Language and intercultural competence are key elements of our degree programs.
We teach you to view language as a way to connect and facilitate dialogue between different peoples and cultures.
Learning in Language
Students in our education management, environmental policy, policy and development, MPA, trade, and nonproliferation and terrorism studies master’s degree programs are expected to take 8-12 credits of language courses. These courses develop linguistic skills and also integrate specific content and specialized vocabulary based on the students’ fields of study, such as Green Business in China (in Chinese), Sustainable Development in Latin America (in Spanish), Public Health Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa (in French).
In these content-focused courses, the materials are all in language. Lectures, discussions, and assignments are all from current and authentic sources, providing students with relevant and timely opportunities for building professional proficiency. Professors frequently invite experts from around the world to participate in classroom conversations and share their firsthand knowledge.
Upon request at the time of admission, other language study may be arranged to fulfill your degree requirements. Additional language courses offered in the past include Portuguese, Korean, German, Farsi, and Turkish.
Choosing Your Language
Ideally, your language of study is one that aligns with your career goals. We require at least a 200-level proficiency in all skills—reading, writing, speaking and listening—in your target language (except English, which requires a 300-level minimum).
Proficiency is not determined by years of study but by your ability at the time of enrollment. While many of our students come to the Institute proficient in a second language, others build their second language skills prior to enrollment. We will work with you to help you meet the minimum proficiency level in your chosen language of study. This may include one of our summer language programs, for which scholarships may be available.
The main focus of 200-level courses is on building skills through basic regional information and familiarizing students with customs, culture, current events, and issues in the parts of the world where that language is spoken. In these courses, students work on developing communication skills to participate in everyday social interactions with ease and confidence. Recent 200-level language courses:
- Information Technology and Global Issues
- Evolving Societies in Latin America
- Arab Customs and Traditions
Our 300-level courses solidify language skills so that students can engage in more complex discussions in their professional fields and support their ideas with detailed elaboration. Courses focus on topics of development, sustainability, business, and regional challenges. Recent 300-level language courses:
- Challenges in Peace Building: Congo
- Social Entrepreneurship
- Environment and Sustainable Development
- Current Issues in the Japanese Media
In 400-level courses, students polish their language skills by participating fully and effectively in discussions on a variety of topics and in varied registers. Students practice structuring arguments, conducting research using first-hand resources, and preparing professional presentations. Recent 400-level language courses:
- Models and Decision-Making for Positive Change
- Human Security
- U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America
- Comparative and International Education