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School of Humanities and Global Studies (HGS)

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Mission Statement

HGS aims to create a holistic educational experience that enables students to become literate, intentional and empowered global citizens who are well-versed, not only in specifically recognized fields, but also in interdisciplinary dialogue. Through varied offerings in Anthropology, Africana Studies, American Studies, World Languages, History, International Studies, English and Literary Studies, Political Science, Philosophy and the HGS Contract Major,  the School seeks to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the complex cultural, political, and imaginative dimensions of human existence.

Our teaching, service, and scholarly or creative achievement combine to help our students develop their powers of reasoning, speaking, writing, and creativity, thus equipping them for the challenges of contemporary life. The School’s faculty members are dedicated to teaching and scholarship, have traveled extensively and studied abroad, and have backgrounds in foreign languages, humanities, and social sciences.

  • M Major
  • m Minor
  • C Concentration
  • G Graduate
  • J Joint Degree
  • O Other Programs
  • Reset Filter

Africana Studies

Bachelor of Arts

M m

American Studies

Bachelor of Arts

M m



Civic and Community Leadership


Creative Writing

Bachelor of Arts

m C

East Asian Studies


English / Literature

Bachelor of Arts

M m




Bachelor of Arts

M m

Human Rights and Genocide Studies


International Studies

Bachelor of Arts

M m



Judaic Studies


Latino/a and Latin American Studies


Museum and Exhibition Studies



M m

Political Science

Bachelor of Arts

M m

Public Policy


Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Professionals


Spanish Language Studies

Bachelor of Arts

M m

General Education: Critical Reading and Writing II

“To Read Critically and to Write with Clarity and Precision”

The above statement has guided Ramapo College’s writing and reading mandates since the inception of the college. This broad and sweeping statement of purpose, which was to define our obligation to our students, provided the basis for the Critical Reading & Writing Program. Critical Reading & Writing is housed within the School of Humanities and Global Studies, where it responds to the college-wide mandate stated above. The current Critical Reading & Writing program is one four credit college English experience offered to all first-year students and those transfer students who have not had a similar experience at their previous institution.


By the end of the program (Critical Reading and Writing II), students should demonstrate an ability to work within the following guidelines:

  1. To apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They should draw upon prior experience, interact with other readers and writers, indicate knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, awareness and use of word identification strategies, and show and understanding of textual features (e.g. sentence structure, content, graphics).
  2. To apply an understanding of the need to adjust spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes.
  3. To indicate knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
  4. To conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. To gather, evaluate, and synthesize date from a variety of sources, and to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  5. To use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g. libraries, databases, computer networks, video, blogs, wikis) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  6. To develop an understanding and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.
  7. To participate as knowledgeable reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literary communities.
  8. To use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g. for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Specific skills and strategies learned within the writing program:

  1. Rhetorical Knowledge
    1. Focus on a purpose
    2. Respond to the needs of different audiences
    3. Respond appropriately to different kinds of rhetorical situations
    4. Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation
    5. Adopt appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
    6. Write in several genres
  2. Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing
    1. Use reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating
    2. Understand a writing assignment as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources.
    3. Integrate their own ideas with the ides of others
    4. Understand the relationships among language, knowledge and power
  3. Writing Processes
    1. An awareness that it usually takes multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text
    2. Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proof-reading
    3. Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work
    4. Understand the collaborative and social aspects of the writing processes
    5. Learn to critique their own and others’ work
  4. Knowledge of Conventions
    1. Learn common formats for different kinds of texts
    2. Develop knowledge of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and audience.
    3. Practice and indicate knowledge of appropriate means of documenting their work.
    4. Control surface features in writing such as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Desired outcomes for this program must include an awareness of the responsibility to address the reading and writing needs of all of our students. The outcomes listed above reflect input from three sources: 1) The agreed upon requirements for the Critical Reading & Writing courses; 2) Recommended outcomes and objectives as stated by the NCTE (National Council of the Teachers of English); and 3) Recommended outcomes and objectives as stated by the Council of Writing Program Administrators.

General Education: Studies in Arts & Humanities

An essential part of the General Education Program, the 200 level Studies in Arts & Humanities course addresses the objectives of the General Education Program by providing an opportunity for students to engage with enduring questions and issues in an interdisciplinary fashion, by studying texts and other sources drawn from a range of different times and cultures.

Course Description

Studies in Arts & Humanities is an interdisciplinary liberal arts course.  It provides students with an introduction to key texts, concepts, and artifacts from different fields in the humanities.  (These could include, for instance history, literature, philosophy, music, art history, and others.)  Each section of the course covers a range of different cultures, and at least four different periods in human history, which can range from the ancient world to contemporary works.  The course is designated Writing Intensive, and will require students to complete at least two different types of writing assignments. This is a core General Education course, required for all students.

For a list of section descriptions please visit /siah/

Language Proficiency Requirement and Placement

All students in the School of Humanities and Global Studies, including internal and external transfer students, are required to meet a language proficiency requirement. All undergraduate degree candidates in HGS are required to show proficiency in a language other than English at the “intermediate low level” as described by the .*

Fulfilling the Requirement:

Students who are starting a new language at Ramapo College will have to take 3 semesters of language courses to complete the requirement:

  • Foundations 1
  • Foundations 2
  • Intermediate 1

Students who are continuing to study a language that they studied in high school or acquired at home or some other context should take a placement test to determine which level of course they should take or whether they have already achieved intermediate low level proficiency.

Students who can demonstrate through a test that they have achieved intermediate low-level proficiency will not be required to take any other language courses.

Foundations I classes are meant for true beginners. Native speakers and non-native speakers with training in a language will not be permitted to take Foundations I classes unless they place into that level after taking the STAMP placement test.

Intermediate Low Level proficiency is only a stepping-stone to mastery. Therefore, we encourage students to continue coursework, immersion activities, and study abroad that will help them reach the ultimate goal of linguistic and cultural competency in more than one world language context.

Satisfactory evidence of intermediate low proficiency can be demonstrated in the following ways:

Credit options:

  • Successfully completing at least one world language course, Intermediate I or higher. [Foundations II is the prerequisite for Intermediate I]
  • Completing equivalent coursework in an approved study abroad program.
  • Receiving transfer credit for equivalent coursework.
  • Receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement Test
  • Passing a credit-bearing language test:
    • Taking a CLEP test (available in French, German and Spanish) in the testing center in Laurel Hall. /oec/testing/
    • The (for other languages) can be taken at New York University allowing you to earn up to 12 credits depending on your score. Testing credits are considered transfer credits and students are not permitted to transfer in credits once they earn 96 credits. Therefore, students may not take the CLEP once they earn 70 credits and the same goes for the NYU test once they earn 96. Transfer credits earned through study abroad are an exception to this rule. One may apply to study abroad until graduation and earn credits even for programs happening after the date of graduation. For more information on this, see the off-campus study page: /studentsuccess/off-campus-study-request/

Non-Credit options:

The following options will not provide credits, but will mean you have fulfilled the requirement:

  • Graduating from an International high school as a native speaker of a language other than English
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) graduates
  • Scoring at least a 4.6 or above (Intermediate II) on the STAMP placement test
  • Passing the at the required level
  • The Seal of Biliteracy

Do I Need to Take a World Language Placement Test?

Yes, if.
  • You wish to continue in the same world language that you’ve studied previously.
  • You are a native speaker or the language is spoken in your home.
  • Five or more years have passed since your last world language course.
No, if.
  • You are beginning a world language that you’ve never studied before.
  • You are a student transferring world language courses to Ramapo equivalent to Intermediate I or higher.
  • You fulfill one of the credit options listed above.

The Placement Test

The STAMP test will place you into the appropriate level course: Foundations I, II or Intermediate I, II or higher. The test must be taken at the testing center prior to or during your first semester of enrollment. Please visit the Testing Center website for instructions and practice tests: /oec/testing/ The STAMP tests are available in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, Polish, and Hebrew. We strongly recommend that students take the STAMP test in their first semester in order to determine what level of course they should take to meet the language requirement.

Additional Notes to Language Students

If you wish to pursue a major in Spanish, a major Liberal Studies with a concentration in Italian or a minor in Spanish, Italian or French, you are encouraged to take the most advanced level world language course. Your skills will progress much more rapidly if the level of language in your class is challenging for you. Additionally, advancing optimally will allow you to increase the number of courses you can take outside your major program. This is particularly important for students interested in pursuing world language teaching certification.

* Summary of ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for Speaking and Writing: Intermediate Low speakers can maintain simple face-to-face conversation by asking and responding to simple questions in informal settings dealing with topics related primarily to one’s self and immediate environment. In writing, they create statements and formulate simple questions by recombining familiar structures and vocabulary in order to meet elementary needs. These speakers and writers can be understood, with some repetition or additional effort, by speakers unaccustomed to non-native speakers.


Thank you for looking into the School of Humanities and Global Studies (HGS).
We are dedicated to providing a liberal arts education that begins in the classroom and progresses into experiential and lifelong learning. Our undergraduate programs consist of nine majors:

  • Africana Studies
  • American Studies
  • History
  • International Studies
  • Liberal Studies (contract major)
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Spanish Language Studies

Most of these majors can be taken as minors as well. Additionally, the School offers minors in Anthropology, Creative Writing, East Asian Studies, French, Human Rights and Genocide Studies, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies, Latino/a and Latin American Studies, Museum and Exhibition Studies, Philosophy, Public Policy, and a certificate in Spanish for Healthcare & Human Services. Our majors and minors can be combined for a flexible and individually tailored learning experience.

Our curriculum is designed to enhance students’ skills in critical reading and writing, effective communication, problem solving, and leadership. It is also designed to significantly improve students’ global and cross-cultural understanding and give them the intellectual and practical foundation to become successful in their careers and further studies. Since its creation in the 1970’s thousands of students have graduated from HGS and have pursued careers in:

  • Law
  • Consulting
  • Research
  • Management
  • State, local, and federal governments
  • Leadership in non-governmental organizations
  • Journalism and publishing
  • Community organizing
  • Public interest advocacy
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Teaching in private and public schools
  • Teaching at colleges and universities

Please consult the faculty profiles linked to this page to get a sense of our rich, dedicated, diverse, and productive faculty. We are all ready to help you meet your educational goals. If you have questions or would like to discuss our school’s offerings, please feel free to contact me at or call 201-684-7562.

Best Wishes,

Susan Hangen, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Humanities and Global Studies
Professor of Anthropology and International Studies


School of Humanities and Global Studies Contact Information:

Office: B224
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00-5:15 pm; Friday Closed
Phone: (201) 684-7406
Fax: (201) 684-7973