Languages at UW-Madison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a national powerhouse when it comes to language education and research. The university offers instruction in approximately 50 modern languages during the academic year. Many other languages are taught in the summer through the Wisconsin Intensive Summer Language Institutes and L&S departments.
The study of languages is a key component of the Wisconsin Experience, preparing UW-Madison students to become outstanding leaders who are engaged locally, nationally, and globally. In fact, UW-Madison has more undergraduates who major in a language other than English than any other top public university in the United States (U.S. Department of Education, 2020-21).
Our dedicated faculty in UW-Madison departments of languages, literatures, linguistics and cultures, and affiliated with the university’s centers for international and area studies, are world-renowned scholars with research expertise that spans the globe.
The Language Institute was founded in 2004 to enable and promote collaboration in research, education, and outreach related to the study of human languages.
Language Institute Mission
The Language Institute strengthens the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a leader in language education and research by promoting excellence in language teaching, innovation in the design and delivery of effective and inclusive language programs, student success in reaching their professional and personal language learning goals, research in second language acquisition (SLA) and related fields, and increased awareness of the value of linguistic diversity and of language and intercultural learning for all. In each of these areas, we strive to foster meaningful and productive collaboration across campus and beyond, exemplifying the Wisconsin Idea.
Learning languages offers opportunities for making deep human and cultural connections that are beyond our own immediate experiences. For some, language learning is a window into a new culture and a way of life; for others, it’s a means to explore their personal or family heritage. Regardless, learning languages demands ongoing reflection and a willingness to engage both with difference and with aspects of our shared humanity.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Language Institute believes in the inherent value of all languages and language varieties, and is dedicated to ensuring equitable access to language learning opportunities that strengthen and enhance each person’s academic, professional, and personal goals.
The Language Institute recognizes the existence of structural barriers that can negatively affect the ability of individuals and groups to reach their full potential. In addition to our commitment to promoting equitable access to language learning and to Language Institute programming, we remain vigilant in fostering an inclusive campus climate that values the many ways that each person’s language(s), lived experiences, and individual and social identities contribute to and enrich our shared mission.