Major Snapshots: European, Latin American, African and African Diaspora Studies

What is the African & African Diaspora Studies major?

The African and African Diaspora Studies (AADS) Department is dedicated to the study of the intellectual, political, artistic, and social experiences of people of African descent throughout Africa and the African Diaspora, including the United States. Students who major in AADS join world-class UT faculty, staff, and students in conversations about race, gender, sexuality, class, and the concept of global Blackness. Coursework seeks to answer the questions “What does it mean to be Black?” and “What does it matter?” in areas such as law, anthropology, art, government, education, policy, health, identity, literature, sports, and music.

Why major in it?

Firstly, AADS majors get the chance to give back to the Black community with hands-on experience through a required Community Internship course, in which AADS majors directly support an Austin-area organization associated with social justice for Black people. The department also provides faculty-led study abroad programs to Nicaragua, Brazil, and San Francisco, where students can engage with global Blackness. The AADS major molds students to be critical thinkers, skillful writers, thorough researchers, politically conscious participants in popular culture, and active community members. AADS prepares students to think critically about social relations in the U.S. and around the world, and in today’s global society, nearly every career requires knowledge about the ways in which race, gender, sexuality, and class impact transnational populations. Students interested in careers in fields such as education, law, politics, health, and the fine arts will find that an AADS major can benefit their future career and academic plans. Other potential careers for students majoring in AADS include museum curator, community service manager, cultural anthropologist, historian, human resources manager, and nonprofit manager.

Recent course offerings: The Worlds of Hip-Hop; Beyonce Feminism, Rihanna Womanism

What is the Latin American Studies major?

The LAS undergraduate program, housed in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to provide students with an understanding of Latin America in all its aspects. In keeping with the Liberal Arts tradition, the Latin American Studies major teaches students to write cogently and think critically. The LAS major is designed to provide both a general, broad-based knowledge of Latin America, through the core curriculum required of all majors, and an opportunity for each student to pursue a more specialized area of interest. In pursuing the LAS major, students must also acquire fourth-semester proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese.

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Why major in it?

Latin American Studies students learn to appreciate and develop sensitivity to cultures beyond our borders. Many acquire proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese, which are important assets for jobs in, or related to, Latin America. Many LAS majors go on to graduate school or find employment in international companies, non-governmental organizations, the Foreign Service, and the Peace Corps. Other potential careers include, bilingual educator, interpreter and translator, study abroad coordinator, biographer, museum curator, community service manager, cultural anthropologist, historian, human resources manager, lawyer, nonprofit manager, professor, or teacher.

Recent course offerings: K’ichee’ Peoples: Culture, History, & LanguageCultural Aspects of Doing Business in Brazil

What is the European Studies major?

European Studies (EUS) is an interdisciplinary major housed in the Center for European Studies. EUS students learn one or more modern European languages; gain an in-depth understanding of European culture, history, economics, business, and politics through the multidisciplinary curriculum; and deepen their interests by studying and often interning abroad. Within the major, students must select a track in either pre-1700 or post-1700 Europe. Every EUS major is required to study abroad in Western or Central Europe, and the foreign language requirement includes 6 hours of upper-division in either Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian/Croatian, Spanish, or Swedish.


Why major in it?

Today’s business and political relations with Europe allow for a high demand of EUS majors. Acquiring familiarity and some proficiency in at least two European languages is important for those wishing to travel or work in Europe after they graduate. This sets EUS majors apart from other job candidates, even in the U.S. For EUS graduates, potential careers include, but are not limited to, bilingual educator, interpreter and translator, Foreign Service officer, study abroad coordinator, consultant, biographer, museum curator, cultural anthropologist, historian, lobbyist, analyst, lawyer, nonprofit manager, or professor.

Recent course offerings: Witches, Workers, & WivesLiterary Maps of Ukraine

Majors Snapshots: Rhetoric, English, Humanities

What is the Rhetoric and Writing major?

The Department of Rhetoric & Writing (RHE) views rhetoric as both a humanistic discipline and a practical art and skill. The RHE major seeks to prepare students to communicate effectively in the 21st century, and also to be good critics and judges of the various forms of persuasion and argument that bombard us all every day. Without the ability rhetorically to reach agreements, induce cooperation, and form institutions, societies descend into a chaos of dysfunctionality, random violence, coercion, and oppression. Rhetoric is how you get your concerns addressed, or overcome injustice, how the individual speaks to power, and how the individual “gets ahead,” or exercises leadership. Subjects within the RHE major are diverse, including rhetorical theory, the history of rhetoric, rhetorical-cultural studies, literacy studies, writing studies, rhetorical pedagogy, digital rhetorics, and visual rhetoric.


Why major in it?

Analytical, communicative, and persuasive skills are in high demand in almost every profession, including law, education, politics, consulting, business, public relations, professional writing, advertising, and academia. This major aims to produce sophisticated communicators who are able to perform the sort of analyses and persuasive presentations that such careers require. RHE is also an excellent preparation for graduate-level study in law, business, media studies, literary and cultural studies, and other liberal-arts disciplines. As an RHE major, you will develop your ability to apply many practical skills in person, in print, and electronically, while studying the rhetorical and philosophical principles in which they are based. Potential jobs for RHE graduates include, but are not limited to, writer, editor, technical writer, librarian, reporter, public relations specialist, court reporter, lawyer, and paralegal.

Recent course offeringsDigital Self & Rhetoric, The Rhetoric of Superheroes

What is the English major?

The English major represents a broad acquaintance with British, American, and world literature written in English as well as its cultural and historical contexts. The major teaches students the ability to articulate and defend ideas, to appreciate the value of ideas different from one’s own, and to cooperate in reaching measured consensus about the concerns raised by individual works. The English major equips students to address such questions by offering a broad range of courses, authors, and approaches. Different ways of looking at literature, literary history, language, and culture are fostered by the diversity of our program and by the wide-ranging scholarly interests of an outstanding faculty. The program also fosters connections with other University programs, including Women’s Studies, African and African American Studies, Humanities, and the foreign language departments, which cross list courses with English.


Why major in it?

The English major at UT is a starting point for a lifetime of engagement in professions that need literate employees. Although some English graduates pursue careers in teaching either at the secondary or college level, most take the skills learned in their English classes into other fields. The English Department prepares many students for law school, where the skills of analytical reading and argumentation are highly valued. Other professional schools, especially those that require research and writing, are also happy to receive English majors. English majors can also enter the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America, often leading to careers in public service.

Recent course offerings: Deviant Bodies: Disability, Race, & Sexuality

What is the Humanities major?

The Humanities Program is an interdisciplinary honors program which offers the highly motivated and able student the opportunity to fashion his or her own course of study as a major for the B.A. degree. Each applicant to the program consults with the Humanities adviser to design a major consisting of forty-two credit hours beyond The University’s basic education requirements. Students wishing to participate in this major must complete their first year at UT before applying to the program. The major’s interdisciplinary subject may be as specific as Health Care Policy, or as comprehensive as Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.


What major in it?

Students in the humanities major develop research and writing skills, as well as analytical abilities across various disciplines, which are highly beneficial when considering the edge these skills give you in the job market. Potential careers for students majoring in Humanities include, but are not limited to, teacher, artist, counselor, event organizer, public relations manager, museum worker and curator, lawyer, editor, journalist, librarian, education administration, social worker, writer, and historian.

Major Snapshots: French, German, Italian

What is the Italian major?

Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe with roughly 65 million native speakers, and it is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, and Vatican City. The Italian major at UT aims to give students advanced language proficiency, a critical awareness of Italian, and a refined understanding of language, literature, and the arts. Major courses include those in pedagogy, language teaching, literary criticism, and cultural studies. Students who major in Italian desire a more meaningful and thorough immersion in Italian grammar and writing, literature, and culture. italy_2651976b

Why major in it?

A liberal arts degree with a concentration in Italian can be an asset to a career in education, business, historians or international affairs. There is a pressing need for qualified and dedicated teachers of Italian, from elementary schools to universities. In addition, many private companies and public agencies need managers and employees who are proficient in foreign languages such as Italian. Recent graduates have gone on to law and graduate school, while others have started promising careers in journalism, international business, government service, and teaching, for example. Many private companies and public agencies also need employees and managers who are proficient in Italian. A command of Italian, combined with training in business or science, may open opportunities in a variety of American companies that are active in the European community.

What is the French major?

French is a Romance language and the second-most widespread language worldwide after English as an official language in 29 countries. French has a long history of being an international language of commerce, diplomacy, literature, and scientific standards. It is an official language of many international organizations including the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, and the WTO. The French major at UT strives to help students achieve advanced language proficiency, a critical awareness of French and Francophone cultural issues, and a refined understanding of language, literature, and the arts. The major encompasses courses in pedagogy, language teaching, literary criticism, and cultural studies. Additionally, the French major can be combined very effectively with studies in political science, history, literature, art and social sciences, and students are encouraged to explore their interests in French through research, internships, and study abroad. french-flag

Why major in it?

A liberal arts degree with a concentration in French can be an asset to a career in education, business, or international affairs. There is a pressing need for qualified and dedicated teachers of French, as foreign languages are now taught at all levels, from elementary schools to universities. In addition, many private companies and public agencies need managers and employees who are proficient in foreign languages. The employee who can do business with a foreign customer in his or her own language will have an edge. A command of French, combined with training in business or science, may open opportunities in a variety of American companies that are active in the European Community, in Canada, in the Caribbean, or in Africa. French skills are also an advantage in many research and service careers.

What is the German major?

German is the first language of about 95 million people worldwide and the most widely natively spoken language in the European Union. German is the official language of six countries. It is the third most taught foreign language in both the US and the EU, the second most commonly used scientific language, the third largest contributor to research and development as well as the third most used language on websites. The German major at UT does not have multiple specializations or tracks, but the degree plan allows for students to focus on areas of interests such as literature, culture or linguistics. Within the major, students receive a comprehensive introduction to the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Germanic-speaking countries and to the increasingly multicultural, transnational, and global contexts that define these cultures today.

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Why major in it?

The German major prepares students to use German language skills, cultural knowledge, and analytical skills in a wide variety of contexts, including careers in education, business, industry, journalism, or international affairs. The major can also assist in the pursuit of graduate study in German and related fields (including literature, film, linguistics, applied linguistics, history). Finally, German majors gain the ability to think about cultural and social issues in their own society and the world from the perspective of another culture, along with a critical understanding of cultural history and our global society. The skills and knowledge gained from studying the German language, literature, and culture constitute excellent preparation for careers in international transportation, communications, Foreign Service, international business, teaching, and further study in law and the health sciences.

Major Snapshots: Classics, Philosophy

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is a branch of the humanities with ancient roots. The word “philosophy,” which comes from Ancient Greek, translates to “love of wisdom.” Philosophy today seeks to answer many of the same essential questions as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle did, such as “What is there? What am I? How do I know? What should I do?” Philosophy’s approach to answering these questions is systematic, relying on reasoned argumentation. Among the major fields of study within philosophy are metaphysics (the study of reality and being), epistemology (the study of knowledge), logic (the study of principals and reasoning), and ethics (the study of values and morals).


Why major in it?

A degree in philosophy provides graduates with skills in critical thinking, writing, and in particular, logical thought, all skills which are useful in a variety of careers. Philosophy is often listed as one of the best majors for students interested in law school, so it’s a great major for students interested in pursuing this route. Other potential careers for students majoring in Philosophy include, but are not limited to mediator, clergy, consultant, community service manager, public relations specialist, writer, and teacher or professor.

Recent PHL courses: Outer Limits of Reason, Perception

What is Classical Languages?

The Classical Languages major provides students with an in-depth understanding of Greek and Roman culture through its languages and literatures. Within the major, students strive to achieve a high-level competency in one or both of Latin and ancient Greek, and are exposed to a wide range of classic texts from the period. Additionally, students are able to complement their literary studies with courses on broader cultural themes in the classical world. In fact, many classical languages majors spend a summer, a semester, or even a year studying abroad—often in Rome or Athens—to study classical antiquity at its geographic sources.


Why major in it?

Majoring in Classical Languages (C C, GK, LAT) provides students with a way to develop their critical, linguistic, and cognitive skills by studying the languages and literatures of antiquity. Students tend to understand English as never before once they master Latin and Greek. Potential employers in professional fields are often attracted to Classical Languages majors, knowing of the academic rigor and sheer spirit of intellectual inquiry that this major entails. Potential careers for someone majoring in Classical Languages include, but are not limited to, anthropologist, archaeologist, archivist, biographer, teacher, curator, Foreign Service officer, and historian.

What is Classical Studies?

Classics (AHC/C C) is the study of classical antiquity, specifically the exploration of its cultures and languages. Courses offered cover all aspects of ancient Mediterranean life and culture through archaeology, history, literature, religion, and thought. Additionally, language courses in Greek and Latin provide rigorous instruction from beginning to advanced levels. Students interested in majoring in classical studies may choose from two specializations: Ancient History and Classical Archaeology. The ancient history specialization emphasizes the history and culture of ancient Rome and Greece as well as that of other premodern civilizations. The classical archaeology specialization focuses on the archaeology of the Greek and Roman world, with additional courses in ancient history, ancient art history, and archaeological methods and techniques.


Why major in it?

The UT Department of Classics is internationally recognized as a major center for the study of classical antiquity. The Classics Department is home to a diverse and dynamic faculty and a thriving undergraduate program. It also hosts a steady stream of visiting scholars, sponsors frequent lectures and events, and houses organized research units in classical archaeology, prehistoric Greek scripts, and Christian origins. Graduates have an outstanding record of success in a wide range of fields and professions. A future as a Classics degree holder could involve communications, film, journalism, biographical writing, museum work, ministry, social work, teaching, law school, medical school, graduate school, and fieldwork surrounding the archaeological field dealing with excavation, preservation, and field survey.

Recent C C courses: Water and the Roman City, Death and the Afterlife in Greco-Roman Antiquity