Certificates of Specialization

Spring 2021 graduates must meet with the FCCWL Director no later than February 26, 2021. 
Eligibility requirements may be adjusted in response to pandemic-related restrictions.

A Certificate of Specialization may be issued by FCCWL to any graduating senior who has made study of a language through FCCWL a significant part of their academic career. These certificates provide evidence of language learning accomplishments for resumes, applications, and portfolios. Certificates are issued directly by FCCWL and will not be noted on a student’s academic transcript. 


Students interested in a Certificate of Specialization should schedule an advising appointment with the Director of the Five College Center for World Languages about the requirements and process of application. Email fclang@fivecolleges.edu or call 413-542-5264 to schedule.

Eligibility requirements

1. Language study

  • Study of a FCCWL language for at least 6 levels over at least 4 semesters, including at least 1 semester during the student’s senior year
  • Each course completed with a grade of B or better
  • Up to 2 semesters of language study abroad or summers of intensive language study may be counted with approval of the Director of FCCWL

2. Related coursework

  • Completion of two academic courses or special projects that provide context for study of the language, approved by the Director of FCCWL 
  • Sample courses:
    • Courses related to a region of the world or a population in which the language is extensively used
    • Courses related to diaspora, immigrant, or other cultural settings in which the language is used
    • Courses in international studies, global studies, or international relations
    • Courses in linguistics, theories of language, or social-scientific approaches to the study of language and communication
    • Courses in translation studies
    • Courses related to language and cultural education, second language learning, or Teaching of English as a Second Language
    • Courses in another language that is spoken in the same context as the FCCWL language or is closely related linguistically
  • Sample special projects:
    • A major paper or project from an upper-level course for which the student was able to focus on a country where the language is used or a population that uses the language, or use primary sources in the language
    • An internship or significant volunteer work in a setting where the language is used
    • Research fieldwork in a setting where the language is used
    • A creative writing, translation, or artistic project that makes significant use of the language

Certificate Levels

For most languages, certificates will be issued at two levels of accomplishment:

  • Certificate of Specialization: Intermediate Level for completion through level VI or VII
  • Certificate of Specialization: Advanced Level for completion through level VIII


Students of Cantonese for Mandarin Speakers, students of Arabic dialects, and students who began studying ASL after fall 2020 are not eligible for Certificates of Specialization.