The GW Department of Romance, German and Slavic Studies (RGSS) offers dozens of undergraduate courses each semester, with the majority of classes taught in the target language. The department also hosts events for the university community that include symposia and language instruction seminars, as well as lectures from visiting scholars and poets.

RGSS faculty have published books on a broad range of topics, such as a study on book production and female authorship in 16th-century France; an encyclopedia of Russian film; textbooks for teaching in French, Russian and Spanish; and much more. Our faculty have also received numerous awards for their research and teaching, including the International Dublin Literary Award and GW’s Honey W. Nashman Award for Faculty Engagement. And our alumni have used their language and literature skills for professional advancement in the fields of government, education, business, diplomacy, law, and the nonprofit world.

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About Our Courses



The basic RGSS language courses employ innovative pedagogical approaches to language learning. Once the student has completed the basic language sequence (either at GW or through previous language studies validated by a placement exam or by AP credit), a range of courses are available for advanced language study, including topics in pronunciation, business and commercial vocabulary and journalistic style. Czech, Polish and Ukrainian courses have been offered at the basic and intermediate level when there is sufficient demand.


Literature, Culture and Film

The department offers a wide variety of courses in literature, culture and film. Introductory courses in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish literature are regularly offered, as well as other courses dedicated to specific periods, authors or special topics.

Culture courses introduce students to the historical and social settings in which the literature of a given culture or country developed.

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Happening in RGSS

Professor Cuellar and Paulette Chavira conducting a class

Dance Embodies the Meaning of Mexico

An award-winning book by GW professor of Latin American literature and culture Manuel Cuellar recounts the importance of dance to the country’s identity.

Oliver Haddow

How I Got the Job: Connecting with the World

GW senior international affairs major and French minor Oliver Haddow will begin his multi-year Peace Corps appointment in Senegal shortly after Commencement.

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Pandemic Lit: Can Classics Teach COVID Lessons?

For her Pandemics in Italian Literature class, Lynn Westwater scoured classic novels and centuries-old...

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Guiding Faculty to Online Teaching Success

In 2019, before COVID-19 forced most instruction online, Spanish professor Ariadna Pichs decided to...

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Voices of Genocide Echo from Rwanda

Professor Abdourahman Waberi — acclaimed author, poet and RGSLL assistant professor of French —...