UA Among Top Producers of Foreign Language Degrees

February 18th, 2019

The University of Arizona ranks among the top 10 universities in the nation for producing graduates with foreign language degrees.

According to a new Chronicle of Higher Education analysis of U.S. Department of Education data for the 2016-17 academic year, the UA conferred 216 bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages, literatures and linguistics, ranking 10th among all universities.

The UA ranks even higher on several individual languages: first in Italian, fourth in Russian, fifth in Spanish and seventh in German.

College of Humanities Dean Alain-Philippe Durand says the UA’s long history of excellence and innovation in non-English language instruction shows a commitment to educating students to be globally competitive.

“When you major in a second language, you develop more than just communication skills. The critical thinking, problem-solving skills and intercultural competence that comes from studying languages will benefit students no matter what career they pursue,” Durand says. “Our faculty have wide-ranging expertise in second languages, literatures and cultures and a passion for educating students in these crucial skills.”

Designated in 2018 as a Hispanic Serving Institution, the UA has shown a commitment to providing educational opportunities for Hispanic students and creating an environment for student success. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is one of the UA’s oldest, having been a core university strength for more than 100 years.

The university’s strengths in language research and education extends to the three federally funded Title VI centers on campus: the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy in the College of Humanities and Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Center for Latin American Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Foreign language and cultural research and education are major components of the fourth pillar of the UA’s new Strategic Plan, which aims to “set the standard for a global university in the digital age.”

Students in all foreign language programs have opportunities for immersive learning experiences in study abroad programs all over the world.

In addition to the foreign language offerings for bachelor’s degrees, in the last year, the College of Humanities has added new programs for minors in Korean and Critical Languages, which includes less commonly taught languages like Cantonese, Hindi, Swahili, Thai and Vietnamese. In the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, students can major in Arabic as well as take classes in Hebrew, Persian and Turkish.

“Our students with degrees in a second language are employed in all industries because the humanities skills are the most sought-after on the job market,” Durand says.