The Georgia Institute of Technology School of Modern Languages, in collaboration with the School of Literature, Media, and Communication, is launching a groundbreaking suite of master of science programs in language, culture, and media skills, with funding from the GT-FIRE Grant for educational innovation, sponsored by the Offices of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR).
Advanced foreign language degrees have traditionally prepared students for careers as educators. Georgia Tech’s new MS in Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (MS-ALIS) and the MS in Global Media and Culture (MS-GMC) are the first advanced degrees in foreign language and cultural studies in the United States explicitly designed for industry careers. They prepare students to work effectively in contexts ranging from non-profit, business, engineering, public policy, and medicine.
“These degrees imagine an entirely new model of humanities education, designed to prepare students for careers of the future,” said Anna Stenport, chair of the School of Modern Languages. “With Georgia Tech’s technology-oriented strengths, our faculty’s innovative teaching and scholarship, our location in Atlanta, and our many international partnerships, this graduate program is uniquely positioned to be a national model.”
While students are often encouraged to focus on acquiring technical skills, “we hear from employers that they want candidates who have mastered the essential skills taught by humanities fields, namely foreign language, culture, and media studies,” said Richard Utz, chair of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. “Our students benefit from a robust network of partners, around Atlanta and globally, who open their doors for internships, service learning projects, and collaboration.”
The new degrees build on Georgia Tech’s cutting-edge programs in foreign language and media education, which are internationally recognized for their innovation and leadership in the field. The success of Georgia Tech’s programs can be seen in their enrollment, with 50 percent of Georgia Tech students choosing to study a foreign language, with no language requirement, compared to 8 percent nationally.
The MS-GMC and MS-ALIS degrees offer cutting-edge training in intercultural communication and analysis in order to apply cross-cultural competence to address urgent global challenges. Instead of a traditional master’s thesis, students create a professional portfolio in their language of focus, which includes job application materials and work samples, preparing them directly for the next step in their global career.
Students have for-credit opportunities to study abroad, complete internships and service-learning projects, conduct language practicums in Atlanta and abroad, and pursue culture creation through hands-on projects. They will be able to participate in Modern Languages’ signature study-abroad programs, Language for Business and Technology (LBAT), which are available in over 12 countries including Spain, Germany, France, Senegal, China, Japan, Russia, and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
At the same time, students will be able to take advantage of the unique media production and creative lab spaces in literature, media, and communication, which include focus areas in graphic design, film and television production, science fiction, and game design.
Students completing the MS-GMC will concentrate in one of six languages: Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish. The MS-ALIS is launching in Spanish initially, with tracks in French and German planned for upcoming admissions seasons.
Also enhancing the Graduate Program in Global Media and Cultures is the FIRE-funded interdisciplinary research team, 21st century Humanities, which launched this semester as the first VIP team in the School of Modern Languages to research how humanities skills are used in business and technology fields and to apply this knowledge to curriculum development.