Skip to main content


World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics

The Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics is home to a wide variety of quality programs and exciting opportunities. With offerings in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish, the department plays a crucial role in providing the basic foreign language component for the bachelor of arts degree in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Both the major and the minor include advanced course work in language, literature, culture and linguistics, as well as innovative capstone experiences in French, German, Russian or Spanish.

Students in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics participate in internationally recognized study abroad programs. They spend a summer, a semester or even a year earning credits and gaining experience in countries like France, Germany, Spain and Mexico. In addition to regular courses and study abroad, students off campus enroll in increasing numbers in the department’s online and distance-learning courses. Small class sizes and an array of student groups, honor societies, and language clubs all contribute to a congenial atmosphere.

Within the degree program, a major can be selected from the following topics: French, German, Spanish, Russian Studies, Italian Studies or Chinese Studies. Students interested in teaching may work in tandem with the College of Education and Human Services to receive a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and a master’s degree in education in only five years.

Career Profile

The wealth of cultures and languages in the department allows it to assist students in broadening their cultural horizons and honing their communication skills. Since the kind of learning this involves is easily transferable to many fields and occupations, majors go on to success in a wide variety of professional endeavors. In today’s increasingly global economy, students of world languages use their skills in communication, critical thinking and cross-cultural understanding in many areas, including teaching, business, government, foreign service, national security, journalism, public relations, law, medicine, computer science, Web design and scientific research.

Sample Course Schedules

Wondering what your typical day might be like? We used students’ real course schedules to create these examples.

Freshman Year

HIST 153 Making of Modern America: 1865 to the Present PHIL 100 Problems of Philosophy LING 101 Introduction to Language RUSS 101 Elementary Russian 1 FRCH 203 Intermediate French 1

Senior Year

SPAN 331 Early Spanish American Literature SPAN 341 Early Literature of Spain COMM 105 Introduction to the Mass Media COMM 308 Nonverbal Communication COMM 306 Human Communication in Organizations and Institutions

English Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. WVU accepts either the TOEFL or the IELTS for this purpose. Learn more about our English language proficiency requirements.

Accreditation Information

WVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Alumni Profiles

Joan Bird

Joan Bird had an extensive career at the CIA after completing her studies and was an influential member of the decision-making and analysis community during the Cold War. She coauthored the book History of CIA Intelligence on the Warsaw Pact and worked as an independent contractor for the agency. “I majored in French and had one year of Russian at WVU,” she said. “Both languages were valuable tools during my career, which is how I believe foreign language students should view their language(s) skills.” In 2011, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences named her a recipient of its Alumni Recognition Award.

Stephanie Khoo

Stephanie Khoo studied abroad in Taiwan and earned degrees in biology and world languages, literatures and linguistics, with an emphasis in Chinese. She wrote a blog about her experience in Taiwan: “The dormitory I am staying in is the International Girls Dormitory. I have three roommates, two Korean, and one from Vietnam. I’m so glad for Lin Laoshi (my Chinese teacher back at WVU) for teaching us Mandarin as well as she did because I don’t have to rely on English to communicate.” She recently won a Critical Language Scholarship.

Interested in talking to someone about WVU?

Contact an Admissions Counselor