World languages & literatures

Communicate ideas effectively across different cultures. Master an additional language to enhance your study,  travel, and work opportunities immeasurably. In an era of global industry and communication, individuals who can demonstrate fluency and understanding in other languages and cultures are increasingly valuable.

Gain the tools necessary to negotiate the global literary landscape and develop skills in writing and communication, information management, problem solving and critical thinking, and more.

About world languages & literatures

World languages and literatures offers crucial insight into living and growing in an increasingly complex world. Globalization is a key relevant topic today: explore the ever-increasing diversity in Canada. By exploring literary texts from a variety of cultures, students learn to place themselves contextually in a constantly changing world and learn from a perspective of relativity. World literature students "engage the world."

The Department of World Languages and Literature offers major, minor, honours, joint, and co-op programs. Explore program offerings to find out what's right for you.

Career pathways

The world literature curriculum teaches you to write creatively and expressively, to read and think critically, and to communicate ideas effectively across different cultures.

While some graduates work directly in literature and language, for instance by teaching elementary or high school or entering the publishing field, career possibilities are diverse.

The content specific to world literature courses is especially relevant to careers in international agencies and organizations, broadcasting, the arts, public relations, as well as diplomacy, teaching, journalism, and library and information services.


The application deadline has passed for fall 2021.

Programs available

Learn more about the different degrees and programs available.

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Get in touch

Got questions about world languages and literatures? Please contact Maria Hamilton, Manager and Undergraduate Advisor.

Program website

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How many Italian words do you already know? Some of them are part of our everyday life like pizza or latte. Do you know that musical notation like Piano (slow) and Forte (loud) was invented in Italy during the Renaissance? That's how Italian became the standard language used in music.

The Italian language is over a thousand years old, is spoken by more than 85 million people and is the fourth most studied language in the world. It's a flexible and inclusive language, and its sound is beautiful, romantic and surprisingly easy to learn. Join us and learn how to order properly a bruschetta next time at your favourite Italian restaurant!

Learn more at our e-Library

How many times do you hear, “Just be yourself!”?… Drives me crazy. How am I supposed to know who I am when I can’t see myself from the outside as others see me? In this lecture we’ll see how human beings have always learned to become themselves: by seeing versions of themselves through stories. Good stories help us to try on, or avoid, different characters and situations. In this lecture, we’ll try on a story of vigilante justice gone bad and we’ll try on a nervous couple’s wedding night story. Being oneself is a work in progress and, thankfully, we’ve got models.

Learn more at our e-Library

Professor Ortabasi describing WL 201, a World Literature course in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SFU.