Faculty of Languages and Linguistics

“Society must require of its educational system that it guide and assist the members of the next generation to transcend the particularities of their own culture in the name of humanity.”

-Jaroslav Pelikan
The Idea of the University: A Reexamination

Georgetown University’s long tradition of fostering international understanding is particularly embodied in the teaching and learning of other languages and cultures offered by the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (FLL) of Georgetown College.

The FLL’s intercultural curriculum is designed to educate students in a well-developed program of studies, to evaluate ideas and values from a humanistic and a theoretical/critical perspective. Along with the in-depth study of the culture and literature of other lands and times, language studies are integrated with the various fields of linguistics. Thus, understanding language in all its forms, styles, and uses ultimately leads to successful cross-cultural communication and more authentic relationships among peoples. The aim is to produce graduates who are sensitive to the needs of the world community, open to exploring new ways to improve life, and ready to approach problems with an intercultural perspective.

Today’s corporate world places high priority on developing and utilizing an internationally sophisticated executive work force. Joint ventures with companies abroad are everyday practice. To respond to these professional needs, language and linguistics majors may pursue business coursework (the functional equivalent of a business major) or a business minor.

The FLL offers a full academic program in foreign languages, culture and literature studies, as well as in linguistics. Students may major in Arabic, Chinese, Classical Greek, Global and Comparative Literature, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or Linguistics. In addition, coursework is available in Basque, Catalan, Farsi, Irish, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Korean, Persian, Polish, Ukrainian, Thai, and Turkish. Language and linguistics majors may double-major with any of the other majors offered in Georgetown College. Those who desire to attend medical school may also pursue the pre-medical curriculum in addition to the major. Certificate programs, such as in regional studies including Asian, African, Arab, European, Latin American or Russian & East European Area Studies are open to FLL students. Some of the FLL departments offer Senior Seminars and a Senior Honors Thesis option.

The Global and Comparative Literature program focuses on literature as a universal phenomenon with diverse forms and manifestations. The program emphasizes the study of broad currents of thought, style, or major literary schools across national boundaries.

Consistent with Georgetown University’s traditions and its overall multicultural and international commitment, the FLL considers an overseas experience to be a very -valuable component of the curriculum. An overseas study experience is required for some language majors (see department listings). Although intensive overseas study experiences while in high school may fulfill the requirement, students are encouraged to participate in an overseas experience while at Georgetown.

In addition to intensive summer programs organized by FLL department, students may spend a semester or a year abroad. Usually, this will occur during the junior year but where appropriate for the academic plan, students may opt to go during their sophomore year. At overseas study sites where cognate languages are spoken, students matriculate directly into the host university system. Because of their exceptional level of language competency, language and linguistics majors are highly successful participants in overseas study programs.

Students who enter Georgetown College with a declared major in a language or linguistics have their language abilities evaluated either by their SAT II test scores or by a departmental placement test to ensure that they begin their language study at the appropriate level.