Languages, Culture, and Society

If you're driven by the desire to understand who we are and where we're going, then the University of Iowa is the place for you. Because at Iowa, we're all about asking big questions. How do race and the environment impact each other? What effect does technology have on the law? How closely are culture and politics tied? At the University of Iowa, you’ll gain the skills to bring new perspectives and enhance our society’s understanding of how the world operates and functions.

students in classroom

African American Studies

African American studies examine the unique experiences of African-descended people living in the North American colonies and the United States from the 17th century to today. 

American Studies Classroom

American Studies

American studies explores the dynamics of cultural experience and aspects of everyday life in our diverse nation, such as popular culture, fine arts, institutions, values, and gender and ethnic relations.

Temple Jupiter

Ancient Civilization

The study of ancient civilization focuses on the culture, religion, art, language, and philosophy of the Mediterranean basin from approximately 2000 BCE to 600 CE. Students learn about the contributions of the ancient world to life in the present and future. 

Class viewing Grant Wood Images

Art History

The study of art history involves historical analysis and the interpretation of culture, providing a broad background in the humanities. This program is designed to prepare students for graduate work in art history, the humanities, or related fields.

The major provides a strong liberal arts background and stresses the development of critical visual thinking, close reading, academic writing, and research skills. 

View of Intl Bridge

Asian Languages and Literature

The study of Asian languages and literature provides a broad understanding of civilizations that extend back thousands of years. It gives students the opportunity to develop advanced skills in an Asian language while they study the history, art, literature, politics, geography, religion, and anthropology of Asia. 

Student taking notes near open book

Classical Languages

The study of classical languages, including Greek and Latin, includes examining the literature and cultures of the Mediterranean basin from approximately 2000 BCE to 600 CE.

Study in classics helps students understand the contributions of the ancient world to life today and in the future.

Students with a degree in this area go on to careers in medicine and law, teaching, or pursue advanced degrees in library and information science, museum studies, religious studies, history, archeology, and business.

View of Intl Bridge


French is spoken by 200 million people worldwide, primarily in Europe and Africa. French-speaking traditions exist in the United States, notably in parts of Louisiana and Maine. Knowledge of French allows you to study and work abroad in parts of Africa, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and in the Indian Ocean area.

Pentacrest Aerial

Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies

Gender, women’s, and sexuality studies is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on the perspectives of gender and sexuality along with class, ethnicity, nationality, and race. It examines ideas about women and men that often are taken for granted and encourages critical thinking across many disciplines, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.

Iowa’s program also analyzes how gender and sexuality shape people’s daily lives, and it probes the relationship between biological sex differences and the social and cultural roles of women and men.

View of Intl Bridge


The Department of German offers a comprehensive undergraduate program of study in German. It facilitates the development of proficiency and confidence in the German language beginning with elementary and intermediate language courses and extending through advanced courses in linguistics, literature, and culture.