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“I love learning languages, traveling and learning about other cultures. But what can I do with a degree from the Department of Modern Languages and Classics--other than become a teacher?"

We understand why you’re asking...

  • Because you’re searching for an answer to that question: “So what are you going to do after graduation?”
  • Because a degree a from the Department of Modern Languages and Classics doesn’t directly point towards one clear career pathway unlike other degrees in programs like marketing or architecture.
  • Because choosing a major with a defined career trajectory sounds like a practical choice.

...but a degree from the Department of Modern Languages and Classics is a practical choice!

Yes, you can become a teacher if education is your passion, but a degree in Classics, French, German, Japanese or Spanish prepares you to pursue anything. Because the United States and the world needs more multilingual and culturally competent employees.

No matter how much sectors like the economy, technology, politics or healthcare change, the future belongs to those who can communicate clearly across linguistic and cultural boundaries. The Department of Modern Languages and Classics teaches skills that are transferable to hundreds of jobs and industries.

According to the 2019 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language’s Lead with Languages campaign, 9 out of 10 U.S. employers report a reliance on U.S.-based employees with language skills other than English.

So, if you’re passionate about learning languages and about other cultures, follow your passions and come study with us. And before you graduate, we’ll help you navigate the transition into the professional world.


What You'll learn

Language learning deepens connections to other cultures, boosts memory and critical thinking skills, contributes to national security, allows for greater inclusivity and linguistic justice and representation, creates culturally competent employees and is vital for health care communication.

You’ll learn skills that are transferable to any job!

  • Demonstrating Advanced-level proficiency in interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication (speaking, writing, listening, and reading).
  • Expressing self fully to maintain conversations on familiar topics and new concrete social, academic and work-related topics.
  • Confidently handling situations with unexpected complications.
  • Sharing point of view in discussions.
  • Using cultural knowledge appropriate to the presentational context and increasingly reflective or authentic cultural practices and perspectives.
  • Understanding and use cultural knowledge to conform linguistically and behaviorally in many social and work-related interactions.
  • Show conscious awareness of significant cultural differences and attempt to adjust accordingly.

For more information see The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Performance Descriptors.

  • Producing original research on and in diverse cultures and languages
  • Analyzing literary, linguistic, and cultural products, practices, and perspectives
  • Planning for both short-term and long-term projects
  • Researching and using both primary and secondary sources
  • Interpreting, managing, and presenting information
  • Working with and in diverse languages
  • Working in a flexible, adaptable manner with diverse groups
  • Considering concepts from multiple points of view
  • Managing group projects from conception to completion
  • Cultivating empathy for others (partners, co-workers, customers, subjects) 
  • Holding healthy debate and agreeing to disagree
  • Taking constructive criticism

Alexis Palmer
2016, BA in Japanese; Minors in French and Film & Screen Writing
2020, MA in Political Science
Current job: Security Assistant at the Consulate-General of Japan in New York

Alexis achieved her dream job at the beginning of her professional career. Alexis chose to pursue a BA in Japanese at Ball State University due to the variety of language programs offered and numerous study abroad opportunities. During undergrad, she studied abroad for a semester in Sapporo, Japan. This incredible immersive learning experience, a specialty of Ball State, granted her the opportunity to significantly improve her language ability and intercultural competency. This experience prepared Alexis for acceptance into the JET Program upon graduation in 2016, in which she worked as an Assistant Language Teacher in Tottori Prefecture, Japan for two years. Upon her return to the United States, Alexis felt drawn to pursue an advance degree at Ball State, where she knew she would again receive the quality, individualized guidance of world-class professors. While pursuing her MA degree in Political Science, she worked as a GA in Japanese. Alexis earned her MA degree in 2020 and currently works as a Security Assistant at the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.

Jared Knotts
Jared Knotts
2016, Dual BA in Spanish and German
2018, MA in Public Administration with a focus on Homeland Security
Current job: Senior Immigration Specialist at Sogeti

Jared chose to double major in Spanish and German after serving for two years as a missionary in Rio de Janeiro. He learned Portuguese during his time in Brazil, and although languages had not come easily in high school, this experience abroad made language learning an integral experience that he wanted to pursue at Ball State. Not only was he able to dual major, his German program included an intensive language course where he finished 4 semesters of German classes in only 10 weeks. Ball State's immersive learning also opened the opportunity to study abroad in Regensburg, Germany for 5 months.

After completing his BA, Jared next pursued a master’s program in Public Administration with a focus on Homeland Security at Ball State. He chose this course of study because he loved learning languages, and he wanted a career where he would be able to work with the international community. Jared graduated with his MA in 2018 and now works as the Senior Immigration Specialist at Sogeti. 

A degree in a modern language can help you secure a career in any of the following areas:

  • advertising
  • architecture
  • business
  • communication
  • economics
  • education
  • engineering
  • government service
  • information services
  • journalism
  • law enforcement
  • legal professions
  • marketing
  • media and entertainment
  • medicine and healthcare
  • politics
  • public relations
  • science
  • social services
  • social work
  • technology
  • telecommunications
  • trade
  • translation services
  • travel and tourism


  • Analytical skills improve when students study a foreign language.
  • Business skills plus foreign language skills make an employee more valuable in the marketplace.
  • Creativity is increased with the study of foreign languages.
  • Graduates often cite foreign language courses as some of the most valuable courses in college because of the communication skills developed in the process.
  • International travel is made easier and more pleasant through knowing a foreign language.
  • Skills like problem solving, dealing with abstract concepts, are increased when you study a foreign language.
  • Foreign language study enhances one’s opportunities in government, business, medicine, law, technology, military, industry, marketing, etc.
  • Four out of five new jobs in the US are created as a result of foreign trade.
  • Foreign language study enhances listening skills and memory
  • Foreign language study offers a sense of the past: culturally and linguistically.
  • The study of foreign languages teaches and encourages respect for other peoples: it fosters an understanding of the interrelation of language and human nature.
  • Foreign languages expand one’s view of the world, liberalize one’s experiences, and make one more flexible and tolerant.
  • One is at a distinct advantage in the global market if one is as bilingual as possible.
  • Foreign languages open the door to art, music, dance, fashion, cuisine, film, philosophy, science
  • Foreign language study is simply part of a very basic liberal education: to “educate” is to lead out, to lead out of confinement and narrowness and darkness.

Thinking about Studying Modern Languages and Classics

We offer both majors and minors in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish, as well as classical languages and classical cultures. Or if you’re interested in working in a school, our teaching major will prepare you for licensing."  It should read: We offer both majors and minors in French, German, Japanese, and Spanish, as well as Classical Cultures and minors in Chinese and Arabic Language, Religion & Culture. Or if you’re interested in working in a school, our teaching major will prepare you for licensing.

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