Go Global with Arts & Letters

Arts & Letters has everything you need to prepare for success — no matter where you chart your course.

College is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the world, learn more about it, and build skills and experiences that can send you anywhere after graduation. 

No matter which languages and cultures you choose to study during your time at Notre Dame, by coming to South Bend, you’re unlocking a world of possibilities.

  • 15+ different languages to study
  • Dozens of study abroad locations around the world — including at Notre Dame’s six Global Gateways
  • More than 70% of Arts & Letters study abroad
  • Language and culture classes that sharpen your critical thinking, writing, speaking, and collaboration skills.
  • Majors, minors, and special programs that broaden your understanding of the world.
  • Grants that fund your international research or internship.

Language Programs

  • Course Highlights

    • The Arabian Nights and World Literature
    • Modern Arab Thought
    • Miracles in Arabic Literature and Islamic Theology: Sorcerers, Poets, and Saints

    Arabic

    Arabic is a difficult but high-demand language that can be an asset in a wide array of careers. Our language courses, taught by native speakers, cultivate the ability to write clearly, listen precisely, speak with fluency, and read critically.

    While language is at the Arabic program’s core, a variety of electives complement language acquisition and expose both majors and non-majors to the richness and diversity of Middle Eastern culture and Islamic intellectual history and thought. A full selection of courses in Arabic literature, history, civilization, culture, and religion provide a balanced and integrated approach to the field.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Politics & Performance
    • Chinese Literature and Gardens
    • Chinese Economy since 1800
    • Chinese Religious World Today 

    Chinese

    More people speak Chinese than any other language in the world. This major prepares students for incredible life and career experiences, including in business, humanities, social sciences, communications, and technology. It also pairs well with other fields of study at Notre Dame. 

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Writing with Media in French, 2015-2019
    • Refugees and Migrants: Rethinking Europe's Borders
    • Literature and Opera
    • Fantasmes et fantastique

    French

    The program of French and Francophone Studies provides an entrée into research and scholarship on language, culture, politics, economics, migration, gender, public health, and faith. The official working language of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the International Olympic Committee is spoken by 275 million people worldwide and is a gateway to the international community.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
    • Germany and the Environment
    • European Fairy Tale Tradition

    German

    Our classes are discussion-based and draw on interdisciplinary approaches that integrate history, politics, language, literature, art, and culture to provide you with a full understanding of the German-speaking world. Our courses give you the intercultural competence that is necessary to succeed in a study abroad program, internship, or job in the region.

    A German major or minor is very easy to combine with other disciplines, such as political science, history, English, economics, business, science, journalism, mathematics, music, and engineering.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Reading and Writing in Greek Prose
    • The Greek Novel
    • Greek Paleography

    Greek

    The minor in Greek is designed to guarantee a solid grounding in the philological and literary study of Greek texts of the classical and Hellenistic periods.

    Programs Offered

    • Minor
  • Course Highlights

    • Ireland on Screen
    • Flann O'Brien's Ireland
    • When Irish Eyes Are Smiling: The Irish Comic Tradition

    Irish Language and Literature

    Students learn Irish (Gaelic) — the indigenous language of Ireland and the voice of the oldest vernacular literature in Europe — from world-class faculty. Explore Irish literature and folklore originating in, or shaped by, its native language across more than 1,500 years to the present. This knowledge will enhance your ability to study abroad in Ireland.

    Programs Offered

    • Minor
  • Course Highlights

    • The Hero’s Journey: Adventure Narrative in Italian Literature and Cinema
    • Fascism and Resistance; Passage to Italy

    Italian

    Enjoy Verdi’s operas in Italian; watch Fellini and Gomorra without subtitles; consult for an Italian engineering company; do scientific research at CERN; work with refugees at the forefront of humanitarian action; sift through manuscripts in the Vatican archives. Italian Studies is an area of exceptional strength at Notre Dame and has its own Global Gateway facility in Rome.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Banned Books in Japan
    • Green Japan
    • The Samurai: Classical Japanese Literature
    • Japanese Apocalypse Literature

    Japanese

    Japanese is an exceptional option for students seeking to expand their cultural horizons and explore exciting career opportunities in a wide array of fields. Support is also provided for students who want intensive summer language study abroad opportunities and international research and internships.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    Exploring Korean History/Culture

    Korean

    The Korean minor is a great fit for students seeking options in a variety of fields — from medicine, to the arts, to social and political sciences. Students have opportunities to experience Korean culture on campus and study abroad in Seoul, South Korea.

    Programs Offered

    • Minor
  • Course Highlights

    • Roman Comedy
    • Age of Nero
    • Cicero's Speeches
    • Roman Literature and Roman Tyranny

    Latin

    The Latin minor is designed to guarantee a solid grounding in the philosophical and literary study of Latin texts of the classical period, or, for those who prefer, of Christian Latin literature.

    Programs Offered

    • Minor
  • Course Highlights

    • Brazilian Pop Culture
    • Brazil Beyond Stereotypes
    • Race and Social Inequality in Brazil
    • Brazilian Literature

    Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

    Learn the language in interactive, dynamic, and communicative classes. This interdisciplinary minor opens doors to explore topics in diplomacy, history, business, international relations, and social sciences. There are also numerous opportunities to serve and study abroad.

    Programs Offered

    • Minor
  • Course Highlights

    • Expression of France
    • Dante I and Dante II
    • Fascism in Spain

    Romance Languages and Literatures

    Expand your understanding of the world, effectively communicate with others, pursue a career with a global perspective, and flourish in an increasingly global society. This major is designed for students who want competency in two languages (French, Italian, or Spanish) and is applicable to numerous careers, including in international law and business, communications, education, fine arts, tourism, and diplomacy.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • Russian Short Stories
    • From Rasputin to Putin
    • Behind the Iron Curtain

    Russian

    The Russian program at Notre Dame features small class sizes, close relationships with faculty, opportunities to do research and write a senior thesis, multiple avenues to study abroad in a Russian-speaking country, cultural events in the South Bend and Chicago areas, and much more!

    Our classes are discussion-based and draw on interdisciplinary approaches that integrate history, politics, language, literature, art, and culture to provide you with a full understanding of this complex region. They will give you the theoretical and analytical tools necessary to think critically and independently about Russia’s place in the world, as well as the intercultural competence to succeed in a study abroad program, internship, or job in the region.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Minor
    • Supplementary Major
  • Course Highlights

    • From Text to Table
    • Spanish for the Medical Profession
    • Modern Latin-American Literature and Culture

    Spanish

    In addition to gaining proficiency in Spanish, students develop invaluable skills in critical and creative thinking. Majoring in Spanish opens the door to possibilities and unique experiences, including opportunities to travel, study, and work in a Spanish-speaking country or community.

    Programs Offered

    • Major
    • Supplementary Major

Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

Accelerate your language skills and cultural competencies through programs and services offered by the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures.

Whether you’re a graduate or undergraduate student, the Center offers opportunities for you enhance your classroom learning (peer tutoring, language tables, cultural events, and more), grants that fund eight weeks of study in another country (Summer Language Abroad), a program that shows the world you’ve engaged in cross-cultural learning (Globally Engaged Citizens program), and curricular programs that expand your understanding of the art and science of language.

Mariko Jurcsak

"Your time as an undergraduate is the perfect opportunity to study language, because in college, you’re creating a new identity for yourself. Language is so much intertwined with who we are, so by learning a new language, you are relearning yourself and how you think, and that shift is really crucial into actually creating a global perspective. It’s a vulnerable process, because no one is good at a language at first, but that discomfort creates a valuable opportunity for learning."

— Mariko Jurcsak
Greek and Roman Civilization and Japanese major
Erin Hayes 1

Erin Hayes ’18, political science and Arabic major

Refugee status determination legal advisor, St. Andrew’s Refugee Services
Digital and communication specialist, Education for Employment
Cairo, Egypt

"Studying Arabic gave me the confidence I needed to move to Cairo and delve into a world full of opportunities here. I use the language daily, whether greeting legal aid clients in Arabic, reading social media posts, or simply buying fruit from my favorite produce stall. People in Egypt are eager to let visitors practice language, and I am grateful that I arrived with a foundation with which to learn colloquial Egyptian Arabic."

  • Erin Hayes ’18, political science and Arabic major

    Refugee status determination legal advisor, St. Andrew’s Refugee Services
    Digital and communication specialist, Education for Employment
    Cairo, Egypt

    "Studying Arabic gave me the confidence I needed to move to Cairo and delve into a world full of opportunities here. I use the language daily, whether greeting legal aid clients in Arabic, reading social media posts, or simply buying fruit from my favorite produce stall. People in Egypt are eager to let visitors practice language, and I am grateful that I arrived with a foundation with which to learn colloquial Egyptian Arabic."

  • Emily Vincent ’18, anthropology and Chinese major

    Yenching Scholar, Peking University
    Beijing, China

    "As an international student at Peking University, I use anthropology on a daily basis. Studying anthropology taught me how to dig deeper than the apparent cultural differences to find the underlying human experience that connects us all. It showed me the importance of evaluating situations from multiple cultural perspectives and the validity of viewpoints that may seem strange or foreign at face value.

    Anthropology equipped me to ask better questions about myself and the world while preparing me to seek the answers through my own experiences."

  • Pete Freeman ’18, sociology and gender studies major

    President, Youth Health Ghana
    United Nations Youth Forum delegate
    Innovation fellow, enFocus Inc.

    "Sociology gives you an incredible background and a multitude of lenses to look through. What motivates humans, how different institutions impact the way society runs, group dynamics, or social movements, or social networks. You bring multiple different theoretical frameworks to bear on social problems.

    Sociology has really allowed me to not only ask good focused questions about social problems but then when I get an answer, to be able to dissect that answer in a way that allows some kind of positive response."

  • Sophia Bevacqua ’17, art history major

    Vatican Museums fellow, 2018-2020
    Now: Graduate student, NYU Institute of Fine Arts

    "I found art history to be naturally inseparable from my position in the Vatican Museums. I relied not only on the knowledge I acquired in my courses on the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque for expertise of the museums’ collections, but I also used the research skills I received in the major on a continual basis.

    My job also required that I constantly propose answers to the same questions posed in my Art History courses regarding museums, the role they can play in today’s society, and how they should change to suit 21st-century visitors."

  • Sydney Porter ’20, political science and FTT major

    Fulbright English Teaching Assistant
    South Korea

    "In my friend group in Korea, there were people from Australia, from Turkey, from London, and China. It was a great environment to be in because you got to learn so much about the world. Later, I focused my senior thesis on South Korea because I was interested in studying how national identity can be a divisive force within a country.

    After going to Korea, I realized that I really wanted to gain proficiency in the language, and I knew I would have to go back to Korea to do that."

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