Foreign Languages & International Studies

We're glad you are interested in foreign languages and international study at Harding. Whether you are a student, parent, or other interested party, we look forward to working with you to advance the study of languages and cultures and to further the work that God is doing around the world.

Department Highlights

Every one of our faculty members has been involved in overseas mission work in some capacity. God is currently using us to reach people all over the world through summer campaigns in French-speaking Europe and in South America, as well as through the faculty and students who edit, translate or teach for various ministries. We also encourage students to participate in outreach here in the Searcy area, where opportunities abound for interaction with native speakers of other languages.

The Foreign Language Teacher Education Program at Harding University has been awarded nationally recognized status from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE). This program is among only 114 other schools in the nation to receive this recognition, placing the Foreign Language Department in the top 5% of foreign language departments of colleges and universities across the United States. It is also the only department among institutions associated with Churches of Christ with this distinction.

Chartered in February, 2013, the Harding chapter CHI NU #265 of PHI SIGMA IOTA, International Foreign Language Honor Society recognizes outstanding junior and senior Departmental Majors and Minors. Phi Sigma Iota is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages. The Honor Society recognizes outstanding ability and achievement in the study of, or teaching of, any of the academic fields related to foreign language, literature, and culture.

Our Mission

The mission of the Department of Foreign Languages and International Studies is to prepare students for life and work in the modern world where communication with people of other cultures and languages is becoming increasingly important. As a Christian university affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Harding University places a special emphasis on language training in preparation for missions and world-wide evangelism. Harding also prepares French and Spanish majors for careers in teaching languages in public and private schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

What mission and travel opportunities are available to language students?

The department provides the following opportunities for foreign language study abroad as well as local experience in Spanish:

The Harding University in Latin America program (HULA) in cooperation with International Programs offers a semester of Spanish in Chile, South America.

The French program Face a Face provides an opportunity for upper level French students to be immersed in the culture and language of French-speaking Europe while earning class credits. 

The French Work/Study Tour is a summer program combining seven weeks of evangelistic campaigns with French language and culture study in the French-speaking countries of Europe. (This program is not offered every summer; consult the department.)

The Latin American Work/Study Tour is a summer program combining four to five weeks of evangelistic campaigns with language and culture study in Venezuela or another Latin American country.

Other international experiences include periodic Spring Break campaigns or cultural tours to Central or South America or Spain.

How do I get involved in local opportunities to use my language?

Harding students studying Spanish can take advantage of contacts with a significant Hispanic population at the University and in the local community. Contact with native speakers is especially valuable for those preparing themselves for mission work in Spanish-speaking countries: students may attend a Spanish-language Church of Christ, attend Wednesday evening Spanish-language devotionals on campus, converse with native speakers at programmed dining hours, and engage in several English as a Second Language mission outreaches to local Hispanic workers, one in Searcy and others within a 50-mile radius. There is an "immersion" Spanish-speaking unit in the residence halls where upper level students may become immersed in the target language, and medical students may be involved as translators and receptionists in local health clinics. In addition, Harding has some 60 Walton scholars from Mexico and Central America, as well as Hispanic students here on athletic scholarships, providing students with many opportunities for contact with native speakers of Spanish.

In what level of foreign language should I enroll?

Placement of students with foreign language background varies according to the level of language proficiency. Normally, students with three years or more of high school study are encouraged to enroll at the intermediate level (FREN or SPAN 201 fall, 202 spring). Students with exceptional foreign language skills may be approved by the department chairman for enrollment in advanced courses.

Can I wait until a spring semester or until I am an upper classman to start my foreign language classes?

We strongly encourage students with previous exposure to a language to continue their study of that same language as soon as possible in order to avoid language loss. Additionally, language study during the freshman year leaves open the option to add a language major or minor later - an option that is becoming increasingly popular among students as more and more employers are looking for bilingual employees. Language study should begin in the fall semester. Due to the levels of each language that are offered at Harding, there are very few opportunities to begin language study in the spring.

What is validation credit?

Validation credit for previous language study may be obtained upon written request as follows: Students with three or more years of high school foreign language study, upon completion of the Harding University intermediate course of the same language with a grade of A or B in both semesters, first time enrolled, may receive 8 hours of credit for the elementary course.  Students with exceptional two-year programs may be approved by the department chairman for inclusion in this offer.

Can I get transfer credit for courses taken at another university?

The Foreign Language program at Harding complies with nationally recognized guidelines for content of course offerings at the 100 and 200 levels.  Due to the wide variety of language programs across the nation, prior to the granting of equivalency for Harding courses, transfer credit for 100 and 200 level courses must be verified by the successful completion of the next level skills course with a C or better or by a Harding equivalency test covering the subject matter.  Students with inadequate skills may be asked to repeat coursework in order to achieve adequate proficiency levels in order to continue in the program.  It is to be understood that in a continuing program a certain basic knowledge is essential to performance at advanced levels.  Students are encouraged to counsel with the department chair prior to enrolling for concurrent credit.

What classes do I need if I want to add French or Spanish as a second teaching field?

Students certifying to teach French or Spanish can either seek a full major with licensure (FREC or SPAN; 32 hours required) or add the language as a second teaching field. To add a second teaching field, 27 hours of the language must be completed (whereas a minor requires 18 hours), including the following:

  • 6 hours in functional language skills
  • 6 hours in culture, civilization, and literature (at least 3 being in culture and civilization)
  • 12 hours of electives

At least 9 of the 27 hours must be upper-level. SEED 419, a course in Methodology, must also be taken.

Should I take the CLEP Examinations?

Harding University grants credit from CLEP foreign language examinations, depending on the score, and also grants AP credit in foreign languages. Students who are eligible for validation credit (see above) may not need to sit for CLEP or AP exams. Therefore, all students are advised to check with the department before registering for CLEP exams. Consult Harding University's current catalog for more detail, or if you have further questions, call the Registrar's office at 501-279-4057.

Contact Us

FAX: 501-279-4191