Two hands in motion performing American Sign Language

American Sign Language

The American Sign Language program offers a four-semester sequence of language courses from introductory to advanced levels as well as courses in the history, literature, and culture of the deaf community in the U.S. Students also study the representations of deaf people in literature, film, and the media and can complement coursework by participating in weekly conversation hours, peer tutoring, and attending ASL events, such as programming Deaf Awareness Week. These activities allow them to grow their skills, increase their competency and build community.

Closeup of a globe focusing on the countries of China, Japan, and the far east.

Asian and Slavic

The Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures comprises five programs: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and South Asian. The Chinese, Japanese, and Russian programs offer both a major and a minor; Korean offers a minor. Students complement their studies by participating in weekly conversation hours, working with dedicated peer tutors, and actively engaging in a wide array of cultural events including, Spring and Mid-Autumn Festival Celebrations, Bunkasai, Maslenitsa, and Seollal. These types of activities allow students them to grow their language skills, develop their intercultural competencies, and build community.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France

French and Italian

The Department of French and Italian is a research-oriented unit made up of multidisciplinary faculty who specialize in the languages and cultures of France, the Francophone world, Italy, and parts of the Middle East and Africa. We provide our students with an understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of these countries and facilitate development of proficiency in the French, Italian, Arabic, and Swahili languages while fostering critical appreciation of their literatures and cultures. The department serves, at all levels, to promote awareness of the diversity of languages and cultures worldwide and to teach linguistic and cultural skills that are critical to become responsible and effective citizens of the twenty-first century world.

The Speicherstadt Channel in Hamburg, Germany.


The German Department offers its students an interdisciplinary education in order to prepare them to embrace diversity and rewarding opportunities in a constantly changing world. The Department is committed to quality in teaching and research. We provide students with proficiency and confidence in the German language beginning with elementary and intermediate language courses and extending through advanced courses in linguistics, literature, and culture. Our courses help students to develop critical thinking and professional skills to compete in a variety of competitive job markets. We support graduate education and promote and facilitate study abroad and the internationalization of education. Our department fosters an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

International Studies students laughing together on a campus bench.

International Studies

The International Studies Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to international issues and global connections with a BA and minor.  The International Studies Program’s mission is to provide students with multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills that they can use to effectively and ethically engage with people different than themselves, and navigate the challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world. Engaged faculty members help students tailor the major to their unique interests and goals in order to develop global perspectives and skills required for life and careers in the 21st century. International studies students also are encouraged to develop real-world intercultural skills by studying abroad, engaging locally with international communities, completing internships, participating in service learning, and conducting research.

Multicolored houses along a street in South America

Latin American Studies

The Latin American Studies Program at the University of Iowa is a unique interdisciplinary, international program of study for undergraduate students. Established in 1978, the program fosters cross-disciplinary teaching and research on Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Latin American studies faculty and students use a variety of disciplinary perspectives which include anthropology, art, history, political science, Spanish and Portuguese, and communication studies. The program also sponsors lectures, film series, exhibitions, conferences and round table discussions, works to expand research and teaching in Latin American studies, and brings Latin American studies scholars to campus in order to foster institutional linkages.

Closeup of an old typewriter


The Department offers programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics. The core of the programs is in phonology, syntax, and language acquisition. The B.A. and M.A. degrees provide a broad education in linguistics, which serves as a base for further study in linguistics or related disciplines. The B.A. and M.A. programs with an emphasis on Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) prepares students to teach nonnative speakers of English, either in the United States or abroad. The Ph.D. degree is primarily a research degree with a basis in phonology, syntax, and language acquisition. Students may work with faculty who specialize in Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages, and will have opportunities to develop expertise in the cognitive science of language and experimental and quantitative approaches to linguistic analysis.

A fountain in Spain

Spanish and Portuguese

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is a research-oriented unit made up of diverse and multidisciplinary faculty who specialize in language, literary and cultural studies, creative writing, linguistics, and Spanish for the professions. We provide students with diverse cultural perspectives, critical thinking skills, and awareness of contemporary and historical issues to prepare them to be multilingual global citizens. At the graduate level, the Department offers three degrees: MFA in Spanish Creative Writing, MA in Spanish, and PhD in Spanish. Our thorough TA pedagogical training increases graduate students’ teaching effectiveness and enhances their professional preparation. Our multiple areas of excellence enable us to prepare PhD students for the current academic job market in which they often must teach courses in all areas of Spanish studies while also conducting research in their specialization. They also enable us to serve the needs of undergraduates who often choose Spanish and Portuguese as a second major or as a minor to complement their primary area of study.

A stack of old texts leaning against one another


The Masters of Art in Literary Translation comprises combines creative practice, international literature in-the-making, with training in world languages, literatures and theory. In a given year, it is not unusual for our student cohort to translate from six or more source languages into English. Our focus is on creating works that convey both the distinctness of the original and the immediacy of contemporary language. In the Workshop and a variety of translation-based seminars, we reflect on ideas of literariness, cultural history, cultural politics, and authority as we consider the relationship between authors and texts, authors and translators, translations and readers, and the media landscapes in which they circulate. Students work with faculty in languages taught in the Division, and they also have the opportunity to collaborate on projects with visiting writers from around the world, and with colleagues in a variety of genres and disciplines through our close relationship with the International Writing Program.

Entry wall of the Center for Language and Culture Learning, showing the word Welcome in various languages.

Center for Language and Culture Learning (CLCL)

The Center for Language and Culture Learning (CLCL) supports the University of Iowa faculty, graduate assistants, and students in the teaching, learning, and promotion of language and culture in the Division and beyond. We maintain an ITC lab of twenty-four computers, where students can work independently; six small group rooms, four equipped with One Button Studio (OBS) technology, an ASL practice lab, and a living room area with comfortable seating and tables. Aside from the ITC lab, we manage a VR studio, a testing center, and a Computer Aided Language Learning (CALL) lab for faculty and students to use. The CLCL supports peer tutoring in our less commonly taught languages in the Division; we also oversee the Directed Independent Language Study (DiLS) program through which independent learners are connected to resources and tutors to learn languages not taught in the Division.

Ancient text being read

Foreign Language Acquisition Research and Education (FLARE)

Second language acquisition (SLA) is a multidisciplinary field whose goal is to understand the processes that underlie non-native language learning. The doctoral program in second language acquisition draws from varied academic disciplines, among them linguistics, psychology, psycholinguistics, sociology, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and education.
The SLA doctoral program emphasizes theory, research, and classroom-based teaching and learning. All students take courses in SLA theory, multimedia, research methods, language learning and linguistics. In addition, each student defines an area of specialization, in consultation with a SLA advisor. The two broad areas of specialization are language learning and postsecondary education, and linguistics and psycholinguistics.