Welcome From the Chair

John Lyon
School Chair, Professor of German, 
and Charles Smithgall Jr. Institute Chair

Hello and welcome to the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Institute of Technology! Our rich legacy includes more than a century of innovative and integrated language and culture studies. This considerable experience is reflected in our motto “Change the Conversation: Cross-Cultural Expertise for Global Leadership.” 

Our Programs

Founded in 1904 as the fourth non-engineering department at Georgia Tech, we now offer eight languages plus linguistics and unique interdisciplinary degrees in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (B.S. and M.S), Global Media and Cultures (M.S.), Global Economics and Modern Languages (B.S.), and International Affairs and Modern Languages (B.S.), as well as a number of minors and certificates. These degrees are emblematic of our School’s mission to engage global issues at the intersection of Humanities and Technology.

Cross-Cultural Expertise for Global Leadership

Our programs and our faculty’s expertise demonstrate profound connections between the languages we teach and the engineering, computing, sustainability, and overall technology programs for which Georgia Tech is well known. We foster advanced communication skills, promote intellectual flexibility and creative thinking, champion access to intercultural understanding, and support professional training to succeed in a global workforce. Our master’s programs develop global competencies and advanced language expertise critical to a wide range of careers, from communications and the non-profit sector to business, technology, management, media, entertainment, and health fields. We prioritize experiential and applied learning as well as opportunities for community engagement, service-learning, internships, study abroad, and participation in Tech’s Create-X entrepreneurship program. We promote extensive industry partnerships with the private sector in Atlanta and around the globe.

Scholarly Expertise and Research Areas

We extend opportunities to develop a broader understanding of culture and the arts, environmental and social sustainability, and daily life in the countries whose languages we teach. Our faculty’s internationally recognized research expertise and scholarship in these areas include media, cinema, and literary studies; linguistics and computing; inter- and cross-cultural studies; sustainability and environmental humanities; memory, migration, and gender studies; new media and digital humanities; and second language acquisition studies and foreign language pedagogy. 

Educating Good Global Citizens

The School plays a central role in furthering Georgia Tech’s strategic objective of preparing graduates for global leadership. About 50% of Georgia Tech undergraduates choose to study a foreign language during their time on campus, and more than 50% have an international experience before they graduate – many on our faculty-led study abroad programs on five continents in 25 locations. Our alumni go on to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in a range of fields, in the private as well as public sectors. We are proud of our students and alums and welcome them into the Modern Languages family.

After more than a century, we remain a hub of global engagement and visionary expertise at the Institute. Come join us, partner with us, and study with us!​


John Lyon
School Chair, Professor of German, and Charles Smithgall Jr. Institute Chair