Chinese calligraphy made by Villanova students.

The Critical Languages Unit offers four minors, allowing students to focus their studies on the language and culture of a particular geographic area.

These minors are distinct because learning the language is an integral component of the course of study. Language serves as a gateway to new peoples and new cultures that might otherwise seem foreign or aloof. So much of culture, people and place, can only be known through language acquisition. Students studying one of GIS’ Critical Languages can often learn more about an area by studying language. Embracing a language will allow you to become a well-informed global citizen. Studying abroad in a country that speaks the language you are learning will enhance your language capabilities.


The Arabic Studies program offers classical and modern Arabic literature, Arabic language and linguistics, as well as general courses on history and culture.

Many of our students choose Chinese Language and Cultural Studies as a minor, combining this minor with a disciplinary major such as Global Studies or Economics will prepare them for a possible career related to international and global employment opportunities. In addition to coordinating courses on China in various departments, the program in Chinese Language and Cultural Studies offers language and culture courses under its own auspices to round out the available offerings.

Japanese is a great language to develop your skillset and competency to become an active participant in the global community. Japan still leads the world in many diverse fields, even as the world’s appreciation for traditional culture deepens. Studying Japanese can deepen your knowledge and develop unique skills through the fine arts (kabuki, tea ceremony, wood block print), traditional and contemporary literature (haiku, novels), sports and martial arts (sumo, judo, aikido), entertainment (anime, games, manga), life (food, fashion), not to mention the economy and sciences (IT, semiconductors, automobiles, chemical engineering). There is a need for people with a deep understanding of the language and culture of Japan—in the both the private and public sectors—because even in the digital age, communication skills are critical.

Japanese Language and Cultural Studies offers a range of language and culture courses that can fulfill your language requirement and Diversity Requirement, as well as contribute to a Japanese Minor or Asian Studies Major/Minor.

The Russian Studies program offers courses in language as well as all aspects of Russia—history, literature, culture, folklore, music, film, news media and women’s studies. This allows students to become familiar with Russian culture and society and the life experiences of Russians. Students also become familiar with Russia through courses on Russian history and politics offered by other departments on campus.

Chiji Akoma, PhD
Associate Professor
Chair, Department of Global Interdisciplinary Studies
(610) 519-6967

Joyce Harden
Administrative Assistant