The Department of European Languages had its beginnings way back in 1910 when it was first known as the Foreign Languages Section of the College of Philosophy, Science and Letters. This section, which offered four languages (French, German, Latin and Spanish), was established on June 3, 1910 to prepare students for Agriculture, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Law and Fine Arts. In 1922, due to a significant increase in the number of students in Spanish, the Department of Spanish was created. In the year 1930, the department of Modern Languages, to which French and German belonged, was subsequently established. During the Japanese occupation, all students were required to take German. In 1948, Dutch was added as another language the students could opt for and there was also a time when Greek was taught in the Department. In 1958, the two above-mentioned departments fused into one and this department came to be known as the Department of Spanish and other European Languages. In 1960, the name was changed to department of Spanish and Modern Languages. In 1964, the Instituto Español was founded and the Department of European Languages came into existence. It was only in 1976 when European languages were collectively taught in the University under one department—the Department of European Languages, which remains its name to date. It is currently one of the six departments that comprise the present College of Arts and Letters, one of the three colleges established on October 6, 1983 from the three-way split of the former College of Arts and Sciences.
The Department’s initial offering was an AB and an MA (Spanish). In 1976, a new program, the Bachelor of Arts (European Languages) was conceived. The BA EL program attracted more majors into the Department because it gave the students the option to specialize in two European Languages, one as major and the other as a minor. In the present BA EL curriculum, the students may choose from two plans. Plan 1 allows them to major in one European language (French, Italian, German or Spanish) and minor in another (German, Russian, Italian, French, Portuguese or Spanish). Plan 2 allows them to major in one European language (French, Italian, German or Spanish) and minor in another discipline, such as English, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Filipino, Panitikan ng Pilipinas, Speech Communication, Theater Arts, Art Studies, History, Philosophy, Theory in Fine Arts, Reading, Teaching in the Early Grades, Language Teaching, Communication Research, or Tourism.
Now composed of more than forty faculty members most of whom were trained in various institutions in Europe and North America, the Department of European Languages was declared a Center of Excellence in Foreign Languages by the Commission on Higher Education in 2000. Today, the Department continues to grow and to undergo various changes in line with its commitment to excellence in education and to better serve thousands of students in the University who wish to learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Latin and Portuguese. It is the only institution in the country offering a BA degree in European Languages, M.A. degree in Spanish, French and German as well as Ph.D. degree in Hispanic Literature.
| From College of Arts and Letters Website