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The School of International Letters and Cultures

The study of other languages and cultures has always been one of the most rewarding of human activities—one that is replete with intrinsic interest, practical value and insights into one’s own culture and behavior. But in today’s increasingly global environment, intercultural and interdisciplinary communication and knowledge have unprecedented value.

ASU's establishment of the School of International Letters and Cultures anticipated an important report from the Modern Language Association calling for “a broader and more coherent curriculum in which language, culture and literature are taught as a continuous whole, supported by alliances with other departments and expressed through interdisciplinary courses.”

The school is organized into five language areas/faculties

  • Classics & Middle Eastern Letters and Cultures
  • East & Southeast Asian Letters and Cultures
  • French & Italian Letters and Cultures
  • German, Romanian & Slavic Letters and Cultures
  • Spanish & Portuguese Letters and Cultures

Students in the School of International Letters and Cultures are provided with a variety of educational experiences that prepare them for life and citizenship in the modern world. In addition to attending courses taught by world-class faculty in both ancient and modern languages and cultures, students are exposed to a wide variety of world languages and cultures via study abroad programs, full-year or semester long language and cultural immersion programs, on campus international guest speakers, international student organizations, opportunities for intensive study through language flagship programs, and mentorship by international faculty.

The school transforms the study of language, literature and cultures in the following ways:

Enhanced quality of language instruction

Composed of world-class faculty the school's Linguistics and Language Committee emphasizes the development and delivery of high-quality language instruction. Using techniques and methods grounded in up-to-date linguistic research, the program provides training opportunities for faculty and teaching assistants who teach language courses, oversees development of new applied masters programs for working professionals, and manages the language- and linguistics-related graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates.

Rich variety of interdisciplinary educational experiences for students

Students learn the skills and knowledge they need to be informed, articulate and engaged in today’s global society. Their options include the study of more than 20 languages as well as opportunities to experience language and culture firsthand through studying abroad, on campus cultural sharing activities, and opportunities to live in the ASU Global Village residential community. All undergraduate language majors take three common courses: introduction to linguistics, introduction to literary and cultural theory, and a capstone course in linguistic, literary or cultural studies.

Cross-disciplinary cooperation among faculty

In addition to offering a strong education in specific languages and cultures, the School of International Letters and Cultures employs a transdisciplinary approach that aims for a unity of knowledge beyond the boundaries of the participating disciplines. The school actively engages with faculty from a range of other schools, departments and programs at ASU who do research in languages and cultures other than English. These include art history, global studies, history, philosophy, religious studies, anthropology and others. Such transdisciplinary collaborations foster integrative methods of performing research, relating knowledge and understanding phenomena.