Welcome from the WLL Chair

Welcome to the Department of World Languages and Literatures, where you can learn to speak a new language, sharpen your knowledge of a familiar one, and immerse yourself in cultures around the globe. Language study opens doors to adventure and travel, expands professional opportunities, and makes you a more knowledgeable, influential, and effective world citizen.

The SMU Department of World Languages and Literatures emphasizes practical learning. From the first semester of study, you acquire the ability to speak, listen, read, and write, even as you absorb valuable cultural information that will equip you to move with ease and sophistication through a globalized world. 

Students in the Department of World Languages and Literatures may pursue degrees in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. You can even combine the study of two languages in order to major in World Languages, or combine the study of language and film to minor in International Film Studies. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our degree programs!

Our programs complement any of the vibrant majors and minors offered at SMU. Whether you study history or business, communications or the arts, knowing another language and culture will enhance your analytical abilities, increase your knowledge of the world, and create new opportunities for study and work. This is especially true because a degree in language is always interdisciplinary: when you study a language, you also study history, art, film, business, literature, linguistics and more, in that language.

Recent research finds a growing demand in the United States for workers who can speak more than one language. Publications like the New York Times, U.S. News and World Report and Forbes have recently reported on the economic, practical, and personal benefits of foreign language proficiency. And our alumni confirm the lasting value of their degrees.

As a student in the Department of World Languages and Literatures, you will discover opportunities to put your language to work beyond the classroom, in the community and abroad. You can find internships in Dallas, in fields as diverse as business, education, law, and journalism. And you can study abroad in the summer with SMU faculty in China, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain; or for a whole semester in a wide variety of SMU-approved programs.

I am always available to talk to students about our programs, as are faculty members in each language area. Please feel free to stop by my office in 309 Clements Hall or to reach out to any of the language area chairs or advisors. We look forward to speaking with you, in any language!


Elizabeth Russ

Associate Professor of Spanish

Chair, Department of World Languages and Literatures