College language programs are becoming more extensive all over the US. While most liberal arts schools will offer at least a few popular languages, some colleges invest heavily in expanding their language program, reasoning that language skills will prove invaluable to their graduates.
ULS has compiled 10 of the best college language programs out there, in no particular order. Take a look and see if you agree with our choices for the top college language programs.
1. Middlebury College
If you search online for “college language program,” Middlebury College is bound to pop up. This small but highly revered liberal arts college in Vermont offers a fantastic language program. They take language learning seriously — students who enroll in their summer foreign language program must pledge to only speak in its foreign language.
2. Dartmouth College
Dartmouth’s college language program is famous for its patented Rassias Method. Their approach was developed in 1964 by Dartmouth professor John Rassias, with the original intent being for Peace Corps training. Today, the method can only be used if given legal permission by John Rassias and the Rassias Foundation.
3. University of California — Los Angeles
UCLA’s language program is impressive due to sheer mass — they offer 80 languages in total: 40 modern and 40 ancient. However, not all of these languages are offered every semester.
4. University of Wisconsin — Madison
The University of Wisconsin is another school which undeniably has a great language program. This university emphasizes the study abroad portion of language learning: U of W students can choose from 100 destinations within 6 continents when deciding where to study abroad.
5. Syracuse University
Syracuse University is also known for having an excellent study abroad program to supplement their language program. The college has centers in Beijing, Florence, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Santiago and Strasbourg, and 40 more World Partner programs to choose from. Regardless of their major, all students studying abroad (except in London) are required to take at least one foreign language class.
6. Stanford University
Stanford has a particularly interesting language department which specializes in less common languages. If you’re looking to study something outside of your regular FIGS (French, Italian, German, Spanish), you may want to look at Stanford’s course catalog. Diverse foreign languages include Basque, Hawaiian and Swahili.
7. Georgetown University
Georgetown’s location in Washington, D.C. is particularly beneficial to its language program. With such close access to international communities and institutions, it’s an excellent choice for students looking to combine their language skills with a foreign relations major.
8. Cornell University
Cornell also offers demanding language programs, specifically in Asian languages. Their FALCON program is widely regarded as being highly challenging. Students study Chinese or Japanese nine hours per day, five days per week. Most agree that the coursework is brutal, but effective.
9. University of Oxford
The last two universities on this list are found outside the US. University of Oxford is of course a stellar learning institution, and unsurprisingly it has a first-rate language program. In 2008, Oxford was ranked top in the UK for its German and French programs.
10. University of Peking
If you are looking to study Chinese, the ultimate place to go would be the University of Peking. Even Cornell’s FALCON program cannot match living in China for the entirety of your college career.
The University of Peking is acclaimed for having a fantastic Chinese study abroad program for international students. If you decide to attend an international school, make sure you get a proper transcript translation.
Of course, there are plenty of other schools with amazing language programs. Let us know in the comments below if you think another school belongs on this list of great college language programs!