ICS Language Courses

Because language knowledge is crucial to deeper historical, political and cultural understanding, as well as social and professional functioning in a variety of settings, the ICS major requires two years (four full courses) in one non-English language used in the Region concentration.

Fulfilling the Requirement

These courses may be taken at Duke, at UNC, in Study Abroad programs, or may be approved transfer courses taken after secondary school at another accredited college or university.

College Board, IB, or other pre-university language courses, knowledge, or exams cannot be counted toward this requirement.

Language courses can begin at any level.

Half-credit language tutorials can be combined, so that two tutorials equals one full course.


Students are encouraged to study an underrepresented or indigenous language relevant to their region concentration if they have such an opportunity (e.g. in a study abroad program). It may count toward the four course requirement in combination with another language that counts toward the region.

One advanced language course (taken on campus or during study away) may double count in the appropriate Region or Global category, but only if its content is determined to meet Region or Global criteria. Please see the FAQ on "Non-English language courses that may count or double count."

Barring other restrictions, up to four university content courses offered in a non-English language may count toward the ICS Language requirement (these are typically NOT language training courses). 

Research Methods Option

Starting with the Class of 2025, ICS majors may substitute one Research Methods class for an ICS Language course, and take three language courses to fulfill the ICS language requirement. Research Methods courses teach key ways of constructing knowledge in the humanities and social sciences, ethical and political issues in research design, and ways of co-designing, presenting, and sharing research with different communities.

Also starting with the Class of 2025, an ICS major who is already fluent in a language corresponding to their declared focus region, and who gains approval from the DUS, may substitute up to two designated Research Methods courses for ICS Language courses. Furthermore, while they must take two ICS Language courses for their ICS major, these students may fulfill their remaining language course requirement for ICS in a language not corresponding to their regional focus.



Applicable Languages

Languages listed below fulfill the ICS Language co-requisite. Specific information for Duke-courses can be found by following the links below.

Africa Region: Arabic, French, Portuguese, or any indigenous language.
China and East Asia Region: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or any indigenous language.
Europe Region: French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, or any indigenous language. 
Latin America and the Caribbean Region: Creole, French (Caribbean), Portuguese, Spanish, or any indigenous language.
Middle East Region: Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, or any indigenous language. 
Russia and Central Asia Region: Persian, Turkish, Russian or any indigenous language.
South Asia Region: Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, or any indigenous language.