Language and Culture Learning

Within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), language instruction in 18 modern languages is offered, regularly or semi-regularly, on campus or through collaborative, long-distance learning consortia:

  • 1 African (Swahili)
  • 4 Asian/Eurasian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi)
  • 1 modern Middle Eastern (Arabic)
  • 7 European/Slavic/Latin American (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Russian, Czech)

Several less commonly taught languages (including Kannada) have been offered in the past thanks to support from Title VI (NRC and UISFL) funding.

The Croatian Ministry of Education has helped to support the teaching of Croatian on campus as well as student participation in an intensive language immersion program in Zagreb for the past several years.

Modern Hebrew I and II have been offered on a pilot basis, through the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature, funded as a Saturday and Evening course.

Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program

Without Department of Education funding, the University has taken creative approaches to staffing courses in less commonly taught languages, often with financial or administrative support provided by International Programs. This has included utilization of the Fulbright FLTA program for the teaching of Indonesian, Turkish, Hindi, Korean and Arabic, and participation in consortia with other Regents or CIC institutions for the teaching of Czech, Polish, and Uzbek.

For more information about the FLTA program, please contact Elena Osinskaya, DWLLC Language Initiatives Manager, at

Second Language Acquisition

The University is particularly strong in the area of Second Language Acquisition. The Ph.D. program in Second Language Acquisition has graduated two cohorts of students and is well regarded nationally and internationally.

Language Pedagogy

The Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts and Sciences boast faculty with significant expertise in the pedagogy of less commonly taught languages. The University’s strength in the area of Chinese language pedagogy, in particular, led to its recent recognition as one of only a few Confucius Institutes in the U.S. With funding from the Chinese government, the institute offers accelerated Chinese language courses to UI students as well as introductory courses to the larger community. Recently, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) has begun offering introductory Russian to the community, as well.


The Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DWLLC) offers an opportunity to learn critical and less commonly taught languages through the Autonomous Language Learning Network (ALLNet) program. This is open to the University of Iowa students, faculty, and staff interested in study and research abroad. Many international opportunities require communication skills in a language not currently taught at the University of Iowa. The ALLNet offers a novel resource to study these critical and less commonly taught languages through autonomous language learning (ALL).

With the support of the ALLNet staff members, learners design their own study plans to learn basic language skills or improve upon existing skills in preparation for study and research abroad. Upon admission to the program, they will be provided with learning materials and tutorial sessions with a native speaker.

For more information on how to become an ALLNet tutor, or if you are a UI faculty/staff member or student who wishes to study critical or less commonly taught languages, please contact Elena Osinskaya, DWLLC Language Initiatives Manager, at

Foreign Language Incentive Programs

The UI offers two foreign language incentive programs. In FLIP option one, entering students who complete an approved course at a level beyond the General Education requirement with a grade of B- or higher receive 4 semester hours of “retroactive” credit, in addition to credit for the course itself.

In FLIP option two, students who completed four years of second-language study in high school (or who have completed the foreign language component of the General Education Program by some other means, including foreign language study at The University of Iowa), may, at any time before graduation, earn up to 4 s.h. of bonus credit for study of a language different from that which they studied in the General Education program.

Formal Language Across Curriculum

Currently, The University of Iowa does not offer any formal Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC/LAC/LxC) or Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) opportunities to students.

Initiatives in this area have been isolated to individual faculty experiments, and have included a Mathematics course taught in Spanish, a history of the Holocaust course with German language components, a Latin American Politics Political Science course with Spanish language components, and an Introduction to Marketing course with a special Honors section that incorporated CLAC-style pedagogy.

Although actual practice is quite limited, many UI faculty have indicated interest in LAC/CLAC, and there are indications of potential for growth in this area.