George Mason University

Languages and Culture

Academics

As commerce and culture become more globally intertwined, we increasingly feel the impact of events occurring half a world away. Whatever career you choose, knowledge of other languages and cultures will be an asset. Programs in such areas as Modern and Classical Languages, Education, and the Arts enhance analytical and communication skills and marketability.

Mason offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Russian and Spanish, as well as linguistics. Mason also offers study-abroad classes, internships abroad and immersion in real­ world and simulated language environments.

Creating a Voice for Those Who Aren’t Heard

Issmar Ventura knows exactly what he wants to do once he lands a job as a journalist. “I want to cover those things not a lot of people cover,” he says. “I want to focus not only on my population but the minority population as a whole. I feel those voices are not heard enough.”

Last year, the George Mason University communication major created the first weekly Spanish-language news show — Mason Noticias — on the university’s student-run Mason Cable Network. The newscast now counts a staff of 10 students and plans to expand.

Mason Noticias also is a means to an end for Ventura, who moved with his family from El Salvador to Woodbridge, Virginia, at the age of 6.

Ventura has interned in Los Angeles with BBC Mundo, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s online Spanish-language platform, for which he mostly did reporting and research. To be in front of the camera, Ventura says he was told he needs practice, polish, and a portfolio. The Spanish-language show at Mason was a start.

All that preparation paid off. This past summer, Ventura covered news stories as an intern with Telemundo Washington and also had an internship with Voz de America. In addition, he was recently recognized by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists with a Summer 2016 Charlie Ericksen Journalism Supplement.

Issmar Ventura standing in Mason Cable Network Room

Communication major Issmar Ventura, a senior, created the first weekly Spanish-language news show ó Mason Noticias ó on George Mason Universityís student-run Mason Cable Network.

  • Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning

    The Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning (ASTL) program is for teachers and other educators with one or more years of teaching or education-related experience who want to continue to grow professionally. The program offers concentrations in Designing Digital Learning in Schools, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Math, Foreign Language, Gifted Child Education, History, Advanced International Baccalaureate, Reading Specialist, Literacy, Middle/Secondary Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Special Education, Teacher Leadership and an individualized Concentration.

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  • Arabic, Minor

    The minor in Arabic has an emphasis on developing strong language skills: oral communication and the reading of texts. Students are also introduced to important works of Arabic literature and culture. A minor in Arabic can easily and effectively be combined with majors in other disciplines. It is especially valuable in combination with global affairs, international relations, security, journalism, philosophy, and religion.

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  • Chinese, BA, Foreign Language Concentration

    A knowledge of Chinese will give you a distinctive advantage in the job market. In business alone, the demand for people who can speak Chinese is skyrocketing. The Chinese Program offers you the opportunity to learn this critical language. Courses in Chinese connect you with an experienced faculty, who will help you develop valuable language skills with an emphasis on business-relevant vocabulary, sociolinguistic and cultural knowledge, and strategies for reading Chinese at an advanced level.

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  • Chinese, Minor

    The minor in Chinese offers students the opportunity to study one of the rapidly developing ancient cultures of the world. The emphasis is on developing strong language skills, oral communication, and the reading of texts.

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  • Curriculum and Instruction, MEd

    This master’s degree is offered to students preparing for initial teacher licensure, advanced teacher education, and ancillary educational programs.  Students may choose up to two concentrations from a wide variety of choices, such as Art Education, Elementary Mathematics, Foreign Language (with choices including French and Spanish), Geography, History, Science, and many other areas of study and specialization. 

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  • English as a Second Language (ESL/ESOL)/Special Education, Graduate Certificate

    The program prepares educators for both domestic international teaching assignments working with culturally &linguistically diverse learners. It provides courses for licensed teachers to earn an add-on endorsement in English as a second language (ESL) PK-12, also known as English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Candidates whose first language is not English may be required to pass an oral and written proficiency assessment in English to meet state licensure requirements and national professional standards.

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  • Foreign Language Licensure, Graduate Certificate

    This 27-credit Foreign Language graduate certificate is designed to provide an interdisciplinary, theory-based course of study for initial licensure candidates and provisionally licensed teachers. It is intended to assist students in developing a reflective stance toward practice and to enhance the ability to address critical issues in language and learning. It also intends to advance their fundamental understanding about language, technology, pedagogy, and culture, as well as issues related to diversity in schools and in society at large. Students may select Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, or Spanish.

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  • Foreign Languages, BA

    The BA in foreign languages offers an integrated, technology-enhanced curriculum that allows students to acquire not only linguistic proficiency but a full development of cultural knowledge, critical thinking, and ethics. The degree prepares students for teaching careers at the secondary school level, graduate study in languages, and research and professional work in government and private enterprise. Students who major in foreign languages can choose a concentration in Chinese, French, or Spanish.

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  • Foreign Languages, MA

    The Foreign Language program offers four concentrations: French; Spanish; French and Spanish; and Spanish/bilingual-multicultural education. It meets the needs and interests of prospective and practicing teachers and other professionals, and prepares students for doctoral study at other institutions.

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  • French, Concentration in the Foreign Languages BA, Minor

    Foreign language majors concentrating in French study a variety of topics from traditional academic fields like language, literature, and the culture of French, to less traditional subjects such as film studies and the Francophone literatures of the Caribbean, Quebec, and Africa. This combination leads to a well-rounded liberal arts education that allows students to experience the full spectrum of the Francophone world. This concentration will open doors to such fields as teaching, translation, the travel industry, diplomacy, and other international careers in such areas as law or business. A minor in French helps students improve their knowledge of the language, and introduces them to the basics of translation and the cultural aspects of learning a foreign language.

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  • French, Concentration in the Foreign Languages MA

    The MA in Foreign Languages with a concentration in French offers an opportunity to study a variety of topics—from the traditional academic study of the language, literature, and the culture of French—to less traditional subjects such as film studies and the Francophone literatures of the Caribbean, Quebec, and Africa. This unique array leads to an in-depth liberal arts experience in scholarship that allows students to experience the full spectrum of the Francophone world.

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  • German, Minor

    Students develop strong language skills, including oral and written communication, as well as learning about important works of German literature and culture. Fluency in a second language is highly valued by many businesses and institutions—from banking to government to retail, to name just a few.

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  • International ESOL Education (PK-12) Licensure, Graduate Certificate

    This 30-credit certificate is designed for both international and domestic educators who are working or plan to work in K-12 English as a Second Language, also known as English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), classrooms. It provides coursework leading to an initial teaching license in ESL education. It is intended to assist in the development of a reflective stance toward practice and to enhance ability to address critical issues in language and learning. Candidates whose first language is not English may be required to pass an oral and written proficiency assessment in English to meet state licensure requirements and national professional standards.

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  • Italian Studies, Minor

    The Minor in Italian Studies complements a variety of major programs, from Global Affairs to Art History. It enables students to become linguistically and culturally proficient in the language, cultures, and artistic productions from the Italian peninsula, as well as throughout the Italian-speaking world. With courses in Italian language at the advanced level and others in English from within the department and across the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, students refine their ability to speak Italian at a high level of ability while developing the knowledge and critical analysis necessary to discuss the ways in which Italian language and culture manifests itself in Europe and around the world.

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  • Japanese Studies, Minor

    Explore these and other aspects of Japanese language, culture, and history through the minor in Japanese studies. Students acquire the language skills and cultural understanding to function successfully in social settings and a variety of careers.

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  • Language Arts for Education, Concentration in the Integrative Studies BA

    This degree meets the Virginia Department of Education endorsement requirements and will prepare students for graduate licensure programs. Students should meet with Mason's Endorsement Specialist throughout their undergraduate degree as well as Integrative Studies academic advisors.

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  • Latin American Studies, BA, Minor

    Study Latin America at Mason and explore one of the most diverse and exciting regions in the world. Contemporary Latin America has a long and turbulent history of conquest, resistance, and cultural mixing. The result is a rich and unique blend of African, indigenous, and European cultures. As a major in Latin American studies, you will develop a broad expertise in the region while pursuing an individualized program of study that suits your own interests. You will improve your language skills and take courses in many disciplines, including anthropology, dance, economics, folklore, geography, government, history, and literature. All students have opportunities for research, global engagement, public service, and career preparation. A minor in Latin American studies is particularly attractive to employers, as it enhances a major in Spanish or anthropology for a career in teaching or human rights work; a major in communication for a career in journalism; and a major in business for a career in the U.S. Foreign Service, other government agencies, or international commerce.

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  • Linguistics, Minor

    Students studying linguistics learn to approach language scientifically, transforming the way they think about sounds, words, sentences, and meaning. Courses will include instruction in phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and 1st and 2nd language acquisition. Opportunities include work on the Speech Accent Archive and experimental research in Linguistics Labs. Coursework introduces the fundamental concepts of modern linguistic theory and explores how these concepts relate to various other disciplines, such as philosophy, psychology, sociology, computer science, the study of individual languages and literatures, literary studies, and education. Students develop skills in problem solving, logical thinking, and data analysis that can be applied to many fields and careers.

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  • Linguistics, PhD

    The PhD in linguistics trains students in the science of language. Students become specialists in the core areas of linguistics—phonology, syntax, and semantics—and learn to integrate this core with the study of second-language acquisition. Graduates can build careers in academia, industry, and government working in a host of organizations that are concerned with language and second language acquisition. They might be research and teaching professors, administrators of language-learning programs, or consultants in computational linguistic research.

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  • Russian and Eurasian Studies, BA

    The BA in Russian and Eurasian Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program that focuses on forces that have shaped Russia. Core coursework combines Russian or other Eurasian-related languages, social science, history, literature/film, while electives expand into region-specific investigations of Islamic studies, politics, revolution, geography, and economics. The program prepares students for continued scholarship in post-graduate programs such as law school. Professionally, graduates are well-prepared for employment in domestic firms that trade goods/services with Russia, technology companies, environmental organizations, and U.S. Government agencies.

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  • Russian, Minor

    The minor in Russian is geared toward helping students improve their knowledge of the language, introducing them to the basics of translation and the linguistic and cultural aspects of learning a foreign language. Coursework includes advanced Russian, conversation, composition and civilization. The language and analytical skills, as well as a broadened, international outlook developed while earning this minor contribute to student success in a wide variety of professional careers including education, foreign service and journalism, as well as graduate study in the humanities.

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  • Spanish and French, Concentration in the Foreign Languages MA

    The MA in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish and French allows graduate students to pursue a multilingual path of scholarship and an array of international opportunities. This expanded master’s degree’s coursework combines the basic requirements of the concentrations in French and Spanish, with additional opportunities for electives and an optional thesis. The degree opens doors to such fields as teaching, translation, the travel industry, diplomacy, and other international careers in such areas as law or business. 

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  • Spanish, Concentration in the Foreign Languages BA, Minor

    The BA in Spanish focuses on a variety of topics from traditional academic fields like language, literature, and Spanish-speaking culture, to less traditional subjects such as film studies and the Spanish literatures of both Europe and Latin America. Students develop skills in speaking, reading, and writing Spanish, as well as learning about the culture of the Hispanic world. This combination leads to a well-rounded liberal arts education that allows students to experience the full spectrum of the Spanish-speaking world. This degree opens doors to such fields as teaching, translation, the travel industry, diplomacy, and other international careers in such areas as law or business.

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  • Spanish, Concentration in the Foreign Languages MA

    The MA in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish offers an opportunity to study both the traditional academics of the language, literature, and the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the less traditional subjects such as film studies and literature from the many Spanish-speaking regions of the world. This unique array leads to an in-depth liberal arts experience in scholarship that allows students to experience the full spectrum of the cultures surrounding the language. This program meets the needs and interests of prospective and practicing teachers and other professionals, and prepares students for professional advancement, as well as doctoral study at other institutions. An accelerated master's option for this concentration is available to students in specific bachelor's programs. 

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  • Spanish|Bilingual|Multicultural Education, Concentration in the Foreign Languages MA

    The MA in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Spanish/Bilingual/Multicultural Education, offered through the School of Education and Human Development, combines courses in Spanish and/or French with courses in multicultural education. Licensure is available with minimal additional coursework beyond the degree. This degree prepares individuals to effectively teach in bilingual and multicultural settings.

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  • Teacher Education Programs, Graduate

    What does it take to be a great teacher? Knowledge, patience, skill, a love of learning and a desire to make a difference. If this describes you, then a career in education may be for you.

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  • Teacher Education Programs, Undergraduate

    What does it take to be a great teacher? Knowledge, patience, skill, a love of learning and a desire to make a difference. If this describes you, then a career in education may be for you.

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  • Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional Learners, Concentration in MEd Curriculum and Instruction

    Teaching Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Exceptional Learners is designed to prepare teachers to work in highly diverse K-12 classrooms to support a variety of student needs with special emphasis on language learners. Students in this Master’s program must also complete a secondary certificate program to support completing initial licensure or advanced coursework in Elementary Education, English as Second Language Education, Foreign Language Education, Special Education, or Advanced International Baccalaureate Studies. The Master’s program also prepares international teachers interested in earning initial licensure in Elementary or English as a Second Language Education (formerly FAST TRAIN), and supports partnerships with the Peace Corps for returning volunteers or those interested in completing service.

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  • Teaching English as a Second Language, Graduate Certificate

    The graduate certificate in teaching English as a second language (TESL) prepares students to teach non-native speakers of English in the United States or abroad. Using linguistics theory and research, this 18-credit program consists of courses in linguistic theory, the structure of the English sound system and grammar, adult second language learning, and pedagogical approaches including a practicum in classroom ESL teaching. The program fulfills, in part, requirements for an endorsement in English as a Second Language to the VA state teaching credential. The certificate may be pursued concurrently with any of several related degree programs. The course is also available online, and qualifies for Title IV Federal Financial Aid.

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  • Teaching English as a Second Language, Minor

    The minor in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) helps prepare undergraduate students to teach non-native speakers of English in the United States or abroad. This program combines linguistic theory, second language acquisition theory, and ESL teaching methodology. The minor in TESL may be pursued concurrently with any undergraduate major. This minor is offered by the Department of English.

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  • Theater, BA/Arts Management, Accelerated MA

    Undergraduates in Theater may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in Arts Management through joint cooperation between the School of Theater and the Arts Management Program. Students will begin their master’s program in the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

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