All cadets are required to take two semesters of a foreign language in residence.
Many choose to study much more, including some students who study more than one
language, and others who take language courses all eight semesters at USAFA.

Photo of Foreign Language students
USAFA language students at the Japanese Consulate General's home in Denver

HOW CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY? Beyond helping to understand another culture and broadening your worldview, studying a foreign language can open up opportunities while you are at the academy and influence your military career long after graduation.

At USAFA you will be taught by military officers who have applied language skills in various assignments and civilian instructors who grew up speaking the language you are learning. Small class sizes ensure you will have many opportunities to apply your skills. USAFA’s Language Learning Center (LLC) offers an area where you can use technology to watch foreign language programming, practice new skills, and record your progress. As your language level grows you will become competitive for international education opportunities ranging from one week to one semester.

After graduation language ability can influence job (AFSC) selection, and can open the way for opportunities such as the Language Enabled Airmen Program (LEAP), graduate school, serving as a Regional Affairs Strategist or Political-Military Affairs Strategist, and competing to become an Olmsted Scholar or an Air Attache at an embassy abroad.

"Americans' scandalous incompetence in foreign languages explains our dangerously inadequate understanding of world affairs. Our schools graduate a large majority of students whose knowledge and vision stop at the American shoreline, whose approach to international affairs is provincial, whose heads have been filled with astonishing misinformation....The United States requires far more reliable capacities to communicate."
--The President's Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies

"In the post-Cold War world, the most important distinctions between peoples are no longer ideological, political, or economic. The distinctions are cultural."
--Samuel P. Huntington

WHAT LANGUAGES ARE TAUGHT AT USAFA? Incoming cadets are enrolled in language courses based on placement test results, academic background, preference, and motivation. You may study Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese or Spanish--eight of the most important languages in the world. Within each language there is a broad spectrum of courses. First, second, and third year courses (100, 200 and 300 level) are primarily skills development courses. Additional upper level courses are designed to develop a broader appreciation of a particular culture, history, and literature, providing additional opportunities to develop and refine language skills.

For Lang 131/132 Basic Sequence
For Lang 221 Intermediate I: Refinement of Communication in the Target Language
For Lang 222 Intermediate II: Continued Development of Language Skills
For Lang 321 Advanced I: Focus on Conversational Practice
For Lang 322 Advanced II: Capstone Course for Skills Development

For Lang 365 Civilization and Culture (contemporary issues)
For Lang 370 Specialized courses in German, French, Spanish and Japanese
For Lang 376 Introduction to Literature
For Lang 377 Introduction to Latin American Literature
For Lang 491 Advanced Readings
For Lang 492 Exchange and Abroad Program Preparation
For Lang 495 Special Topics Course
For Lang 499 Independent Study. Generally offered to students who have completed all courses.
Note: Enhancement courses may be taken out of sequence with DFF approval.

The chart below illustrates a typical course sequence for cadets starting a language at the 100-level.
Language 4º (freshman) 3º (sophmore) 2º (junior)
  Fall Spring Fall Spring Fall Spring
Arabic 131 132 221 222 321 322
Chinese 131 132 221 222 321 322
French 131 132 221 222 321 322
German 131 132 221 222 321 322
Japanese 131 132 221 222 321 322
Portuguese 131 132 221 222 321 322
Russian 131 132 221 222 321 322
Spanish 131 132 221 222 321 322

COURSE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE MINOR:  Cadets majoring in any academic division or discipline may earn a Foreign Language minor provided they complete a minimum of four semesters in residence of the same language at the 200 level or higher with a grade of C or higher. The Foreign Language minor is required for students who choose the Foreign Area Studies major.

Image of a foreign language student
USAFA cadet selected to study Arabic in Oman through the
State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship Program