Certificate FAQs

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What is the certificate? The certificate was developed by the College of Engineering and Applied Science and some of the foreign language departments in the College of Arts & Sciences, is a credential added to your Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. Students can obtain certificates in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. Other languages will be added in the near future. The certificate indicates to a potential employer that you have a basic understanding of a foreign language and culture and the ability to work in an international team.

What are the requirements? The certificate includes courses in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese or Japanese language, language-specific culture or literature courses, writing, and engineering. Your foreign language course placement depends on your proficiency level entering CU. The certificate includes 15-18 credit hours of study in a foreign language and it is less credit hours than a minor (30 credit hours).

Why international? Each of the major U.S. companies employs 500-5,000 people per year outside the U.S. Knowledge of a second language is essential in over 60 occupations. Even if you never leave the U.S. during your career, the odds are that you’ll be interacting with people of many cultures and languages. A lack of cultural understanding is often cited as the most frequent reason for international projects to fail. Training in language and culture should give you the necessary skills to work in our global marketplace.

Why French? French culture, intellectual ideas and way of life have always influenced the United States and Canada. France is second among the top destinations that people in the U.S. want to visit. French is the second most frequently taught and spoken language in 33 countries. More than 1,200 French companies have subsidiaries in the U.S. France always hasbeen recognized for its excellence in engineering.

Why German? Despite being a country of only 83 million people, Germany has the third largest economy of the world. It is one of the U.S. and Colorado’s most important trading partners. The quality of German technology and engineering is respected worldwide, with names such as VW, Porsche, BASF, BMW, and Siemens.

Why Italian? Italian is the fourth language spoken in U.S. homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Italy is one of the six economies in the world and is a leading member of the G7 Group of wealthiest democracies of the world. Over 55 million people visit Italy every year to experience Italian art and culture, cuisine, and the way of life. In addition to tourism, aerospace engineering, transportation, insurance, finance, shipping, and telecommunications are growth areas.

Why Spanish? Spanish is one of the fastest growing languages in the world after Mandarin Chinese and English. In the U.S. alone, there are 29 million residents who speak Spanish. Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for American travelers. Spain as well as Latin and South America is experiencing strong economic growth. Many European companies are located in Mexico because of the NAFTA trade agreement that has reduced tariffs.

What if you don’t know the language? Students who have had no prior language experience in German or Italian, can take beginning courses. For those students interested in obtaining the French and Spanish certificates, you should have intermediate or advanced proficiency upon entering CU.

Won’t this program delay my degree? No, with careful selection of courses, you should be able to complete the certificate without delaying your graduation date. All engineering majors require a certain number of humanities and social science courses, so you can select foreign language or culture classes to meet these requirements.

Can I go abroad to study or work? Yes, certificate students can do study abroad or a co-op. Students who have language proficiency, have a 2.75 or above GPA and have at least completed their second year in engineering are eligible. Currently, students have been placed in Germany and Italian companies. Co-op sites that will become available are Austria, France, Switzerland and Spain. For more information please visit the CU Study Abroad Programs Office.

I like languages and would like to take more classes. Where do I start? Interested and qualified students who would like to expand their foreign language studies to include a minor or major, in any of the languages we offer the certificate in. Please visit the appropriate language department for more information.

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