The Department of World Languages and Literatures at Western Michigan University is at the heart of the University’s growing emphasis on global engagement and citizenship.


In the best liberal arts tradition, we offer courses in language acquisition, culture, literature and linguistics. We also offer language study tailored to future businesspeople and translators. Our small classes provide students with the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with faculty mentors, and our many study abroad options enable students to add fluency in a second language and international experience to their four-year degree.

In the early 1900s, students at WMU had the opportunity to learn classical Latin, German and French. As the world has grown smaller and more interconnected, our language programs have expanded and now include Arabic, Chinese and Japanese. We also offer ancient Greek, medieval Latin and Old French. 

Department activities

World languages and literatures faculty are active researchers and publish in the areas of creative writing; language acquisition; linguistics; literary, theatre and film studies; textual editing; and translation. Department activities include our refereed journal, Transference, featuring poetry translated into English and commentary on the art and process of translation.