Study a language

Women dressed in saris

Whether you’re a complete beginner or already a confident speaker, La Trobe’s language courses offer you the perfect starting point. Build valuable language skills, advance your career and gain a rich understanding of the world’s cultures.

Study your way

There are many ways to study a language at La Trobe. You could complete a specialised qualification, such as the Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics, or you could complete a Diploma in Languages alongside another degree. Choose the best option for you.

Option 1: Study a Diploma of Languages

Dive deep into your chosen language with a Diploma in Languages. You can study a Diploma in addition to your chosen degree or as a standalone qualification.

Find out more about our Diploma in Languages.

Option 2: Study a Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics

If you are passionate about language and want to delve into the mechanics behind how we communicate, La Trobe’s Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics offers the opportunity to explore language from multiple perspectives.

In this fascinating degree, you’ll study one compulsory language major, with the option to study an additional language major or multiple further languages as minors and/or electives.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Languages and Linguistics.

Option 3: Choose a language as a core major

Combine your language studies with your dream Bachelor’s degree. You can study a language as a core major in these degrees:

When you study a Bachelor’s degree, you can potentially study more than one language at a time. Chat with us to find out more.

Option 4: Choose a language as an open access major or minor

Want to study a language as a major, but your chosen Bachelor’s degree isn’t listed above? We have options for you.

Many of our Bachelor’s degrees let you to choose a major or minor from outside your main study area – we call them ‘open access’ majors and minors.

You can choose to study a wide range of languages as an open access major or minor. Explore the full list.

Option 5: Choose a language as an elective

Want to try out a language before committing to a full major or minor?

If you’re studying a degree which includes electives from anywhere in the university, you can undertake a language as an elective. With a range of starting points – from beginner to advanced – you can study at a level that matches your current competency.

Option 6: Studying at another university but want to learn a language with us?

If you’re studying a degree at another institution, you may be able to undertake a language major, minor or elective(s) with La Trobe through a cross-institutional enrolment.

Talk to our friendly team to find out more.

Choose your language

You can choose from a wide range of languages. You’ll start at the level that’s most suited to your current proficiency and lets you further develop your skills. Options range from beginner to advanced and extended*, meaning no matter where you start you will graduate with more advanced skills.

*The starting proficiency levels for each language varies. Please refer to your preferred language major or minor for further information.

Auslan (minor only)

Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is the language of the Australian Deaf community and is used by thousands of deaf and hard of hearing people across the country. It represents one of two sign language traditions in Australia, alongside First Nations signed languages. Auslan has evolved from the sign languages brought to Australia during the early nineteenth century by deaf convicts and settlers from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Auslan has been called a dialect of British Sign Language (BSL) and, undoubtedly, the two sign languages are very closely related (both sign languages are also related to New Zealand Sign Language, or NZSL).

Although the many sign languages around the world are distinct from each other, they appear to be more similar to each other than unrelated spoken languages, sometimes sharing some items of vocabulary, and some key aspects of grammar, such as the use of space and facial expression. This means that learning one sign language, such as Auslan, makes it easier to learn other sign languages.

Learn more about Auslan.

Chinese studies

The Chinese studies program will enable you to understand and use an increasingly significant world language. Chinese is spoken by nearly one-fifth of the global population, predominantly in the world’s second-largest economy, China. The Chinese studies program will give you the opportunity to develop skills in oral and written Chinese (Mandarin), and enhance your understanding in China’s past (culture and tradition) and present (economy and technology). At more advanced levels, specialist subjects are available in Chinese for academic and professional purposes—these will help you develop your integrated communication skills to a professional level.

Studying Chinese language and culture will give you an advantage in a range of industries and area of government, given that China has been Australia’s largest trading partner since 2007. You will have the opportunity to enrol in overseas programs to extend your language skills in-country. The program offers four entry-levels to cater to your proficiency in the Chinese language. You may enrol at beginners, intermediate, advanced or extension levels depending on your background and experience.

Learn more about Chinese studies.

French studies

The French studies program enables you to participate in a dialogue with the French-speaking world by developing your proficiency in the language and your knowledge of French history, society and culture. The French studies program will give you access to a vast network of international communication and a rich body of literary, historical and scientific knowledge. French is spoken on all continents and in various organisations such as the United Nations and Médecins Sans Frontières. The language prepares you to excel in numerous fields including education, translating and interpreting, foreign affairs and trade, international law and humanitarian work. You will be strongly encouraged to apply for an exchange program with one of La Trobe’s partner universities in France*.

You should enrol in the appropriate stream at first-year level: beginners (students with little or no prior knowledge of French), intermediate (students with Year 11 French or equivalent), advanced (students with Year 12 French or equivalent) or extended (native or near-native competency).

Learn more about French studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Greek studies

The Greek studies program offers you the opportunity to study aspects of Greek language, culture, history and politics from the ancient world to contemporary Greece. In this program you will develop a critical understanding of the evolution of Greek culture in its original homeland and the diaspora, including multicultural Australia. Melbourne’s large Greek community provides you with a stimulating cultural and social environment in which to observe and practise what you learn. You can pair language subjects at a variety of levels with cultural subjects focussed on ancient and modern Greek literature, history and society.

The skills obtained in this program will prepare you for a variety of work including teaching, translating, interpreting, health, banking, tourism, and related industries in Australia and overseas. You will also be encouraged to study in Greece or Cyprus through exchange programs or La Trobe’s overseas short study program “Connecting with Language and Culture in Greece.”* Depending on your prior knowledge and/or qualifications in the Greek language, you may commence at beginners, intermediate, advanced (post-VCE) or extended levels.

Learn more about Greek studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Hindi studies

The Hindi studies program introduces you to one of the most widely spoken languages in the world—a language with around half a billion speakers, the language of Bollywood cinema, and one of the fastest growing community languages in Australia. Hindi is the ideal subject for students who want to study Indian culture, religion, media or politics. Hindi also gives you access to the larger linguistic world of South Asia, including competence in Urdu. Knowledge of Hindi is welcome in many professional fields, including media, diplomacy and healthcare. India is Australia’s 5th largest trading partner, and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, making Hindi crucial for international trade and business. Opportunities are available for you to study in India*, where you take courses on Indian politics, society and history, as well as improve your language skills. Students with no prior knowledge of the language should enrol in beginners Hindi, where they develop competence in speaking, reading, writing and understanding Hindi in everyday social contexts. Students with prior knowledge of Hindi should consult with the instructor to determine which of the intermediate or advanced subjects are appropriate.

Learn more about Hindi studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Italian studies

In the Italian studies program you will combine the study of the language with the study of Italian culture, literature, cinema, history and translation. The primary focus of this program is on contemporary Italy, but you can explore aspects of early modern, Renaissance and twentieth-century Italy in selected subjects. The program in Italian studies provides you with the opportunity to develop your written, spoken and comprehension skills in Italian to a high level, while enhancing your critical thinking skills, and becoming proficient at analysing texts and at presenting reasoned arguments. Studying Italian will equip you with valuable communication skills. Recent graduates of Italian studies have found employment in teaching, diplomacy, government, social work, art history and restoration, international business, publishing, journalism, tourism, and translating and interpreting. Students of Italian are encouraged to consider spending one or two semesters studying at an Italian university as part of an approved exchange program.*  Italian is taught at a number of levels starting from beginners. For those with prior knowledge of and/or qualifications in the language, a placement test and interview may be used to determine the appropriate stream for a student.

Learn more about Italian studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Japanese studies

In Japanese studies, you'll build competence in the modern Japanese language and study Japanese society, civilisation and culture. You'll learn to see the world from multiple perspectives through the study of language and a very different society. Learn from enthusiastic staff who specialise in sociology and anthropology of education, minorities, Koreans in Japan, gender, literary studies and popular culture. Japanese is one of the major language subjects in Australian primary and secondary schools.

Graduates of Japanese studies have found employment in teaching, hospitality industry, diplomacy, government, international business, publishing, tourism, and translating, both in Japan and Australia. You are encouraged to participate in an exchange program (one or two semesters) at one of the 12 universities that La Trobe has exchange agreements with.*

Japanese is taught at a number of levels, from beginners through to advanced. A placement test and interview may be used to determine a student’s suitability for entry level.

Learn more about Japanese studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Spanish studies

In the Spanish studies program, you will learn the Spanish language and about Spanish and Latin American history and cultures. Spanish is one of the world's major languages and the first language of more than 400 million people. As well as developing your language skills, you can take subjects in Spanish and Latin American culture, linguistics, translation, literature and film. Learning Spanish will give you highly employable communication skills in a competitive globalised labour market. It is also important in international development and diplomatic contexts as an official language of the United Nations and the World Bank. As part of this program, you are encouraged to apply to do in-country study programs in Spanish through the university’s exchange programs.* These are available in Spain and in various Latin American countries. You can major in Spanish Studies no matter your skill level. Depending on your prior knowledge of and/or qualifications in the Spanish language you will start at beginners, intermediate, advanced or extended.

Learn more about Spanish studies.

*Opportunities for overseas travel may be impacted by government travel restrictions

Study abroad

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and language you are studying. If you study a language at La Trobe, you can put your language skills to use by entering the Study Abroad program. This program lets you choose between an exchange or short-term program. In some cases, you can complement your language study with faculty study tours in archaeology, history, international relations, politics, and European studies.