Howard University
About The Department

The Department of World Languages and Cultures (DWLC) supports both the mission and the vision of Howard University. It is the second largest Department in the College of Arts and Sciences and contributes to the realization of Howard's enterprise by offering courses in foreign modern languages and literatures. The DWLC offers Majors and Minors in French and Spanish languages, cultures, and literatures, as well as Minors in Arabic, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. The DWLC is constantly adapting itself to the global world, offering basic instruction in the previously mentioned languages and also in Amharic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Wolof, Yoruba, and Zulu. Efforts are underway to restore the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in French and Spanish through an interdisciplinary program in African and African Diaspora Languages, Cultures and Literatures.

Dr. Vernessa White-Jackson


The Department of World Languages and Cultures is the recent name adopted by what was until 2008 the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (DMLL). The DMLL was established on July 1, 1993, through a merger of two academic units and one support facility, respectively 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. The DWLC faculty is a diverse group trained in the language, literature, culture and history 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 African and African Diaspora (Afro-French, Afro-Hispanic/Afro-Latino, and Afro-German studies).


The DWLC provides an unparalleled opportunity for in-depth study of the linguistic, literary and cultural contributions of Francophone and Hispano/Latino peoples of African descent; foreign language education courses for teachers of foreign languages; and areas of specialization in both traditional and less commonly taught languages, literatures, and cultures. The DWLC program of research and instruction is global in its reach. It will continue to situate Howard University at the forefront of global awareness, which celebrates diversity in the international arena. Howard's Moorland Spingarn Collection, an important repository of Africana materials, serves as a resource for continued research in this area. The DWLC program prepares its graduates for specializations such as African & African Diasporic studies, Francophone Studies, Interpretation and Translation, and Teaching, as well as for entry into careers such as international affairs, international business, and international studies. Graduates of the program have secured positions in education (college, secondary and elementary), the corporate world, and government. In addition, graduates are admitted to prestigious national and international graduate programs. The 21st century proposes cultural challenges which Howard University and the DWLC can confront in partnership.

The DWLC is a microcosm of the larger society and can serve as a laboratory for understanding the cross cultural skills that the new society demands. In the July 21,1989 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, it was reported that the American Council on Education has called on colleges and universities to require all undergraduates to gain competency in foreign languages. The DWLC has certified language examiners who consistently support students in achieving the goals and objectives of foreign language competency which is assessed according to professional standards. The national cultural dynamic demands an interdisciplinary and an international education. The DWLC will continue its role in this endeavor.


College of Arts and Sciences Department of World Languages and Cultures