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Several students practice the traditional Chinese "Lion Dance"

Chinese

Do you want to work abroad one day? A major in Chinese is the gateway to the world’s most widely spoken language and to the rich and diverse traditions of a complex society. By studying in small classes, you will develop competency in written and spoken Mandarin, even with no prior knowledge of Chinese. You can also further your knowledge of China's literary and cultural heritage through study abroad in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. Majoring in Chinese will enable students to find enhanced opportunities in business, law, education, and governmental careers.

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Linguistics

Students gain advanced knowledge of structural/theoretical linguistics, second language acquisition and development, bilingualism and multilingualism, and formal and descriptive linguistics. The program offers both a Ph.D. and a M.A. The Ph.D. program is supported by a wide array of faculty and encompasses numerous research areas.

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Schleissheim palace

German

The program offers comprehensive programs in German language, literature, culture, philosophy, theory, media studies, and film that span all periods from the Middle Ages to the present. The program’s distinguished faculty members conduct research in areas as diverse as literary history and analysis, gender studies, critical theory, film studies, intellectual history, and linguistics. Students pursuing this degree are encouraged to combine the Ph.D. program in German with interdisciplinary designated emphases in critical theory, classics, feminist research, and second language acquisition.

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A male student studies at the Cross Cultural Center

Chicana/Chicano Studies

Do you want to deeply explore the Chicano/Latino experience? Chicana/o Studies is an international, cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and public service that provides students with the opportunity to study the experiences, values, cultural representations and socio-economic issues of the Chicano/Latino community. Knowledge of its theoretical and methodological framework also serves students seeking comparative analysis with other populations and global communities.

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Asian American Studies

Asian American studies introduces and expands on the Asian American experience for all students. Those in the major deeply explore culture, tradition, challenges and successes throughout a variety of Asian American communities. Accompanying the major is our internship program with the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies and the New Vietnam Studies Initiative, where students can participate in volunteer and research-based projects. Students completing the major leave with newfound knowledge and context of Asian experiences.

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A Russian building in Moscow

Russian

Are you interested in learning a foreign language that will give you a powerful career advantage? How about reading some of the greatest works of literature ever written? Knowledge of Russian opens up a wealth of professional opportunities, particularly in fields such as international relations, law, technology and governmental service. It is also one of the most widely spoken foreign languages in the greater Sacramento and San Francisco areas.

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Native American Studies

How can Indigenous knowledge systems help us solve problems and recreate our world through creative expression? Native American studies offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to studying the sovereignty and autonomy of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas and beyond. Bridging the humanities and social sciences, the major incorporates courses and training in art, literature, religion, linguistics, history, law, anthropology, environmental policy, political economy, ethnomusicology, performance and dance studies, and women and gender studies.

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A group of young women preform a South Asian style dance

Middle East/South Asia Studies

Are you interested in languages and culture? Do you want a global education? Middle East/South Asia studies is a unique major where you can learn about two different, yet connected regions of the world. This region encompasses 44 countries, and the major focuses on the Arab Gulf, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, the Meghreb (North Africa), Palestine, Syria and Turkey. Students will explore these regions through a variety of courses: anthropology, art, Asian American and English studies, classics, comparative literature, film, gender, history, music, politics and religion.

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A PHD candidate evaluates word structure on a whiteboard

Linguistics

Are you interested in the study of language structure? Linguists investigate how people obtain their knowledge about language, how this knowledge interacts with other cognitive processes, how it varies across speakers and geographic regions, and how to model this knowledge computationally. They study how to represent the structure of the various aspects of language (such as sounds or meaning), how to account for different linguistic patterns theoretically, and how the different components of language interact with each other.

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Japanese

Do you want to work abroad one day? Japan remains a major economic and cultural influence on a global scale, and proficiency in both the language and culture of Japan is an asset with many career paths. By studying in small classes, you will develop competency in written and spoken Japanese, even with no prior knowledge of Japanese. You can also further your knowledge of Japan's literary and cultural heritage through study abroad. 

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Italian

Does the language and culture of Italy appeal to you? Majors in Italian work on four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing in Italian. Students also study the rich intellectual, literary and cultural history of Italy from the Middle Ages through the present day. Courses offered include literature, film, translation and culture.

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A female student addresses a crowd at the International Center

International Relations

Are you interested in the forces that shape our global society? International relations is an interdisciplinary major dealing with today’s global problems and potential solutions. You may choose to focus on world trade and development; peace and security; global environment, health and natural resources; or peoples and nationalities. You will have access to courses from over 40 campus departments to gain a more complete picture of the issues and traditions that shape regions and nations, as well as gain the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an increasingly global workplace.

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Spanish

Do you want to connect with people from all over the world? Spanish is the official language of more than 20 countries in the world. The Spanish major program assures proficiency in all four language skills — speaking, understanding, reading and writing — and acquaints students with the intellectual and cultural contributions of the Spanish-speaking world through a study of its language, literature and cultural traditions.

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Aerial view of Berlin

German

Are you interested in learning a foreign language that will give you a powerful career advantage? How about reading some of the greatest works of literature ever written? German is the language of Goethe, Kafka, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and the most widely spoken native language in Europe. Learning German not only introduces you to a different culture, it also expands your options on the job market. Germany is the largest economy in the European Union, the fourth largest in the world and home to numerous market leaders, such as Siemens, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, Adidas and Lufthansa.

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mini action figure stands on France on world map

French and Francophone Studies

The French Graduate Program provides graduate students with a strong base of historical coverage, spanning from the Middle Ages to the present, including Francophone studies. The department also offers a strong emphasis on past and recent developments in literary and critical theory that influence French scholarship. Faculty interests such as linguistics, comparative literature, critical theory, film studies, and women’s studies ensure that students are exposed to interdisciplinary approaches and are invited to integrate these perspectives into their program.

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Cultural Studies

Cultural studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and society that highlights how sexuality, race, ability, citizenship, gender, nationality, class, and language organize embodied identities, social relations, and cultural objects. Drawing on faculty from a wide range of disciplines and intellectual interests, the program cuts across the humanities, social sciences, the law school, and agricultural and environmental studies.

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Comparative Literature

The Comparative Literature Graduate Program enables students to study several literatures in their original languages in a theoretically and historically informed context and from an interdisciplinary and multicultural perspective. Comparative literature at UC Davis provides students the opportunity to create an individual program tailored to their unique interests and goals. Individually supervised instruction and specially designed qualifying exams permit students to pursue their interests in depth and with great flexibility. The department offers both a Ph.D.

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French

Souhaitez-vous étudier le français? Majors in French work on four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French. Students also study the rich intellectual, literary and cultural history of France and the French-speaking world from the Middle Ages through the present day. Courses offered include literature, culture, film and linguistics.

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An English major performs a spoken word poem

English

Do the challenges and pleasures of reading appeal to you? Do you want to master the craft of interpreting and analyzing texts? The English major prepares students for any field that values critical thinking, clear and effective writing, research skills, and the ability to interpret and analyze textual data. From medieval epics to twenty-first-century films, graphic novels, and sound poetry, our courses cast a wide net in order to expand and deepen our understanding of what counts as “English literature.”

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African American and African Studies

Explore the history and culture of Black communities in Africa, the United States and the wider diaspora. The African American and African studies is an interdisciplinary field of study in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Students in this department investigate the history and culture of communities of African descent in the United States and on the African continent, as well as in diasporic communities of Canada, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. We also explore how social, political and economic factors shape community experience in these locations.

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East Asian Studies

Firecrackers. TikTok. Anime. K-pop. Two of the largest world economies. Some of the longest-lasting civilizations. A quarter of the world population. East Asia is confronting some of the world’s most pressing issues: pandemics, pollution, population. The East Asian studies program delves into the depth, breadth and diversity of the cultural orientations, traditional practices, and social forces that have shaped its diverse cultures and societies. The major open students’ horizons, sheds light on new perspectives, cultivates problem-solving skills, and nurtures critical reasoning.

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A professor of 18th century literature poses next to her book collection

Comparative Literature

Are you intrigued by the different ways different cultures tell their stories? Do you like learning languages and using them to connect to a culture’s arts and history? If you answered yes to either of these questions, look no further: Comparative literature is for you. We offer literary studies without borders.

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Classical Civilization

The marble statues of ancient gods that fill so many museums used to be brightly painted. Do you want to understand the world of antiquity in all of its colorful complexity? In the classics major, you can immerse yourself in Greek and Roman mythology, history, poetry, archaeology, philosophy, art, politics, religion and drama, all while building skills that will equip you for a wide range of careers.