UNC Charlotte’s German Studies and Japanese Studies are number two and four, respectively, in the nation when it comes to awarding undergraduate degrees.
The Chronicle of Higher Education published the rankings earlier this year, based upon an analysis of U.S. Department of Education data for the 2016-17 academic year. The report considered public and private institutions that confer bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages, literatures and linguistics, including first and second majors.
“We have paid close attention to what our students need to be successful in an increasingly global world, and our focus has paid off in more students enrolling and graduating from our programs,” said Ann Gonzalez, chair of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies. “We have shaped our curriculum and our students’ experiences to be responsive to the changing world in which our students will live and work. We also work as a tight-knit team to meet our students’ needs and also the needs of our partners, such as employers.”
Overall, the report listed UNC Charlotte’s programs in the top 3.5 percent, or 32 out of 926 institutions that were ranked, for undergraduate degrees awarded. The German major is in the top 1 percent of the 260 programs that were ranked among German language programs, while the Japanese major is in the top 5 percent of the 85 programs considered. UNC Charlotte also offers a Spanish undergraduate major, which ranked 21st of 771 considered, and a French undergraduate major, which was 93rd of 465 considered.
Statewide, UNC Charlotte’s German, Japanese and Spanish majors rank first among North Carolina institutions that were included, and French ranks fourth.
Logan Lampkins ’17 lauded the Japanese Studies program.
“In high school, I researched and found that UNC Charlotte was one of only a few schools in the state with a Japanese Studies major, which I selected as my major and never looked back,” said Lampkins who also majored in international studies.
While at UNC Charlotte, Lampkins had a goal of passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at a level of N2, to enhance his career aspirations. N1 is the highest level possible, reflecting a near-native level of proficiency.
“UNC Charlotte offers a large selection of study abroad opportunities, which allowed me to study abroad for an entire academic year,” Lampkins said. “The immersion in Japanese culture allowed me to develop my language skills, and I was able to pass N2 even before my study abroad experience ended. I achieved this much quicker than I expected, and I decided to aim for the highest level. Shortly after graduation, I moved to Japan, challenged the N1 and passed. With this accomplishment, I have now achieved the highest level of Japanese proficiency, and it is because of the excellent professors and academic resources I had access to while attending UNC Charlotte.”
Mason Reynolds, a senior computer science and German double major, said, “What really made me love it was how proactive the faculty were, and how much they cared about the students and accommodated them. What appealed to me was really everything—it was the study abroad and how willing faculty were to help students who wanted to study abroad, and how enthusiastic they were, not just about their jobs but also the success of their students.”
Reynolds, who has an internship lined up this semester in Germany, said, “I want to use the technical skills I get from computer science as well as the cultural and social skills I am gaining from studying German and combine them to work in Germany. I’ll take those combined skills overseas and work internationally.”
The UNC Charlotte Department of Languages and Culture Studies offers undergraduate minors in Chinese, Classical Studies, Francophone Studies, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. It offers its Honors Program across the languages and has two early entry programs: Languages and Culture Studies: Translating, Graduate Certificate; and the Spanish master’s degree, early entry. The department offers undergraduate certificates in Business Languages, German for Engineering, Hispanic Literary Studies and Translating.