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Academic Areas

Offering courses in more than 20 languages, literatures and cultures, the School of International Letters and Cultures is organized into five language areas/faculties headed by world-class faculty members.

Classics & Middle Eastern Letters and Cultures

The School of International Letters and Cultures faculty is responsible for teaching the languages of the Middle East and the Classical World. The languages taught include: Modern Arabic, Modern Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew, Latin, Ancient Greek, Turkish, and Persian.

East & Southeast Asian Letters and Cultures

The languages we offer in this program belong to at least four distinct language families—include some of the most widely spoken languages in the world. East and Southeast Asia are among the most populated and culturally rich regions on earth, with over two billion people. Broadly speaking, East and Southeast Asia lie south of Russia, east of the five republics of the former Soviet Union (now Central Asia) and Southern Asia, and north of Australia.

French & Italian Letters and Cultures

For centuries, French and Italian have been pre-eminent languages of literature, philosophy, science, and the arts. French and Italian authors such as Petrarch, Dante, Ariosto, Descartes, Voltaire, Sand, Pirandello and Sartre, to name but a few, have been among the most important writers in the West. Today, both languages have a global reach. French is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with 110 million native speakers and 110 million secondary speakers around the globe. It is the official language of many international organizations. Italian is spoken by 65 million people as a native language and by another 20 million around the world as a secondary language. Italy has the 23rd largest population in the world. Knowledge of French and Italian is therefore important for anyone interested in studying the many fields of humanities, sciences or social sciences, or in pursuing an international career.

German, Romanian & Slavic Letters and Cultures

The faculty in German, Romanian, and Slavic Letters and Cultures engage some of Europe’s most diverse languages from across Central and Eastern Europe: German, Romanian, Russian, Polish, and Serbo-Croatian. Through our course offerings you can begin learning any one (or more!) of these languages, or improve your proficiency in them. You can explore literary works by internationally known authors such as Ionesco, Goethe, Nabokov, Jelinek, Kafka, Müller, Eliade, Tolstoy; enjoy and learn from the innovative filmmaking practices across this culturally rich region; and delve into critical issues surrounding politics, migration, language and cultural identity, ethnic and religious conflict, and memory. Come join us, we’re certain you will be intrigued by what you discover!

Spanish & Portuguese Letters and Cultures

Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and in the United States. It’s a very useful language if you live in the U.S. or if you are planning to live or travel abroad! The Spanish language program in SILC offers two tracks for students to learn Spanish. Today over 270 million people speak Portuguese worldwide. It is the third most-spoken language in the Western Hemisphere, and number one in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a language worth learning!


The School of International Letters and Cultures offers a variety of degrees that approach the study of language and culture in a holistic way. Some of our offerings include a BA in International Letters and Cultures, certificates in European Union Studies, International Cinema, Latin American Studies or Translation. We offer Graduate Certificates in Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Literary Translation Studies. Lastly, our two PhD programs are East Asian Languages and Civilization and International Letters and Cultures.