University Studies Advisory Committee

World Languages and Cultures


This document provides a description of the World Languages and Cultures component of University Studies. In so doing, it differentiates between common component-level student learning outcomes and discipline-specific course-level learning outcomes, offering examples of both types. The goal is to encourage the development of challenging and varied University Studies courses that share common assessable student learning outcomes.


This component of the University Studies program includes courses that students need in order to effectively communicate in a language other than English. The study of a foreign language allows students to broaden their understanding of the world through the language-based study of other cultures and groups. It also deepens the students' understanding of their native language and culture. In order to reach these goals, students must be exposed to authentic language and cultural input on a consistent basis in order to acquire the speaking, reading, writing, and listening skills needed to communicate in the foreign language. Students must also be exposed to the various facets of the regions and groups that speak the language being studied. This is done through the study of literature, art, music, film, history, religion, geography, and the language itself. Students should explore cultural diversity and interactions in the U.S. and abroad, including diverse cultural values, traditions, and viewpoints.

The following are the Common Student Learning Outcomes for World Languages and Cultures. These are aligned with the UNCW Learning Goals. Each course in this category must address all of the Common Student Learning Outcomes for the category, and list these Common SLOs along with course-specific SLOs in the course syllabus. Proposals for inclusion in the category will describe the opportunities which will be provided for students to learn the outcome (readings, class discussion and/or activities, applied projects) and list the specific sources of evidence (exams, papers, projects, quizzes, etc.) that will be used to determine the level of student understanding.

The student will:
  • SL 1. Demonstrate basic proficiency in speaking and listening in interactions such as simple conversations in a language in addition to English. [Foundational Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Second Language]
  • SL 2. Comprehend text and demonstrate basic proficiency in writing in a language in addition to English. [Foundational Knowledge, Critical Thinking, Second Language]
  • SL 3. Demonstrate knowledge of the historical, political, and social realities of the countries and cultures that speak (or spoke) the language being studied. [Inquiry, Critical Thinking, Second Language, Global Citizenship]
  • SL 4. Demonstrate the ability to examine other societies in a comparative context and to understand one's own society in the context of other societies, particularly those societies that speak the language being studied. [Foundational Knowledge, Inquiry, Critical Thinking, Diversity, Global Citizenship]


Students are required to demonstrate proficiency through at least the Intermediate I level by completing a course at the 201 level or higher in a language they have studied previously through the language placement test. If a student begins a language not previously studied, they are required to attain the 102 level in that second foreign language. Most students continuing in the language studied in high school will likely take 3-6 hours from this component. Students who graduated high school more than 7 years prior to matriculation at UNCW are required to demonstrate proficiency at or above the Beginner II level by completing a course at the 102 or 120 level in any language, or by completing a higher level based on a language placement test score. Any student with sufficient background may elect to fulfill the language requirement by CLEP examination, which can provide academic credit at the 201 level or above.


  • Proposed courses should articulate how SLO 3 and 4 will relate to specific assignments and course activities.
  • Proposed courses MUST be related to spoken or signed languages as opposed to technical or professionally relevant communication.