Majors and Certificates

What is it Like to Major in a Language?

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In an undergraduate language major, you can expect to...

  • Develop proficiency in the language of your major, including the ability to use the language appropriately in various contexts
  • Gain an understanding of the societies, histories, and major cultural contributions of the region or regions in which your language in spoken
  • Learn to critically analyze literary and other texts written in the language of your major
  • Develop the ability to see the world and yourself through the lens of another language and culture
  • Build strong communication and analytical skills, including the ability to:
    • Synthesize and think critically about ideas in relation to their particular historical and cultural contexts
    • Formulate questions and develop hypotheses
    • Understand and apply relevant theories to a problem
    • Create and communicate meaningful, coherent arguments based on evidence
    • Apply this knowledge and set of skills in a variety of professional settings after graduation


If you major in a language at UW-Madison, you'll likely...

  • Form a strong community with faculty, instructors, and other students
  • Meet and interact with speakers of the language, both in Madison and around the world
  • Have the opportunity to study abroad in a country in which the language of your major is spoken
  • Network with alumni who work in a wide range of career areas and geographic locations
  • In addition to a language major, you might also consider a certificate with a language component, which may have either a linguistic or area and culture studies focus