Department of Languages and Literatures

The Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa

High School Writing Contest

The Department of Languages & Literatures offers undergraduate programs in EnglishSpanishTESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Creative WritingFrench, and Professional Writing, in addition to a certificate in Chinese. Our graduate offerings include programs in EnglishSpanishTESOL, and TESS  (Teaching English in Secondary Schools).

L&L trains more language arts teachers than any other university in the state, and our students develop skills in reading, writing, language use, and cultural analysis in preparation for work in a range of professions and countries. Many students complement their classroom instruction with internships, translating and publishing experiences, and study abroad opportunities that help launch rewarding careers and lives. L&L students are part of a vibrant intellectual and creative community that is supported by scholarship opportunities and participates in clubs and honor societies in addition to on- and off-campus programming. 

Come and visit us! If you have questions, feel free to contact Dr. Jim O'Loughlin, Head of the Department of Languages & Literatures.

Our Mission

English class flyerWe read, we tell stories, and we study language to understand and shape ourselves and the world around us. Students in the Department of Languages & Literatures explore the persistent questions of humanity as they have developed in a variety of cultures, times, and places through immersion and interaction with voices, texts, images, and technologies. From this, they develop the intellectual and practical skills to communicate across cultures and thrive in our changing world.

Please Note

All students considering taking Spanish at UNI should take the Spanish placement exam. This exam will help you choose the appropriate first Spanish course at UNI. To take the placement exam, click here. You will need to pay a $10 charge via credit card.

Statement of Solidarity




French class flyerWe, the Faculty of the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Northern Iowa, stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and their call to end systemic racism. We acknowledge our own place in systems of oppression. Many of us work with languages connected to histories of colonial power, subjugation, settlement, slavery, and genocide. We cannot sanitize the narratives and linguistic power of our profession. We also acknowledge how neither our city nor our campus is especially welcoming to Black students or people of color. As we uphold peaceful protests, we also acknowledge that additional action and advocacy must happen.


To this end, we:

●      pledge to redouble our efforts to support and encourage antiracist readings, content, and assignments in Spring 2021 courses and beyond;

●      stand with faculty who deliver culturally relevant instruction and, in so doing, connect with our most vulnerable students, especially Black and indigenous students who are at greatest risk from police and epidemiological violence;

●      pledge to listen to stories of systemic racism and oppression, and offer support to those who do the difficult work of sharing these stories;

●      counsel and demand of our administrators, Regents, and legislators a more inclusive and cooperative relationship with BIPOC faculty, staff, and students; and

●      ask the College of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences as well as the Faculty Senate to help us further the Racial and Ethnic Coalition’s 2019 goals to reach a diverse curriculum.

Final Thursday Reading Series