Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

What is Modern Languages and Cultural Studies?

Modern Languages and Cultural Studies is the study of languages, cultures, texts, and contexts. How do I say welcome in Arabic, Swedish, or ASL? How do the arts reflect cultural tradition? How can we better communicate across borders? What does language say about our changing society?

Why Study Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at UAlberta?

Today's students will be the leaders of tomorrow's increasingly multicultural societies. Study in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies helps students develop critical thinking in cross-cultural perspectives and hone their oral and written communication skills. Our award-winning teachers and small classes offer individual attention and an in-depth language-learning experience where students discover how language, literature, and cultures are interconnected.

We offer courses in American Sign Language (ASL), Arabic, French, German, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian. We also offer courses in English, such as in Comparative Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Slavic Studies, and Cultural Studies (under the abbreviation MLCS).

Experience Beyond the Classroom

We strongly encourage participation in study abroad programs for a fun and rewarding first-hand experience with a foreign language and culture. Study abroad results in improved fluency in a new language and increased skill in communicating across cultures. We also provide students opportunities to apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to real-life situations in our local cultural communities and in project-based work.

  • Sub-disciplines within the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies
    Applied Linguistics - How are second languages learned and how can they be taught? How can we study oral, written or visual discourse to analyze human society? How does language relate to social factors such as differences in gender, class, region, power, as well as multilingualism?

    Cultural Studies - How are culture and cultural processes constructed? How do cultural practices relate to concepts such as ideology, power, class, nation, and gender?

    Folklore - How can stories, songs, games, jokes, attitudes, dance, arts, traditions, and customs help us explore concepts of ethnicity, identity, and meaning-making in our daily lives and those of people who are not like us?

    Literature - How can the study of national and global literatures give us insight into unfamiliar cultures, times, places, and ideas?

    Media Studies - How is culture shaped and expressed through different media such as film, television, comics, digital narratives, social media, video games, and graffiti?

    Translation - How does the process of translation work? What are some cultural, historical or theoretical issues that have to be considered when translating a work?
  • What can I do with a degree in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies?
    Language skills and cross-cultural knowledge are useful for many career paths. Our MLCS students find jobs across Canada and across the globe, with careers in education, foreign service, business, translation, journalism, law, international organizations, tourism, federal government, and more.

If you're interested in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, you might also be interested in...

Certificate in International Learning MLCS Certificate in Translation Studies

Anthropology English and Film Studies

History and Classics Linguistics

Native Studies Philosophy

Political Science Women's and Gender Studies

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