The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics
- Approach to the Teaching of Language, Culture, Literature, and Linguistics
- FLL Departments and Programs
- Senior Honors Thesis
- International Business, Language, and Culture (Joint Degree)
- Career Opportunities and Professional Development
- The Language Learning Technology Center
1. Approach to the Teaching of Language, Culture, Literature, and Linguistics
Now more than ever, it is essential that all of us learn to see the world through the eyes of another. The study of language, literature and culture other than our own enables us to understand the world better, identify commonalities, and respect cultural differences. Jaroslav Pelikan, the eminent scholar/writer, eloquently expresses this concept in The Idea of the University: A Reexamination: “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.” He is reminding us that the changes in recent decades in countries around the globe, and the accompanying new developments in technology, contribute to a new world view. 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, the FLL has collaborated with the McDonough School of Business to develop and offer a joint degree program in International Business, Language, and Culture. All students in the College also have the option to pursue a business studies minor.
The FLL offers a full academic program in languages, culture and literature studies, as well as in linguistics. Students may major in Arabic, Chinese, Classics with a concentration in Greek or Latin, French, German, Global and Comparative Literature, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or Linguistics. In addition, coursework is available in Catalan, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Hindi Persian, Polish, Turkish, Swahili and Ukrainian. Language and linguistics majors may double-major with any of the other majors offered in Georgetown College. 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 highly 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 a departmental placement test to ensure that they begin their language study at the appropriate level.
2. FLL Degree Programs
- Classics, with concentrations in:
- Global and Comparative Literature
- Spanish & Portuguese Studies
- Greek (Modern)
- Russian Literature and Culture (in Translation)
The Department of Slavic Languages also offers instruction in Polish and Ukrainian.
3. Senior Honors Thesis
A selected number of seniors who have achieved a minimum 3.5 GPA both in the major and overall will be invited by their major department to write a Senior Honors Thesis in the context of a designated upper-level course (350 and above), the senior seminar, or, in very special cases, a tutorial. The thesis consists of a 30–35 page research paper. If written in the context of a course, the thesis satisfies the paper requirement for that course.
Students selected to participate in a Senior Honors Thesis program should seriously consider the invitation, particularly those students considering graduate studies. The program offers students the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor, to engage in critical analysis and scholarly research, and to produce a major research paper.
Students should explore topics of interest and initiate research as early as possible. In April of senior year, students will present the thesis in a public forum.
Upon successful completion of the thesis, “Senior Honors Thesis” or “Senior Honors Thesis with Distinction” is recorded on the transcript.
- During the summer before senior year, the department chairs in the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics will contact eligible students.
- Invited students should make an appointment with the department chair to discuss research interests, suitable courses, and potential mentors.
- During Add/Drop in the fall, each student will choose a course and faculty mentor (the instructor of the course). Students are encouraged to write the thesis in conjunction with a fall course in order to have two semesters to complete the thesis. If this is not possible, students may select a spring semester course, but are urged to begin research in the fall.
- Working with their mentors, students should submit copies of the Senior Honors Thesis proposal and bibliography to the department chair by October 1 if the thesis is written in conjunction with a fall course or by November 1 for a spring course.
4. International Business, Language, and Culture
Students interested in the serious study of language and culture and their intersections with business, may wish to pursue the IBLC, a joint degree offered by the College and MSB. This program has a distinctive and important FLL stamp; students in the program choose a language of focus, which will then be listed alongside the IBLC degree as their concentration (BS-IBLC with a concentration in Spanish and Portuguese, for example). Curricular information and further details about the IBLC degree are available on the International Business, Language, and Culture Bulletin page, here.
5. Career Opportunities and Professional Development
Language and linguistics majors pursue many and varied careers in areas such as business, investment banking, law, international affairs, communications, the arts, education, and medicine. The Business Coursework concentration, Business minor, and language-specific business courses prepare students for the corporate world.
In order to complement academic work with practical experience, the FLL maintains a network of internship sponsors. Many organizations in Washington participate in internship programs, allowing students to learn about certain fields before seeking employment. Previous internship sites include the Embassies of France, Argentina, Canada, Germany, and Italy, the Organization of American States, CNN, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. In some instances, internships have led to full-time permanent positions.
An increasing number of students accept positions in various areas of private industry every year. Graduates are now working in Education, Finance, Government, Law, Management, Consulting, Marketing, Medicine (including Doctors without Borders), Public Relations and Publishing.
Various branches of the federal government need linguists, both at home and abroad. Some positions involve translation and/or data analysis for the protection of our national security. Others may require some knowledge of politics or economics along with language ability. In addition, government agencies, private industry, and many universities are pursuing linguistic research in areas such as psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, communications engineering, speech pathology, and child language acquisition.
Finally, many FLL graduates have also achieved rewarding careers in academia and the art world. Students have pursued doctoral education at a host of top-tier institutions, including Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, and Princeton University.
6. The Language Learning Technology Center
As a branch of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), the Language Learning Technology (LLT) Center is committed to serving and supporting the study and instruction of languages at Georgetown University. It offers faculty, staff and students a wide range of services, materials, equipment, and support in using technology to enhance language research, teaching, and learning.
The LLT Center consists of the following rooms:
- Language Lab (ICC 224) The lab houses an extensive collection of audio, video and learning materials for all levels of the languages taught at Georgetown University. Students and faculty use this facility on a walk-in basis for independent language study.
- Technology Classroom (ICC 227) This technology-enhanced classroom is equipped with innovative audio-visual and on-line technologies to promote a more efficient, authentic, interactive and dynamic student-centered learning environment. Faculty and graduate students use this room for teaching and/or research purposes.
- Development Space (ICC 226) In this facility instructors can use the available computer equipment and multimedia software to digitize, edit, and convert video and audio, scan images and text, create digital/audio recordings, participate in real-time video conferences, and set up on-line research environments.
A language technology fee is added to each language course requiring materials and services from the Language Learning Technology Center.