Skip to main content
Students thin banner

About the Department

You might be wondering how such very different disciplines ended up in one single department.  The answer is a mix of historical accidents and administrative necessity.  Once upon a time, there was a Department of Languages at USU.  One of the professors in the Department began to offer Philosophy courses, out of pure love for the subject (acting upon a demand from a national accrediting agency).  Eventually, more philosophers were added to the Department until the name had to be changed to Languages and Philosophy.  then it happened that a small program in Speech Communication was in search of a departmental home, and it joined us.  the Speech program grew and flourished, and finally we became what we are today. 

The Department of Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies is a friendly and vibrant community of more than 30 scholars in many diverse disciplines. We offer majors in Asian Studies, French, German, Spanish, Philosophy, Communication Studies, and Global Communication, and minors in Japanese, Chinese, Linguistics, Latin American Studies, Organizational Communication, and Russian, as well as a master of second language teaching degree.

We are a robust and growing department. In 2010 we added Arabic to our department.  In 2011 the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI), which works with many of our International Students to ensure they are prepared for coursework outside their native language  joined the department.  We are thus nearly a whole college in and of ourselves). January 2012 Speech Communications was changed to Communication Studies.  Now we are officially Languages, Philosophy and Communication Studies.

Our goal is to provide support and encouragement to our faculty and students in their academic pursuits. We sponsor clubs, lectures, study abroad programs, and multidisciplinary inquiry—indeed; we are ready to entertain any creative way of getting involved with what's going on in our department!

So come visit us, or join us, as we encourage one another to think for ourselves and communicate with the world!

Academic Programs Overview

The following undergraduate programs are offered by the Department:

Language Major/Minor Programs:
All three languages also have a teaching emphasis major and minor for those interested in going into language education. The department offers majors/minors in French, German and Spanish. Beginning with language courses covering the "four skills" of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Curricula for these programs includes courses in literature, culture and civilization, as well as required courses in linguistics and cross-cultural analysis. Each of these three majors/minors can also be completed with a teaching emphasis.

"Stand Alone" Language Minor Programs:
Minors in these languages emphasize language use in a variety of settings and help the students to appreciate and understand the culture communities associated with a particular language. The Chinese minor also has a teaching emphasis option. Language minors are offered in Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.

Linguistics Minor:
Coursework for this minor involves study of the structure of language in general as well as the phonological, morphological and syntactic features of particular languages.

Other Languages:
The department also offers online coursework in Italian and Korean (Korean is not being offered Fall 2017 and Spring 2018).

Philosophy Major/Minor:
Coursework for the philosophy major gives students an understanding of the primary fields within the discipline, including logic, ethical theory, applied ethics, history of philosophy and metaphysics/epistemology.

Communication Studies Major/Minor:
The communication studies program is designed to help students develop a broad range of communication skills and understanding of how communication affects individuals, organizations, and societies. Students receive a well-rounded education in speech communication and its related areas, including courses in interpersonal communication, public speaking, intercultural communication, organizational communication, and more. There are two minors in communication studies one that is primarily focused on organizational communication and a teaching emphasis minor for those who will be teaching in high schools.

While both a BA and a BS are offered in Philosophy and Communication Studies, students are encouraged to earn the BA degree both for a greater understanding of the content of their major as well as for better career preparation.

Asian Studies Major/Minor:
The Asian Studies major requires students to demonstrate linguistic competence in either, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. This is accomplished by successfully passing one of the 3010/3020 third year courses. Other coursework involves a wide range of topics related to the history, culture, politics, and social norms of various Asian communities.

Global Communication Major:
This major gives students the knowledge, motivation, and skills necessary to thrive while engaging in work in intercultural contexts. Students in this program study communication, a second language, ethics, culture, and world affairs. The major requires coursework in five main areas: introductory courses on intercultural and global communication; communication specific courses on interpersonal communication, communicating in organizations, persuasion and conflict management; language courses that focus on language skills in applied areas, such as business; philosophy courses on ethics; and courses on world affairs that apply to students’ specific goals. The major also involves a practicum where students engage with a community distinct from his or her own cultural community.

Graduate Programs:
The department offers a Master's degree in Second Language Teaching. This professionally-oriented, interdisciplinary program integrates coursework in three areas generally treated as separate fields: foreign language education, ESL/EFL education, and bilingual education. The program is designed to appeal to both pre-and in-service secondary school teachers and to those interested in teaching at the community college level.

Concurrent Enrollment:
French, German, Spanish and Communication Studies courses are offered through Concurrent Enrollment at area high schools.

Study Abroad:
The department also sponsors several study abroad programs for USU and other university students: a French summer abroad program in Paris and Perpignan, a summer German program in Freiburg in cooperation with the Goethe Institute, a summer Spanish program in Valpariso, Chile and LaRioja, Spain. Occasionally other Spanish summer study abroads are offered. Summer study abroads are also offered in Japan, China, Brazil and Russia. In addition, the department is the academic administrative home of two exchange agreements involving USU: one with the University of La Rioja in Spain and another with the Faculty of Cross-Cultural Studies at Kobe University in Japan.