Languages at Duke

Our goal is for all Duke students to develop proficiency in a second language in order to explore foreign cultures, histories and literatures, gain an understanding and appreciation for culture in as embodied in language, and bring a cultural perspective to bear to enhance understanding of issues of similarity and difference.

Benefits of Studying Other Languages

Global Understanding

  • Knowing a foreign language can help you contribute to making the world a better place. Knowledge of other languages and cultures is an absolute necessity, not only for economic and political survival, but also for international cooperation efforts.
  • Being proficient in more than one language will enhance your ability to participate effectively in the local, national, and international debates of the 21st century.

Professional Success – CNN Special Report: "Why Language Should be Part of your College Experience"

  • "Soft skills" such as communication skills, leadership ability, ability to work in teams, and ability to work in and across foreign cultures are becoming just as important as "hard" technical or professional knowledge in building your career path.
  • Knowing a foreign language will give you an edge in the job market, in career advancement, and knowledge of your discipline.

Personal Growth – New York Times: "Grey Matter: Why Bilinguals are Smarter"

  • Studying foreign languages and cultures develops your analytical, critical, and interpretive abilities. Some studies have even shown a direct correlation between foreign language study and improved performance in verbal and mathematical skills.
  • Speaking another language can open doors for you, physically, mentally, even spiritually. Speaking another language and living in another culture challenges who you are, and makes you examine your very identity.

What You Need to Know

Our Language Offerings

Language How Frequently Offered? Fulfills Foreign Language (FL) Requirement? Offered By Can I do more in language & culture studies?
Minor Major
Arabic Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Arabic Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Arabic Concentration
Balto-Finnic Occasionally offered No Slavic and Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Occasionaly offered at Duke. Regularly offered at UNC-Chapel Hill. No Slavic and Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
Chinese Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Chinese Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Chinese Concentration
Creole Regularly offered Yes

Romance Studies,

Less Common Taught Language Initiative

n/a n/a
Czech Occasionaly offered at Duke. Regularly offered at UNC-Chapel Hill. No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
French Regularly offered Yes Romance Studies Minor in French Studies Majors in French & Francophone Studies or Romance Studies
Georgian Occasionally offered No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
German Regularly offered Yes Germanic Languages & Literature Minor in German Majors in German Literature & Culture or German Studies
Greek Regularly offered Yes Classical Studies Minor in Greek Major in Classical Languages
Hebrew Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Hebrew Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Modern Hebrew Concentration
Hindi Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Hindi Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Hindi Concentration
Hungarian Occasionaly offered at Duke. Regularly offered at UNC-Chapel Hill. No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
Italian Regularly offered Yes Romance Studies Minor in Italian Studies Majors in Italian Studies or Romance Studies
Japanese Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Japanese Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Japanese Concentration
K'iche' Maya Regularly offered Yes Less Commonly Taught Languages Initiative n/a n/a
Korean Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies Minor in Korean Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies with Korean Concentration
Latin Regularly offered Yes Classical Studies Minor in Latin Major in Classical Languages
Persian Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies n/a n/a
Polish Regularly offered Yes Slavic & Eurasian Studies Minor in Polish Language & Cuture Major in Slavic & Eurasian Studies
Portuguese Regularly offered Yes Romance Studies Minor in Brazilian & Global Portuguese Majors in Brazilian & Global Portuguese or Romance Studies
Quechua Occasionally offered No Romance Studies n/a n/a
Romanian Occasionally offered No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
Russian Regularly offered Yes Slavic & Eurasian Studies Minor in Russian Culture & Language Majors in Russian Culture & Language or Slavic & Eurasian Studies
Sanskrit Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies n/a n/a
Spanish Regularly offered Yes Romance Studies Minor in Spanish Studies Majors in Spanish & Latin American Studies or Romance Studies
Tibetan Regularly offered Yes Asian & Middle Eastern Studies,

Less Common Taught Language Initiative

n/a n/a
Turkish Regularly offered Yes Slavic & Eurasian Studies Minor in Turkish Language & Culture Major in Slavic & Eurasian Studies
Ukranian Occasionally offered No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a
Uzbek Occasionally offered No Slavic & Eurasian Studies n/a n/a