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World Languages and Culture

The DWLAC provides an "unparalleled" opportunity for "in-depth study of the linguistic and literary contributions of Francophone and Hispanic peoples of African descent, foreign language education courses for teachers of foreign languages, and areas of specialization in traditional languages and literatures."

The World Languages and Culture department offers a graduate program leading to the Master of Arts degree. Within the disciplines of French and Spanish, the department provides opportunities for learning advanced language and linguistic skills and theory and studying French and Spanish literatures.

The DWLAC was established on July 1, 1993, through a merger of two academic units and one support facility, namely the Department of German and Russian, the Department of Romance Languages, and the Language Resource Center. Presently there are approximately 46 full-time faculty members. It is the second largest department in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The DWLAC faculty is a diverse group trained in the language, literature and culture of several nations. The faculty has extensive training, experience, and expertise in areas related to second language teaching, comparative literature and culture, international business, music, film, photographic journalism, pedagogy, anthropology, education, general linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and educational technology. Faculty members have garnered both a national and international reputation. Many are recognized as pioneers in their fields. Of special note is the international acclaim of several members in the unique fields of Afro-French and Afro-Hispanic studies. 

The historical "Afro" research initiatives are presently being expanded to include important symposia and courses in German, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, and African languages/culture (Yoruba, Swahili, Arabic, and Zulu). The DWLA's research can serve as one of the foundations for the Center on African and African American Heritage at Howard University.

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Admission Requirements

To be accepted into a the Graduate Program in World Languages and Culture, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a GPA of at least 3.0 or B. In addition, students must meet the University requirement to take the Graduate Record Examination (and the TOEFL if applicable), have submitted letters of recommendation from persons in position to evaluate their academic work, and forwarded a sample of their analytic writing (preferably a graded critical paper).

While most students with a bachelor’s degree will enter the graduate program at the M.A. level, it is possible in extraordinary cases for an applicant to proceed directly into the Ph.D. program. Direct admission as a Ph.D. student requires an evaluation and approval by the graduate faculty of the Department.

Degree Requirements

A maximum of six hours of credit for French or Spanish courses in a graduate program of other accredited universities may be transferred in accordance with the rules of the Graduate School. Applicants with the bachelor's or masters degree from a foreign university who do not meet all of the requirements for admission may be admitted provisionally for one semester. if such admission is recommended by the Graduate Advisory Council of the department To be considered. an applicant must have strong letters of recommendation from former teachers and other evidence of unusual potential. 

Master of Arts

To be considered for admission, applicants must:

  • File a completed Application for Admission Form in the Admissions Office
  • Have a copy of the official transcript for each undergraduate school attended sent to the Graduate Admissions Office. The transcript must certify completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree. Normally a GPA of 3.0 is required with no grade below B in the major field of French or Spanish.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation, including two from faculty under whom the applicant has studied.
  • Sendwith the application:
    1. a letter of interest, indicating reasons for applying and areas of interest in the pursuit of a foreign language degree and
    2. a two-to-three-page essay in French or Spanish which gives evidence of ability in the language.

Applicants with a bachelors degree from a nationally accredited institution, or foreign applicants with equivalent qualifications, are eligible for admission. Applicants must have majored or minored in French or Spanish in their undergraduate degree program.

Admission to Candidacy

A student should file for admission to candidacy after 12 hours of work has been completed and this student has satisfied the GSAS writing proficiency requirement. Forms provided by the dean should be filed a semester before graduation and approved by the student's thesis committee and the Executive Committee of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Residence Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program are required to spend at least three semesters in full-time residence, two of which must be consecutive.

Caution to Prospective Students

The Board of Trustees of Howard University on September 24, 1983, adopted the following policy statement regarding applications for admission: "Applicants seeking admission to Howard University are required to submit accurate and complete credentials and accurate and complete information requested by the University. Applicants who fail to do so shall be denied admission. Enrolled students who as applicants failed to submit accurate and complete credentials or accurate and complete information on their application for admission shall be subject to dismissal when the same is made known, regardless of classification."

All credentials must be sent to:

Howard University Graduate School 
Office of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions
4th and College Streets, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20059

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