What programs does Culture and Language Studies offer?

Renison University College

The Culture and Language Studies (CLS) department offers an array of choices for students - from courses, minors, and diplomas. Enhance your degree with a minor in Applied Language StudiesEast Asian Studies, or Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures. Or learn an additional language: we offer courses in American Sign Language, ArabicChinese, JapaneseKorean, Mohawk, or fine tune your English skills

What minors does CLS offer?

Become globally connected with one of our minors.  Adding a minor to your degree provides additional knowledge and skills. We offer four minors that focus on culture, language, applied linguistics, and religion. 

Applied Language Studies

Minor | Diploma | Courses

Applied Language Studies (APPLS) courses explore the variables that determine second language learning success. If you are interested in how people learn, teach, and assess second languages, and the linkages between language, culture and identity, APPLS courses are for you. These courses may even make you a more efficient second language learner.

East Asian Studies

Minor | Diploma | Courses

Enhance your knowledge and understanding of East Asian culture and language. Our East Asian Studies (EAS) courses offer you the opportunity to take part in engaging, interactive, and challenging courses. You’ll build your skills in critical thinking, interpersonal relations, and leadership by examining real-world issues.

Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures

Minor | Diploma | Courses

Studies in Islamic and Arab Cultures offers you the opportunity to explore and learn about the diversity of Islam and Muslims through the study of traditional and modern Islamic civilization and culture. Whether your interests lie in literature, language, drama and visual culture, or history, our program has much to offer you. Our courses allow you to bring together knowledge gained across disciplines and learn how to apply it to their own research and in real-life contexts.

Religious Studies

Major | Minor | Courses

Religious Studies is a flexible program that offers several plans for undergraduate students and includes a wide range of courses. Students are able to specialize in three main areas: World Religions; Christian Traditions; and Religion, Culture, and Society.

What language courses does CLS offer?

Learn an additional language. We offer beginning, intermediate, and advanced training in Arabic, American Sign Language, Chinese, Japanese, Mohawk (Kanien’kéha), and Korean. Students can also fine-tune your English skills as a non-native speaker. In a global community that continues to get smaller, communication across many cultures is becoming increasingly important. Adding a language component to your degree will not only help you connect, but will also make you stand out.

American Sign Language


Learn the basics of everyday communication. Topics include use of basic daily communication, exchanging information, fingerspelling, cardinal numbers, and giving simple directions.


Diploma | Courses

Arabic is one of the six most populous languages of the world, native tongue of over 300 million people, and used as a second or foreign language by over 1.6 billion people. Our courses offers a variety of options for students interested in learning Arabic for personal, professional, or academic reasons.

Chinese Language & Culture

Diploma | Courses

Focusing on Chinese language, the courses also explore Chinese history, literature, religion, political and economical systems. With a fully immersive teaching environment and small class sizes that don't exceed 30, our Chinese courses will help anyone build a solid language base.

English for Multilingual Speakers (EMLS)

Diploma | Courses

If you are a University of Waterloo student whose first language is not English, you can register for EMLS courses. These classes focus on pronunciation, phonetics, presentation skills, reading and listening comprehension, undergraduate essay writing, and graduate thesis/article composition.

Japanese Language & Culture

Diploma | Courses

Build a solid language base in our interactive lectures. The small tutorial classes will help to develop your communication skills with various in-class activities.

Korean Language & Culture

Diploma | Courses

Learn the language from the bottom-up, starting with the alphabet and continuing on until you're able to listen, speak, read, and write. Our courses are based on the philosophy that learning Korean should be "easy to understand and easy to acquire."

Mohawk Language (Kanien’kéha)


Learn Mohawk Language (Kanien’kéha). This is the University of Waterloo's first Indigenous language course. The course is offered through Culture and Language Studies, in collaboration with the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre at St. Paul’s University College and is intended for University of Waterloo students in any Faculty or discipline with minimal to no knowledge of Kanien’kéha.