Center for Language Studies

Certificate in Intercultural Competence

Intercultural Competence defines the ability to apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes acquired through the study of languages and cultures in order to challenge prejudices, build alliances and create a just and peaceful world.

The Certificate in Intercultural Competence acknowledges that in an ever more interconnected world and society, with more opportunities for collaboration as well as situations of conflict, students need to understand and respect other cultures.  By approaching language study, area studies courses and experiential learning through a critical lens focused on developing intercultural competence, students prepare themselves for a future after Brown working with people from all over the world, be it in industry, business, the university or in social justice work, anywhere where multicultural and multilingual groups work together.

Although students often learn more than one language, students must choose one language of focus for the certificate. Currently the certificate is available for these languages: Arabic, American Sign Language, Czech, German, Hindi, Nahuatl, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Yoruba and languages learned through independent study. Students may not pursue this certificate in the same language as their concentration.

Don’t see your language on this list? Please contact that language department and ask permission to have two courses in that language count towards the language study electives.

Certificate Requirements 

Core Courses

  • LANG 0800 Theory and Practice of Intercultural Competence (1 credit) - offered every semester
  • LANG 1800 Prerequisite (online assignments completed during internship or study abroad)
  • LANG 1800 Capstone Seminar in Intercultural Competence (0.5 credit) - offered in the spring semester

Language Study Electives 

  • 2 courses taught in the same language and in the language needed for the experiential learning component (study abroad or internship). Please consult Brown's Course Bulletin for details about which language courses count toward the certificate.  

Area Perspectives Elective 

  • 1 course from a variety of disciplines (history, linguistics, anthropology, IAPA, etc) that relates to the language chosen for the certificate. This course may be in English or in the language you are learning. Please consult Brown's Course Bulletin for the full list of available courses. Additional courses are added frequently. If you have questions about the area perspectives requirement, please email the CIC Faculty Advisor.

Experiential Learning Opportunity


Read about your eligibility for the CIC here.

You can find a visual of the pathway through the certificate here.

This document can help you keep track of your requirements for the certificate. You will be prompted to make a copy for yourself. 


Students can take courses that count toward the certificate at any time but are only allowed to declare the certificate when they are in their 5th and 6th semester. 

Students will use to declare. Please go to degree progress > declarations > certificates to enroll!


Please contact the Director of the Center for Language Studies - - with any questions about the Certificate in Intercultural Competence.