Department of Classical and Modern Languages

What does studying a language at Cornell look like?

Experiential. Flexible. Customizable. Immersive.

Fulfilling a requirement?

We can help you with that, too.

The Ingenuity core curriculum requires you to strengthen your intercultural literacy and we offer languages that just might surprise and delight you with their course options. Here's what you need to know:

You know what would go well with your major?

Another language as your second major or as a complementary minor.

Classical Studies

Walk in the footsteps of Socrates and Cicero. Read fabulous myths and stories of the Greeks and Romans. Increase your word power with Latin and Greek. See the world through the eyes of diverse, multicultural societies. Our dynamic Classical Studies program offers a caring community for everyone, especially those who are curious, multidisciplinary, and creative. Our classroom is a safe place to learn a new language and to see how the past continues to shape the future. Our students learn by doing—cooking a Roman banquet, performing comedy, traveling to Greece and Italy, and learning digital practices. Latin Reading group lets you explore texts from the long history of Latin literature. In short, our students become part of a living tradition that goes back to the ancient Mediterranean and continues until today.


Discover the world through French! Our program features multiple opportunities to engage with French and Francophone cultures on and off campus. Take part in a traditional French cheese-tasting in Aix-en-Provence or hike to the top of Mont Pelée in Martinique. While on the Hilltop, hone your language skills with our conversation group and enjoy cultural activities sponsored by French Club. Broaden your intellectual horizons through the study of literature, film and culture encircling the French-speaking globe, from Paris to Port-au-Prince, from Casablanca to Québec. See for yourself how joining the growing community of French speakers worldwide enhances your savoir-vivre and expands your professional and personal networks.  

German Studies

Our lively program combines unique explorations into German-speaking pasts and presents with hands-on, immersive language classes. And that's only the beginning! Whether it's the weekly "Stammtisch" German conversation table in the dining room, Döner kebab and Sachertorte cooking and baking events with the German club, or a block abroad in Vienna, Munich, and Berlin—German Studies at Cornell is your cultural and linguistic passport to German-speaking Europe.


Delve into the fascinating world of Russian culture! Develop your language skills in small, intensive classes, where we do pair and group activities, skits, video projects, and cooking events. Join our weekly reading group to keep up on current events as you maintain your language skills. Learn about Russia’s past and present in courses conducted in English that explore issues such as Russia’s relationship with the West, the influence of politics on literature and film, and how former Soviet spies and leaders understood their identity, duty, and patriotism.

Spanish student during an off-campus study experience


Whether you choose to travel to Mayan country in the mountains of Guatemala, to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, to the windmills of Don Quixote in Spain, or even to remain on the Hilltop in Mount Vernon, learning Spanish at Cornell is a dynamic, immersive experience. From day one of Spanish 101, all classes are conducted 100% in the target language so you maximize your exposure to spoken Spanish. After a few weeks of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish with this intensity, don’t be surprised if you start dreaming in Spanish too! Dive deeper into your study of Spanish with our classes focused on literature, culture, politics, history, art, music, and the history of the Spanish-speaking world.