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Languages at UW-Madison

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Languages at UW-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a national and international leader in the study and teaching of languages, literatures, and cultures.

The study of languages, literatures, and cultures is a key component of the Wisconsin Experience, preparing UW-Madison students to become outstanding leaders who are engaged locally, nationally, and globally.


  • Graduates more students with majors in languages other than English than any other university in the United States
  • Was ranked #2 in the United States by the website for innovative college foreign language programs
  • Offers language courses, majors and study abroad opportunities for languages spoken on every continent
  • Provides opportunities for students to use the language they are studying outside of class in residential language communities, at language tables, in student orgs, and more!

During the academic year, UW-Madison students can study over 40 different languages. They can also study linguistics, the scientific study of human languages.

In the summer Madison is an important center for language study in the U.S., with federally-funded intensive summer language institutes that attract students and working professionals from around the country, and intensive courses in many languages. Learn more

Language courses are taught in departments in the College of Letters & Science.

Throughout the year, the Division of Continuing Studies offers non-credit, independent learning, and for-credit courses in languages for conversation, travel, or business.

Extramural support for language programs

In recognition of both the national excellence of our faculty and programs, and the national needs for expertise in languages, UW-Madison receives significant federal funding which allows students to study many so-called “less commonly taught languages.” This federal funding includes grants for National Resource Centers in the Institute for Regional and Area Studies that support area and international studies, the prestigious Russian Flagship Program for undergraduate students to reach a professional level of competence in Russian by graduation, and substantial student scholarships such as the Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship (FLAS) and Project GO scholarships for ROTC students to study critical languages.