The Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures is an integral part of Michigan State University, having 36 full-time tenure-track faculty members, 28 fixed-term faculty and specialists, 20 PhD students, 32 Master’s students, and approximately 1,000 undergraduate students. The Department offers MA and PhD degrees in Linguistics, MA and PhD degrees in German Studies, and an MA degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), plus 6 undergraduate major programs in Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, Linguistics, and Russian, and 10 undergraduate minor programs in cognitive science and various languages. Each of our programs recruits outstanding students who find employment after graduation, and we have many internationally- and nationally-renowned and/or award-winning faculty and programs in the Department.

In particular, we place great emphasis on the education of students, from first-year undergraduates through advanced doctoral candidates and on to active research that not only explores cutting-edge theoretical and applied issues but is also closely linked to educational goals and engages students in the classroom. Collectively, departmental teaching and research reflect continuing concern for the local, national and global community.

By the very interdisciplinary nature of the fields represented in the department, issues of how language reflects the nature of the human mind, how language is acquired, the interaction of language and culture, minority perspectives, diversity and internationalization lie at the center of our activities.

Vision Statement for the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures

Adopted 4/12/16

The department is proud of its reputation as a leader in the study of language in the digital age and intends to build on these achievements. It will enhance its strengths in cutting-edge research and graduate and undergraduate course-work in the areas of Language Learning and Teaching, Linguistics, Literature and Cultural Studies. It will promote the great diversity of its languages and global geographical reach of its on-campus and overseas programming. Our vision touches upon three key areas 1) an enhanced commitment to the MSU undergraduate learning goals 2) a strong focus on graduate education and 3) an active outreach to the community.

  1. In the area of undergraduate education, we focus on the MSU student learning goals of analytical and critical thinking, cultural understanding, effective global citizenship, effective communication, integrated reasoning and problem solving. Targeted initiatives that enhance such goals include vibrant department-led study-abroad programming, active mentoring of student research, and community outreach programming. Linguistics and Languages programs will develop innovative ways of delivering course content to students to help them attain an appropriate level of language proficiency as outlined in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  2. Our department offers a MA/PhD in Linguistics and in German and an MA in TESOL. We define excellence in graduate education to be a solid theoretical and analytical foundation in the discipline combined with practical experience in teaching and research. We will continue to refine the supervised teaching practicum and expand targeted research opportunities in a variety of area and transdisciplinary specialties through new collaborative partnerships. We will offer extra-academic opportunities that provide graduates with complementary skills to effectively prepare them for the 21st century job market in academia and beyond.
  3. Departmental programs actively reflect the MSU world grant philosophy by working closely with the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA) to promote early language learning and by collaborating closely with secondary teachers of ESL and world languages in Michigan through various workshops. Hallmarks of the department’s programs will continue to be community-based research on language at the local, regional, national and international level and international collaboration through the many departmental study abroad programs.