College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


The SLLC was formed after a yearlong study (2013-14) by several committees of faculty, staff and students from a wide range of departments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as well as participation from colleagues in other schools across KU.

The SLLC, which was created following approval from the Kansas Board of Regents in September 2014, forms a new entity within the College and preserves within it existing departmental structures:


Our affiliated entities, departments and programs

The SLLC’s goal is to advance and educate students, the campus and the public on the increasing importance of foreign language and cultural knowledge as a central part of a 21st-century education. 

Why did we form the SLLC?

graphic comparison of langauges taught at KU vs. other schools

The University of Kansas has a tradition of foreign language education dating to the 19th century. During and after the Cold War, capacity for teaching critical and less commonly taught languages grew to meet national needs, largely in the public sector.

Today, we teach over 40 languages, as well as courses on culture, literature, history and politics connected with many of those languages. This number puts Kansas in a rare category with a wide range of offerings unparalleled in the Great Plains and well beyond. KU is a national leader in the study of foreign languages, offering more languages than any other university in Kansas or in the Big 12 Conference.  

The SLLC aims to give everyone a full overview of our resources so that they can be deployed effectively for the benefit of students, the broader campus, and the region. Language and cultural knowledge are transformative for students’ lives and for meaningful engagement in the world, both in terms of rich experience and economic benefit. We are developing innovative research and curriculum, as well as helping students make deliberate, well-informed choices from among an unusually rich array of opportunities.

The SLLC is poised to meet Kansas’ share of the enormous and still-growing national needs for foreign language and cultural competence. Individual benefits range from higher cognitive performance to direct economic benefit through marketable job skills. Society and the economy benefit by creating a workforce that can function effectively throughout the vast global network.


illustration of 2014's top paying Liberal Arts Majors

The sustained demand for students with foreign language and cultural competence is evidenced not just by the success of our alumni, but by the fact that the market is telling us that a foreign language major is among the most competitive in the liberal arts, according to this recent Wall Street Journal info graphic.

(From:  Lauren Weber, "The Liberal Arts Majors that pay the Most," Wall Street Journal. Management. At Work, 15 May 2014)

View or download our 2015/ 2016 info pamphlet here.



Our Statement on Diversity in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk and the University of Kansas Black Student Union’s efforts to combat racism.
The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
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