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Gain career skills, break barriers, and explore new cultures.

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Our programs are designed to graduate majors and minors whose language skills provide them with enhanced opportunities for careers at the regional, national, and international levels.  Students who wish to pursue grate programs are prepared for advanced study in language, literature, and culture. Our faculty deliver high quality language instruction based on nationally-recognized standards, and to contribute actively to cross-disciplinary international initiatives. Our students discover meaningful first encounters with cultures from around the world through our coursework, study abroad programs, and cultural events.

Our Chinese Flagship Program at WKU offers intensive language instruction with the goal of producing the next generation of global professionals with professional-level language proficiency in their area of expertise, advanced cultural skills, and experience abroad. The Chinese and Russian programs participate in the cutting-edge STEM+languages program offered through the Gatton Academy for Mathematics and Science.


Woman on Study Abroad Program
Major, Certificate, & Minor

Speakers of Spanish are needed in a wide variety of fields such as business, education, health care, journalism and social work.

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Chinese Program Alimni
Major, Certificate, & Minor

A variety of career options are open to those who have solid Chinese language skills: university scholars, teachers, international affairs, law, diplomacy, international business/trade, and more.

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Man on Study Abroad Program
Chinese Flagship (Intensive)

Flagship focuses on supporting students in reaching a Superior, or professional, level of Chinese proficiency, as determined by the ACTFL scale, during their undergraduate career.

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Woman on Study Abroat Program
2 Years of Courses

Set yourself apart by taking on a language known for innovation, design, and creativity in traditional and modern arts.

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Photo of Russian Building
2 Years of Courses and *Minor

Russian continues to be a language of global importance.

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*The Russian and East European Studies Minor familiarizes students with significant political and economic issues and provides students a foundation for effective communication in Russian.

View the Minor

Woman on Study Abroad Program
Latin American Studies

Study language, literature, culture, geography, history, government, and economics of the Americas.

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Ready to get started?

Declare a Language Major, Minor, or Cert.


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Departmental Funding



Chinese Flagship Funding



WKU Funding

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Walk-in appointments are welcome, but we encourage students to schedule appointments ahead of time.

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Do you have questions about learning a language, our programs, or our courses? Sign up for advising with Dr. Poole.

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The mission of the Modern Languages Department is to cultivate communicative skills and cultural awareness that prepare students at Western Kentucky University to be more knowledgeable and sensitive citizens of the local, regional, and global communities. This encompasses understanding of past and current injustices faced by minority groups. We affirm the right of all people to learn and work without intimidation or threats of violence. We also support individual actions and policy initiatives which foster respect and equality at the local, state, and national level.




Modern Languages Student & Alumni Spotlight

olivia blackmon
Thinking Globally about the Future
Being Bilingual Has Opened Doors
Photo of WKU student Emily Peck.
Learning a Second Language Is Critical



This skill-oriented course involves hands-on activities to familiarize students with the key techniques for traditional Chinese calligraphy. Taught in English.

3 Credit Hrs

 Spanish Composition and Grammar

Controlled written compositions and oral expression. Systematic and intensive review of grammar. Fulfills World Language with a grade of C or better.

3 Credit Hrs

Prerequisite(s): AVANT Lang Spanish Placement with a score of 5 (SPAN 202 or AVANT Lang Spanish Placement with a score of 5)

Colonnade Explorations:

Literary Studies



Social & Cultural

(Mostly Taught on Study Abroad Programs)


Colonnade Connections:




Language Requirement:

View the WKU Colonnade Course Inventory to review courses.




Gain Career Skills

  • Get ahead with an international internship.
  • Language is a valuable professional skill in education, non-profits, government, marketing, and other fields.
  • Work internationally, for an international company, or for the United States Government. 

Break Barriers

  • According to statistics people who know at least one foreign language, earn more than people who don’t.
  • Companies take language skills into account when hiring.
  • Be a leader in your workplace when your company engages international business.
  • Language is critical to national security.

Explore New Cultures

  • Make new friends from different countries.
  • Understand dialogues, phrases, jokes, movies, music, and books.
  • Make your travels easier and more enjoyable.
  • Understand different cultures better and get a other point of view on your own culture.




Modern Languages Student Spotlight




Past Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship Winners



Department of Modern Languages

Honors College and International Center
2027 / 2039 (HCIC)


Department Head

Dr. Alex Poole
HCIC 2035


Coordinators & Contact by Language
Chinese: Dr. Ke Peng
Spanish: Dr. Melissa Stewart
Russian: Ekaterina Myakshina
Japanese: Craig Fukushima



Departmental Directory





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 Last Modified 5/23/24