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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, 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 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.

Compass Advantage

Compass Advantage is here to help you find your "true north" where your passions intersect with a meaningful career.

Learn more

What our alumni do

Alexis Palmer

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


Jared Knotts

Current job: Senior Immigration Specialist at Sogeti
2016, Dual BA in Spanish and German
2018, MA in Public Administration with a focus on Homeland Security
Not only was Jared able to dual major in Spanish and German, 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 and solidified his desire to work in international affairs.

Brian Jennings

Current job: Research and Public Policy Analysis
1983, BA in German; Minors in Political Science and Natural Resources
1987, MA in Political Science
Carnegie Mellon University, PhD in History and Public Policy
Brian has provided research and public policy analysis for a regional community and economic development nonprofit in Pittsburgh for over 32 years. Studying German literature gave him a keener understanding of other cultures, history and the arts. He says it was world-building and broadened his horizons.

Bryce Davis

Current Job: Commercial Banker Development
Major: International Business
Minors: Spanish and Marketing
I would say my Spanish minor helped me as much if not more than my business major. Most things in my major helped me learn the basics of my current role, but without learning Spanish, I would not be on the track that I am.

Jessica Salas

Current job: Self-employed Graphic Designer of Alas Creative
2007, BA in Journalism Graphics; Minors in Spanish and Travel & Tourism
Jessica is passionate in her graphic designing for businesses, book covers, signs, brochures, plus personalized art and gifts. She offers services in Spanish as well! Jessica is constantly learning new skills to hone her craft and stay on top of the best resources to be the most productive with her workday: a valuable skill she learned at Ball State. Jessica’s advice to students in the Humanities is to network and find opportunities to use your language skills, such as interpret at conferences, help with refugees who are resettling, travel abroad, and propel yourself into your field.  

Mark Goodman

Career Goal: Dentist (in-process)
BA in Spanish Linguistics.
Minors in both Biology and Chemistry.
I am currently in my second year of dental school, which I believe was aided in no small part due to my study abroad in Argentina. There I not only increased my Spanish skills more than I had thought possible, but I shadowed and assisted dentists at a hospital while I was there. Needless to say this was part of my personal statement to get into dental school, which I believe helped me stand out from others.

Travis Hatfield

Current job: Television Editor
2006, Dual BA in German and Telecommunications
Travis’ career for the past 16 years has been in the entertainment field working as a commercial TV editor. He has edited a Feature Film and has been lucky enough to travel the world professionally. He says working with big companies means creating versions of projects for every market. His study of German has prepared him to work on projects in Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin frequently. 

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

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 French, Japanese, and Spanish, as well as Classical Cultures and minors in Chinese, German and Arabic Language, Religion & Culture. Or if you’re interested in working in a school, our teaching major will prepare you for licensing.

See Our Programs