Foreign Languages and Cultures

Visit Us

Academic Building, HC 221
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825

Department Chair

Claire Marrone, Ph.D.


Contact Us

The Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures is oriented toward developing students’ linguistic abilities as well as providing a broad knowledge of foreign cultures and literatures. Communicative competence and oral proficiency are stressed in language classes, but all skill areas (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) are developed. Multimedia tools (DVDs, CDs, internet sources) are integral to the methodology. The ‌program also provides offerings in literature (including comparative literature and literature in translation), culture and civilization, linguistics, history, and film. Students are trained to think critically about foreign languages and cultures. Courses incorporate textual and linguistic analysis, as well as the examination of the social, cultural, and historical context of the given country or countries.‌


Students can pursue a major in Spanish, minors and certificates in Italian and Spanish, and courses in French. Courses are also offered occasionally in Arabic, ChineseGaelicJapanese and Latin


For students who begin college study at the beginning (IT 101 - 102) or intermediate (IT 151–152) levels, the Italian minor requires the completion of 18 credits. For students who begin college study at the advanced level (IT 201 or above), the minor requires the completion of 12 credits.


The Spanish major requires the completion of 31 credits, beginning with SP 201. SP 201 & 202 are required. The remainder of the program consists of a minimum of: one course in literature; one course in culture, civilization, and contemporary issues; electives; and the senior portfolio. The Spanish minor requires the completion of 18 credits, which may begin either at any level of Spanish. SP 201 & SP 202 are also required.

*Students are encouraged to select two consecutive Foreign Languages and Cultures courses in the same language in partial fulfillment of their Humanities course requirements.

Placement into Language Courses

If you plan to take either Spanish, French, or Italian, and you have any previous experience in the language (junior high school or high school study, study abroad, experience speaking the language with your family), you will need to take a placement exam and provide specific information to the Foreign Languages and Cultures faculty. If you have no prior experience in the language at all, you may register for a first-semester course. The placement exam that we use is web based, so you may take it from any computer with an internet connection. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes. For Freshmen, we advise that you take the exam at least two days before you come to your Freshman Orientation. For upperclassmen, we advise that you take the exam prior to any scheduled appointment with your advisor for course selection. 

Study Abroad Opportunities

Study abroad is encouraged. Sacred Heart University has its own study abroad programs in Spain, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, France and Australia. The University is also affiliated with American‌ institutions that offer study abroad opportunities throughout the world, including locations in Canada and Latin America.‌‌ 

Sophomore Foreign Language students have the opportunity to study abroad during the fall semester at our SHU in Dingle campus in Ireland. Participants experience the culture and history of Ireland while also completing core requirements. For more information, visit the Office of Global Affairs website.

Students also have the opportunity to spend a semester at John Cabot University in Rome, either Freshman year or later.

Career Options/Job Opportunities

Teaching, Graduate School, Government, Foreign Service, Bilingual Programs, Translation, International Business, Peace Corps/Volunteer Work, Research (Languages, Literature, and Linguistics), Journalism, Interpretation, Literary Critic/Writing, History, Travel (agencies, airlines), Public Relations, Scientific Writing, Publishing, Hotel Management, and International Broadcasting.

Latest News

The Perception of Spanish Art in America: A History of Changes

October 20, 2017

Maria Dolores Jimenez Blanco is a distinguished Spanish art historian whose main field of interest is the relationship between art and politics in 20th century Spain. Since 1995, she has been a faculty member in the Department of Art History III (Contemporary) at Complutense University of Madrid. She is currently the New York University King Juan Carlos Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization for fall 2017.

Sacred Heart and Seton Hall Law to Offer 3+3 Bachelor’s and J.D. Program

April 12, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Sacred Heart and Seton Hall University School of Law are partnering on a new 3+3 program that will allow select students to earn a bachelor’s degree at Sacred Heart and a Juris Doctor at Seton Hall Law in six rather than the usual seven years. Students in this program will complete their undergraduate degree (in political science, global studies, history, sociology, English, criminal justice, foreign languages, psychology, chemistry or philosophy/theology/religious studies) in three years (90 credits). The remaining 30 undergraduate credits will be completed during the first year of law school at Seton Hall Law.

SHU Embraces International Education Week

November 17, 2016

Sacred Heart University celebrated International Education Week Nov. 14-18, focusing on the various cultures of students from other countries. International Education Week is a nationwide initiative co-sponsored by the federal Department of Education and Department of State to promote programs that expose students to a diverse global environment. The week is dedicated to celebrating the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.