Welcome to the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL) at the University of Miami.  Our department benefits from its unique location in Miami, a global city with a significant percentage of its population coming from different Latin American and Caribbean countries.  Originally inhabited by Tequesta, Ais, Mayaimi, Jeaga, Miccosukee and Seminole indigenous communities, the city has also been an important hub for Black and Hispanic communities that arrived to the region through coerced and voluntary migrations.  Recently, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) ranked Miami first in terms of its percentage of foreign-born residents at 59%. According to the data of the most 2017 U.S. census Miami’s racial composition is as follows (White 75.6% (out of which 67.5% are of Hispanic or Latino background), Black or African American 18%, American Indian and Alaska Native 0.1%, Asian 1.6%). Linguistic diversity is central in Miami, with 73.8% of the Miami Dade population speaking a language other than English at home (U.S. Census 2017).  The Modern Language Association Language Map identifies the following languages as the most spoken in this region: Spanish, English, French Creole, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Italian, Tagalog, German, and Arabic. Modern Languages and Literatures teaches nine of the the top twelve most spoken languages in Miami Dade County.

To contribute to this culturally diverse setting, the Department of Modern Languages offers a learning experience aimed at developing global literacy. Global literacy (GL) is the ability to participate in sociocultural practices by both interacting with others in different languages and by creating, presenting, and interpreting ideas through oral and written texts in more than one language. You cannot be global if you live in only one language. GL includes written and oral communication, critical thinking and social responsibility, and appreciation of cultural artifacts, artistic products, and new technologies in more than one language. The skills you learn in our courses are useful in many other disciplines and initiatives, such as business, communications, medicine, law and public health.

Our courses also explore the multiple contacts and interactions of languages and cultural traditions through a wide array of courses in which we study contemporary communities and cultures in a comparative approach.  Our faculty includes award winning scholars and teachers who specialize in a wide range of time periods (from medieval to contemporary literature and cultures) and a variety of current debates and theoretical approaches in literary and cultural studies, such as Bilingualism, Translation, Sociolinguistics, Colonial, Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies, Comparative Race, Ethnicity and Gender Studies, Migration, Transnationalism and Diaspora Studies, Sexuality, Queer and Trans Studies, Environmental Humanities, Cultural Studies, Cultural Policy Studies, Science and Technology Studies and Digital Humanities. To see the areas of research and teaching interest of our faculty please see Faculty by Fields of Study page.

At the undergraduate level, our Department offers the following majors (French, German, and Spanish) and minors:

At the graduate level, the Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies offers two major concentrations: 1) Literary and Cultural Studies and 2) Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics.  

For those of you interested in our undergraduate and doctoral programs we encourage you to visit us in the Merrick Building.


Yolanda M. Martinez-San Miguel. 

Professor and Chair, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Marta S. Weeks Chair in Latin American Studies