The 10 Best Online Language Studies Degree Colleges of 2021

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A Bachelor’s degree in Language Studies (also called Foreign Language) is designed to prepare adults for graduate education, career change, or career advancement while still providing personal enrichment. This degree primarily focuses on literary appreciation, linguistics skills, and understanding people and their culture. Foreign language students must choose their preferred language of concentration (Spanish, Italian, German, etc.) and are expected to achieve a broader knowledge of the various disciplines of the Liberal Arts. 

What can you learn with a degree in language studies?

The composition of language degrees greatly varies between different institutions and different languages. However, most foreign language degrees focus on your ability and fluency to read, speak and write another language. Some cover the politics, history, or literature of the country associated with your chosen language. 

What should you study at high school if you have plans to pursue a Language Studies degree?

Ideally, it’s advised that you study your chosen language to an advanced level during high school so you can easily transition to studying a few languages at a degree level. Nonetheless, it’s good to contact your prospective university for your entry options. Some universities allow beginners to take modules in a new language that are usually supported through regular assessments, seminars, presentations, and independent studies. Some also authorize students to study a language ab-initio. 

Other subjects that complement a language degree are other humanities and arts subjects like English literature, politics, or history. Still, there are no defined lists of subjects that one can study alongside languages. 

Why Should you Take a Degree in Language Studies?

  • Job Marketability. Over the years, the conventional workplace is becoming increasingly globalized. And as the digital era continues to break down geographical barriers, the need for international collaboration has intensified. This prompted businesses to hire employees who can be at peace with the current global landscape. In most cases, this means hiring multilingual workers who speak other languages and understand different cultural values. 
  • Job Success. Having impeccable foreign language skills not only helps you secure a job, but it can also help you keep one. How? When you master several languages, this is not just about mastering different words. There’s an underlying cultural understanding that most current workplaces particularly look for in their employee. With this perspective, you can easily get ahead in several industries: from marketing to medicine to technology and teaching.
  • Enhanced first language skills. You read that right! Learning different languages can surprisingly help you understand your native tongue better. When you first assimilate a language during your childhood years, most of this is naturally absorbed. You don’t think much about it, right? But when you learn a new language as an adult, you are compelled to go back and think about how the language mechanics work. This raised awareness can boost your ability to manipulate and structure language, leading to refined editing and writing skills. 
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Our compilation of the 10 Best Best Online Language Studies Degree Colleges of 2021 features the programs offered in U.S. colleges and universities. While this list mainly focuses on colleges offering bachelor’s or undergraduate programs, it also shows the programs across all higher education levels: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in online or hybrid formats. Non-degree or certificate programs are also mentioned.

In finalizing this list, we took into account the features, coursework, and accreditation status of the Language Studies degree programs. We also disclose, as applicable, each of the program’s application or admission requirements, program costs, and financial aid information. We understand students need to pick the very best school to attend, and therefore listed the most reputable colleges and universities with unique program features.

Please visit our Methodology page to get in-depth information.

New York University 

New York University Logo

The university has a Foreign Language Education (FLE) program that consists of different degree programs.  The FLE is mainly designed for planning or teaching a foreign language, supervisors, department heads, and directors of other foreign language programs. The program’s objective is to prepare the program heads and teachers and give them a better foundation in language development and linguistics.

Location: 

New York

Accreditation:

  • Association for Advancing Quality in Education Preparation (AAQEP)

Program Features:

  • You will learn and train for a career teaching French, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish.
  • Apart from learning teaching strategies, you will also build solid foundations in literacy, language, applied linguistics, and culture.
  • You will gain important classroom experience.

Course Options:

  • Bachelor of Science in Foreign Language Education (Grades 7-12, Initial Certification)
  • Master of Arts in Foreign Language Education/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Foreign Language Education (College and Adults – Non-Certification)
  • Master of Arts (MA) in Foreign Language Education (Grades 7-12, Initial Certification)
  • Advanced Certificate in Teachers of Foreign Language in College (Post-Master’s Study)

Admissions Requirements:

  • Letter(s) of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement/Personal Essay
  • Transcripts and Degrees
  • English Language Proficiency Exam
  • Application Fee

Tuition:

$1,867 Tuition per credit

Financial Aid:

  • New York University Scholarships
  • Federal Grant Programs
  • State Scholarship and Grant Programs
  • Scholarships and Grants from Other Organizations

What’s Unique About the Program

  • The program has a set of talented faculties, visiting professors, and guest lecturers
  • NYU has one of the best libraries.
  • Ranked as the 3rd most powerful college alumni network, you are guaranteed to have an amazing list of networks once you graduate. 
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Duke University

Duke University Logo

Duke University boasts of its International Comparative Studies, a program that not only makes you learn a foreign language but deals with the deeper historical, political, and cultural understanding of the language of concentration. The said program requires four (4) full courses that you can finish in two years.

These are the languages that you may specialize under this program:

A. Arabic
B. Chinese
C. Creole
D. French
E. German
F. Hebrew
G. Italian
H. Japanese
I. Korean
J. Persian
K. Portuguese
L. Russian
M. Spanish
N. Turkish
O. other indigenous languages not mentioned.

Location:

Durham, North Carolina

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Program Features:

  • Students will study a rare language relative to their region of concentration
  • A study abroad program is possible
  • An advanced language course may double count in the appropriate region or global category. 

Course Options:

Below is a list that fulfills the ICS Foreign Language co-requisite of Duke University. 

  • African Region: Arabic, French, Portuguese, and other indigenous languages
  • East Asia Region and China: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other indigenous languages
  • Europe Region: French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Latin America and Caribbean Regions: Creole, French, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Middle East Region: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish
  • Russia and Central Asia Region: Persian, Turkish, Russian
  • South Asia Region: Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, and other indigenous languages.

Admissions Requirements:

  • Updated and approved the curricular plan on file with the ICS Program
  • Must have completed ICS 195, Comparative Approaches to Global Issues, before application
  • Must be on track to complete (by the end of the junior year) a substantial portion of the ICS major
  • Be in good academic standing

Tuition:

$57,934 (Annual Cost)

Financial Aids:

  • Undergraduate Scholarships
  • Graduate Fellowships
  • Summer Support

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • Each Duke student is geared to develop proficiency in a second language so that they can fully explore other literature and histories
  • Students gain a new understanding of and appreciation for culture as embodied in language
  • The program brings new perspectives to boost understanding of issues of both similarity and difference
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Middlebury Language Schools

Middlebury Language School

Whether you are beginning to learn a foreign language or pursuing a more advanced degree, Middlebury Language School has a degree program for you. They offer immersion programs for specific languages such as Abenaki, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Each immersion’s duration varies depending on the language of concentration, but it ranges from two weeks to eight weeks.

Location:

Middlebury, Vermont

Accreditation: 

  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Program Features:

  • You can make substantial gains in cultural proficiency and language in just eight weeks.
  • All the programs are designed to improve your language skills—listening, speaking, writing, reading, grammar, and phonetics.
  • After you take advantage of the program’s immersion environment, you can notice significant progress, thus boosting your confidence even more. 

Course Options:

  • Master of Arts 
  • Master of Arts in Applied Languages
  • Doctor of Modern Languages 

Admission Requirements:

  • $75 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official Transcripts (either emailed from the registrar of your previous school or sealed in an envelope)
  • Recommendation Letter (preferably from a language instructor with whom you have studied your target language, a recent instruction in language or disciplines, or a work supervisor or colleague from professional or volunteer work)
  • Additional Information
  • Language Levels

Tuition:

Tuition and fees differ according to the language of concentration. Click here for details. 

Financial Aids:

  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Davis Fellows for Peace
  • Scholarships for students attending HBCUs, HSIs, Tribal Colleges
  • Portuguese Teachers Fellowship
  • Kress Fellowships
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Vermont Teacher Scholarships

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • Students can develop accuracy in their target language superior to participants in a study-abroad program of similar length
  • Helps students achieve substantial progress in language proficiency.
  • Instills a pragmatic socio-cultural competence so students can effectively communicate in a wide range of environments.
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Stanford University 

stanford-university-presidents

One of the degree programs in the language offered at Stanford is the BA Linguistics. The program’s objective is to introduce the major areas of linguistics such as syntax, phonetics, semantics, history, and even the socio-cultural facet of languages.

Opt for a minor in Modern Languages to supplement your expertise in Linguistics. Another minor you can take simultaneously is Translation Studies. The program teaches the students to develop and apply their foreign language knowledge through translations.

Location:

Stanford, California

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges

Program Features:

  • Provides students with basic knowledge in the key areas of linguistics. This includes phonology, phonetics, morphology, syntax, pragmatics, semantics, sociolinguistics, and historical linguistics. 

Course Options:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics

Admission Requirements (General)

  • Application and Essay
  • Application Fee
  • ACT or SAT scores
  • School Report 
  • Letter of Recommendation from Counselor
  • Official Transcripts or Academic Results
  • Letter of Recommendation from two teachers 

Tuition:

$18,491 (undergraduate)

Financial Aids:

  • University Scholarships
  • Federal Grants (Federal Pell Grant; Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant)
  • State Grants
  • Student Employment
  • Outside Scholarships
  • Loans 

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • Some of its major courses involve interdisciplinary work relevant to other departments like computer science, cognitive science, psychology, anthropology, communication, and foreign language. 
  • The program gives its students the best preparation for further study in professional or graduate schools and careers in social services, business, teaching, or government agencies. 
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Yale University

Yale_University_logo

Yale University offers a variety of Foreign Language degree programs. Under their East Asian Language & Literatures, they have undergraduate programs for China and Japan’s languages and literature. Also offered are language courses in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. If you want to pursue more advanced studies, it has a Ph.D. program for Chinese and Japanese Literature.

Location:

New Haven, Connecticut

Accreditation:

  • New England Commission of Higher Education 

Program Features: 

  • Provides intensive training in the study of East Asian languages and literature, cultures, and ancient times that strongly focuses on the analysis and reading of texts, theater, film, and other different forms of media. 
  • Students may choose either the Japanese or Chinese track, although it’s encouraged to have both courses. 

Course Options:

  • East Asian Languages and Literature

(Undergraduate degree programs in the languages and literature of China and Japan)

(Ph.D. programs in Chinese and Japanese Literature)

(Language Courses in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese)

Admission Requirements: (General)

  • $80 application fee
  • Recommendations from one counselor and two teachers
  • School report with transcript
  • Standardized test results (SAT or ACT)- no longer required for fall 2021 and 2022 admission

Tuition: 

$59,950 (per year)

Financial Aids:

  • Scholarships and Grants
  • Yale Scholarship
  • Merit-Based Scholarships
  • Entitlement Grants
  • Term-Time Jobs
  • Education Loans

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • The program supports East Asia’s cultures’ humanistic study through their literary traditions, languages, and ancient and modern cultures. 
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University of California, Berkeley 

University of Berkeley California - religious studies program

Applied Language Studies or Applied Linguistics deals with how languages are learned and how related it is to one’s culture and sense of self. It concentrates on the study of translation and interpretation, contextualization, foreign language learning, and intercultural communication. Since 2009, the University of California, Berkeley has offered an interdepartmental undergraduate minor in Applied Language Studies (ALS) thru their undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies program. This is particularly suitable for those students who have already studied languages but still want to add a research component to language learning.

Location: 

Berkeley, California

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges 

Program Features:

  • Dedicated to studying specific language learning areas and use like foreign language teaching and learning, bi- and multilingualism, communication in professional contexts, translation and interpretation, and intercultural communication. 
  • ALS Minors give students more expertise as they gear themselves for professional careers in law, business, medicine, or education.

Course Options:

  • Applied Language Studies

Admission Requirements:

  • At least three of the upper-division courses (minor requirements) should be completed at UC Berkeley
  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 for courses is required to fulfill the minor requirements
  • Courses used to comply with the minor requirements can be applied to the Seven-Course Breadth requirement (only for Letters and Science students)
  • All minor requirements should be complete before the last day of finals during the semester you plan to graduate. Otherwise, you can call the College of Letters and Science adviser.

Tuition:

$14,254 per year 

Financial Aids:

  • Innovative Berkeley Aid Programs (Berkeley Undergraduate Dream Act Aid; Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan)
  • Grants (Cal Grants, Federal Pell Grant, Parent Grant, Chafee Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, UC Berkeley Grants, Department Awards)
  • Scholarships (Scholarship Search, Fiat Lux Scholarship, Berkeley Undergraduate’s Scholarship, Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship)
  • Loans (Federal Direct Loans, PLUS Loan Application, Health Professions Student Loan, Berkeley Loan, DREAM loan, Short-term Emergency Loan, Private Alternative Loan, Summer Sessions Loan
  • Work-Study 
  • Prizes and Honors
  • Students with Dependent
  • Disabled Students Program
  • Summer Aid
  • Study Abroad
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Newly Admitted Student Pathways

What’s Unique About the Program: 

  • Helps students further to understand the process of language learning and use.
  • ALS Minors allow students more expertise for various careers in the future.
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Columbia University

Columbia University

East Asian Languages and Cultures is basically on East Asian Studies covering training in the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Languages. The degree program is cohesively taught in curriculums under the social sciences.

Germanic Languages – this degree program is one of the most sought-after degree programs for Undergraduates. It’s been tagged as one of the country’s best! Students are expected be proficient in evaluating the literary works that are originally written in German. It is also expected that they are equipped with a better understanding of modern German culture and society.

Location:

New York

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Program Features:

  • For East Asian studies, the program is designed to give students a coherent curriculum with interdisciplinary specializations in art history, anthropology, economics, literature, history, political science, philosophy, religion, or sociology. 
  • The program also offers introductory and thematic courses designed for students who seek to gain more knowledge of East Asia as part of their undergraduate experience. 
  • For the Germanic Languages and Literature, students will obtain proficiency in examining philosophical, literary, and historical texts. 
  • More attention is provided to German-speaking traditions within a bigger European and global context. 

Course Options:

  • East Asian Languages and Cultures program
  • Germanic Languages

Admission Requirements: (General)

(autobiographical information, lists and descriptions of a student’s achievements, employment, and activities, and personal essay)

  • Official High School Transcript
  • At least one recommendation from a high school counselor
  • Completed Mid-Year Report
  • Standardized Test results (SAT or ACT)
  • English proficiency examination score

Tuition: 

$61,671 per year (undergraduate)

Financial Aids:

  • Columbia Grant
  • Federal Grants (Pell Grant, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant)
  • State Grants
  • Outside Scholarships
  • Student Employment
  • Loans

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • The East Asian Studies program has different courses in a variety of disciplines.
  • Students are required to attend all their assigned language laboratory sessions. Grades from these sessions (both for oral and written work) count as 10% of the course’s final grade. 
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University of California, Los Angeles

UCLA logo

The study of foreign languages at UCLA is distributed into five (5) different departments. Every department is responsible for different world languages, such as the Asian languages, Germanic languages, Near Eastern Languages, Russian language, and Slavic language. Similar to most of the degree programs, the university has an interdisciplinary approach to teaching its students. As a whole, these departments have a total of 40 different languages that you can specialize in.

Location:

Los Angeles, California

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Program Features:

  • The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures features different language courses and placement exams in the languages such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Filipino, Indonesian, Hindu-Urdu, Vietnamese, and Thai.
  • The Germanic Languages Department has an array of courses in languages, cultures, and literature. The program also offers training in specialized fields in linguistics, film, and critical theory.
  • UCLA’s Department of Near Eastern Language and Cultures brings together linguistic and cultural studies (modern and ancient) into a fun interdisciplinary whole. 
  • The Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages and cultures encourage students to pursue their curiosity and develop analytical skills to make them more competitive in the present job market.

Course Options:

  • Asian Languages
  • Germanic Languages
  • Near Eastern Languages
  • Russian Languages
  • Slavic Languages

Admission Requirements (General)

  • Official Transcripts
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Application Fee

Tuition:

$13,240 per year

Financial Aids:

  • Scholarships (UCLA Regents Scholarships, UCLA Alumni Scholarships, UCLA Achievement Scholarships, University Student Aid Program Funds
  • Grants (the University of California Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, Cal Grant, Middle-Class Scholarship Program, Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants)
  • Loans
  • Part-time student jobs

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • Each department has its area of concentration.
  • Programs focus on the study of civilization and the rich cultural heritage and diversity of a region.
  • Programs are designed to develop a profound understanding and appreciation of the achievements and insights of each culture.
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Washington State University 

Washington State University - Logo

The university’s College of Arts and Sciences runs a Cultural Studies and Foreign Languages program. It has a degree program in Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish. Every degree program’s objective is for its students to be proficient in speaking and reading the language and knowing the country’s culture where the language originated. 

Location:

Pullman, Washington

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Program Features:

In Washington State University, the foreign language program focuses on two major goals:

  • Knowledge of the culture and countries where the language is spoken
  • The efficiency with speaking and reading the language

Course Options:

Majors:

  • Asian Studies
  • Chinese
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • French
  • French Area and Culture Studies
  • Japanese
  • Spanish

Minors:

  • American Indian Studies
  • Asian Studies
  • Chinese
  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • French
  • French Area and Culture Studies
  • German
  • Global Studies
  • Japanese
  • Latin American and Spanish Area Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Spanish

Admission Requirements:

Incoming Freshmen (High School Graduate)

  • Official Transcripts
  • GED

For Students 25 years old and above

  • Official Transcript with Graduation Date
  • GED
  • List of all colleges you have attended

Tuition:

  • $10 760 per year (Residents)
  • $25,702 per year (out of state)

Financial Aid:

  • WSU General Scholarship
  • Scholarship Awards (WUE and Cougar Award, Cougar Award for Transfers, Cougar Commitment, Crimson Transfer Award, Distinguished University Achievement Award, Glenn Terrell Presidential Award, Regents Scholars Program, University Achievement Award)
  • Work-Study Program
  • Loans

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • The school has a Language Learning Resource Center where you can have the latest in learning technologies. A well-trained staff is also readily available to help.
  • The study-abroad program is integrated into the foreign language curriculum. This gives the student the priceless experience of living in the country that speaks the language he/she is studying. 
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University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh

Under the university’s School of Education, the University of Pittsburgh offers a Foreign Language Education program mainly for planning or teaching foreign languages. This advanced program is equivalent to a master’s studies. The same department also offers Certification studies in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Latin.

Aside from the advanced programs, the university also offers other foreign language studies such as Korean, German, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, French, and Russian. Most of these programs, however, are minors and merely supplements your major area of studies.

Location:

Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Program Features:

  • Certification studies are available in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, or Latin
  • Whether you are a prospective teacher, a student, or you just want to seek advanced knowledge, the program has diverse courses relative to your needs.

Course Options:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (Pennsylvania Teaching Certification)
  • Instructional 1 Teaching Certificate in Foreign Language Education
  • Master of Education in Special Education (Academic Instruction Certification)
  • Master of Education in Foreign Language Education
  • Med in Foreign Language Education with TESOL specialization. 
  • Doctoral Programs in Language, Literacy, and Culture.

Admission Requirements: (General Undergraduate)

The University does not offer direct admittance to first-year students. You should be already enrolled in the school in your junior year.

Current Pitt Students

  • Completion of at least 60 credits (this includes all the prerequisite coursework)
  • Official transcripts – minimum GPA of 3.25.
  • A goal statement that discusses your interest in your program of choice (1-2 pages)
  • Completed Undergraduate Program Change Form 

Transfer Students

Tuition:

$776 per credit ($9,314 per term)-PA Residents

$1,360 per credit ($16,328 per term)- Non-PA residents

Financial Aids:

  • Scholarships and Fellowships (Elderhostel K. Patricia Cross Doctoral Research Grant, Equity and Justice Scholars, Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education Scholarship, Pittsburgh Young Professionals Scholarship Fund, Sabina Hilger Walsh and Harold Rex Walsh Scholarship Fund, Weimann Family Teaching Scholarship, Jack Wilson Fund
  • Student Research Grants
  • Student Travel Grants
  • Loans

What’s Unique About the Program:

  • Flexible and convenient programs perfect for working professionals and those from outside the Pittsburgh area
  • In-state tuition rates are also available for all online students. 
  • Whether online or campus-based, the programs’ quality is not sacrificed, thanks to Pitt Education faculty members who have the same academic rigor in teaching, be it on campus or online.