About the Department

The Department of Languages and Cultures draws together research and teaching across the areas of Classics and Ancient History, Creative Writing, English, Languages, Linguistics, and Visual Arts. Each discipline offers a unique window into one possible way of perceiving and interacting with the world. We share a concern with the myriad ways people connect with each other and tell their stories, through language and other media. An interdisciplinary engagement with cultural studies is woven through our teaching and research, including a major in Visual Cultures.

La Trobe ranks in the top 20 universities in Australia and in the top 200 in the world for its Arts and Humanities subjects (The Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject 2018). We rank 11th in Australia and in the top 250 internationally for Linguistics subjects, and 10th in Australia for Modern Languages subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018).

Most La Trobe students can learn a language while they complete their degree. By studying a language, you can develop a deeper understanding of it within the context of its cultural, literary, social and religious origins. The acquisition of a second language can support careers with an international focus but is also becoming increasingly valuable for careers within Australia as cultural diversity increases and our communities evolve.

The following languages are available at La Trobe:

Students begin from a starting point that suits their language proficiency, including beginner, intermediate and advanced studies. See more information here.

Classics and Ancient History focuses on the ancient Greek and Roman worlds from the Mediterranean to regions as far afield as Britain and Persia, investigating their histories, societies, cultures and languages. Students also learn about the classical ‘reception’ of Greece and Rome in subsequent societies through the study of literature, art and popular culture and study how ancient Greek and Roman cultures have had a profound influence on later societies, including their political systems, art and writings, as well as many modern languages.

English at La Trobe brings together distinguished literary studies scholars and published creative writers, offering innovative approaches to the study of literary forms, creative writing and reading, literary history, and theoretical questions. Students will analyse literature in English from around the world, addressing key issues of identity, representation, conflict, desire, authorship and ethics. Reading in this way is a vital means of knowing ourselves as individuals and as part of our wider communities.

The Creative Writing program supports students to hone their writing skills in multiple genres and forms. Students explore the links between creative practice and literary studies and discover how writing relates to or challenges literary traditions. Students also develop editing skills in dedicated classes and in peer-feedback workshops, with a focus on current practice in the publishing industry. The skills gained are highly valued within and beyond university – to write cogently, to adapt style for different circumstances and audiences, to engage critically with language, and to tell compelling stories.

Linguistics is concerned with understanding the structure and design of language, how language relates to thinking and how it functions in society. Explore how language develops and changes, and how it is acquired and learned. Linguistics is an excellent support for students with a language major and highly relevant to students with majors in areas such as Anthropology, English, Sociology, History, Archaeology, Computer Science, Philosophy, Education Studies and Law.

In Visual Arts we introduce students to the dynamic hands-on learning environment of the visual arts studios, and the conceptual frameworks of contemporary art. Students develop specialist skills relating to creative processes and materials; critical and reflective thinking; and risk taking and problem solving. Graduates have progressed to become professional practising artists, curators and museum professionals, community arts workers, art educators and art therapists.