The Global Studies and Languages Section offers a variety of programs. There are subject sequences in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish languages and literatures taught in the original; a subject sequence on literature in English translation (SILC); studies in bilingualism; and a comprehensive program in English Language Studies.

The Global Studies and Languages curriculum is arranged in three tiers. Fundamental language subjects familiarize students with the principles of the language in both its spoken and written forms, and introduce them to the culture of the country where the language is spoken. Levels III and IV language subjects provide review and refinement of grammar, study of more difficult reading matter with cultural and literary content, and include compositions and discussions in the foreign language.

Subjects in language, literature, and culture are conducted in the target language. They introduce students to the form and content of world literatures and of global cultures and societies. These subjects also offer the opportunity to develop more refined communication skills in the language. Advanced subjects, conducted in the target language, encourage students to explore the cultural history of the particular country in which the language is spoken.

Offerings in Studies in International Literatures and Cultures (SILC), taught in English, give students both a specific and comparative focus on global cultures.

Concentrations are available in a given language, literature, or culture in the original language or in English. Concentrations should be arranged on an individual basis in consultation with a designated advisor in each language group.

The Minor Programs in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish lead students who have already reached an intermediate level of proficiency into more advanced study of the language, literature, and culture. Note that language levels I and II do not count toward the minor. Also note that, unlike other minor programs in HASS, the minor advisor in each of these languages can, at his or her discretion, approve a minor in which MIT subjects comprise at least one-third of the subjects of the program. However, this exception to the general HASS Minor Requirement is only allowed in those cases in which students have received transfer credits equal to four subjects through study abroad in a country where the language of the minor is the dominant tongue.