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World Languages and Cultures at AU

Day of the Dead altar

Coursework at World Languages and Cultures (WLC) at American University taught in the target language provides solid language skills and depth of cultural understanding in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili. Instruction for individuals interested in teaching English to non-English speakers is provided through the TESOL Program (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). WLC offers an online Language Placement Test to help students find appropriate classes, in addition to one-on-one Undergraduate Advising.

Undergraduate Degrees

WLC offers BA degrees in Arabic, French, German, Russian, and Spanish Studies, as well as interdisciplinary majors in Language and Area Studies, and Foreign Language and Communication Media. WLC also offers certificates in translation in French, German, Russian, and Spanish, and minors in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

Graduate Degrees & Certificates

Master's programs offered include an MA in Spanish and Latin American Studies and an MA in TESOL. Please see the Degrees page for more about our graduate translation certificate programs.

What do WLC students do after graduation?

Many areas of business, industry, and government service consider a language background a career must. Recent graduates of the department have been employed in a variety of fields including translation, education, governmental and non-governmental organizations. Here are just a few examples of what recent WLC graduates are doing:


  • Teaching Assistant for the French Ministry of Education and the Cultural Services in the Aix-Marseille Academy in France
  • Instructor, Georgetown University Center of Language Education and Development
  • Teaching abroad in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Peru, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Moldova, Switzerland, and Thailand


  • Department of State
  • National Security Agency

Nongovernmental Organizations

  • Organization of American States
  • International Organization for Migration
  • International Development Bank


  • Translator at CETRA, Inc., translation agency and corporate member of the American Translators Association

Graduate Study

  • Middlebury College
  • University of Bath and Humboldt Universitat in Berlin
  • George Washington University
  • University of Miami: School of Law
  • University of Texas-Austin
  • Universidad de Carlos III in Madrid

Undergraduate Advising

Ryan Cassidy is the WLC Program Advisor. His office is in McCabe Hall 212 (see Campus Maps). Students should see him if they would like to declare a major or minor in WLC or are seeking course equivalencies for study abroad, or need help planning their program of study.

Make Appointment