectual development.

    The Modern Greek minor emphasizes the spoken language, with parallel development of reading, writing, and comprehension skills. It requires 18 credits of the following courses, chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor.

    Courses Offered
    GRM 1010 Modern Greek Level I
    GRM 1020 Modern Greek Level II
    GRM 2030 Modern Greek Level III
    GRM 2040 Intermediate Modern Greek, Conversation
    GRM 3090; 3100 Masterpieces of Greek Literature I; II
    GRM 3130; 3140 Modern Greek for Bilingual Use
    GRM 4953 Independent Study

    Athanasia Biska

    Привет – Privet!
    Russian is the sixth most spoken language in the world, and is an important language for such diverse fields as business, journalism, science, technology, mathematics, literature, music, ballet, cinema, and theater. Russian is considered a strategic language by the United States government, which provides scholarships for studying the language and employment for those fluent in the language. 

    The Russian minor requires students to complete 18 credits of the following, chosen under departmental supervision.

    Courses Offered
    RUS 1010 Russian, Level I
    RUS 1020 Russian Level II
    RUS 2030 Russian, Level III
    RUS 2040C Intermediate Russian Conversation
    RUS 3090; 3100 Masterpieces of Russian Literature I and II
    RUS 3110; 3120 Advanced Russian Conversation
    RUS 3230 Dostoevsky  

    Janna Moukhatasova

    Students pursuing a Spanish minor learn writing and speaking skills in the language, as well as important aspects of Spanish civilization (art, literature, history, culture, and politics). This knowledge opens doors for students in the fields of education, business, politics, journalism, translation, and the arts.

    The Spanish minor requires students to complete 15 credits of the following, chosen under departmental supervision.

    Courses Offered
    SPA 1010 Spanish, Level I
    SPA 1020 Spanish, Level II
    SPA 2030 Spanish, Level III
    SPA 2040 Intermediate Spanish Conversation
    SPA 2050 Readings in Modern Spanish
    SPA 3090; 3100 Masterpieces of Hispanic Literature I; II
    SPA 3110; 3120 Advanced Spanish Conversation
    SPA 2150 Spanish for Law-Related Careers
    SPA 2170 Spanish for Medical Personnel
    SPA 2350 Spanish for Bilingual Hispanics
    SPA 2360 Review of Spanish Grammar
    SPA 3450 Spanish Feminism
    SPA 3550 Civilization of Spain
    SPA 3560 Civilization of Spanish America
    SPA 3570 Medieval Spanish Literature
    SPA 3580 Works of Cervantes I
    SPA 3581 Works of Cervantes II
    SPA 3600 Contemporary Spain
    SPA 3610; 3620 Spanish Golden Age Literature I; II
    SPA 3640 19th-Century Spanish Literature
    SPA 3690 Contemporary Spanish America
    SPA 3700 The Spanish-American Novel
    SPA 3710 The Essay in Spanish-American Literature
    SPA 3730 Spanish American Short Story
    SPA 3740 Contemporary Spanish American Poetry
    SPA 3770 Literature of Spain from the Generation of 1898 to the Civil War
    SPA 3780 Spanish Literature After the Civil War
    SPA 3840 Contemporary Hispanic Theater
    SPA 3870 Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition
    SPA 3900 Art and Skills of Translation
    SPA 4770 Spanish Literature of the 19th Century
    SPA 4953 Independent Study

    Alina Camacho-Gingerich
    Marie-Lise Gazarian
    Carmen Klohe
    Eduardo Mitre