Middlebury College Language Schools

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Middlebury College Language Schools
Established1915 (1915)
Parent institution
Middlebury College
United States

The Middlebury Language Schools, starting with the establishment of the School of German in 1915, offer intensive undergraduate and graduate-level instruction in 11 languages during six-, seven-, or eight-week summer sessions. The Schools enroll about 1,350 students every summer; the Schools all use an immersion-based approach to language instruction and acquisition. All students in the Language Schools must sign and abide by Middlebury College's "Language Pledge", a pledge to use their target language exclusively during the duration of their time at the School.

Undergraduate instruction, available both to undergraduate students as well as government employees and individuals from professional backgrounds, is offered in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Additionally, graduate-level instruction is offered in Chinese, French, Italian, Russian, Hebrew, and Spanish; the Language Schools also offer a Doctor of Modern Languages (D.M.L.) degree, currently unique to Middlebury.

Founding and expansion[edit]

In 1915, the School of German was established, becoming the first of Middlebury's Language Schools was founded;[1] the most recent School, the Middlebury School of Hebrew, was established in the summer of 2008.[2]

Middlebury's Language Schools have historically been conducted at the College's campus in Middlebury, Vermont. In the summer of 2009 the College opened a satellite campus at Mills College in Oakland, California, to accommodate growth in the enrollments in several of the schools. For the summer of 2017, Middlebury at Mills offers Arabic, Italian, and Korean instruction.

In 2010, an advanced Arabic class was responsible for a controversial rap video satirizing the school and emphasizing the difficulties in thinking fully in a foreign language. English subtitles are available here.

Language instruction[edit]

All of the ten Middlebury Language Schools use an immersion-based approach to language instruction and acquisition; the Schools also stress cultural instruction in addition to pure language instruction. Students in all of the Language Schools are required to sign the "Language Pledge." The Pledge, which has been in continuous use since the 1920s and is a registered trademark of Middlebury College reads:[3]

In signing this Language Pledge, I agree to use ______________ as my only language of communication while attending the Middlebury Language Schools. I understand that failure to comply with this Pledge may result in my expulsion from the School without credit or refund.[3]

The focus on immersion learning and the exclusive use of the target language allows the Schools to offer the equivalent of a year of language instruction in either six-, seven-, or eight-week summer sessions; the length of sessions corresponds to relative difficulty of the language.

Graduate study[edit]

Eight of Middlebury's summer schools — Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and Spanish — offer graduate programs in addition to the undergraduate component; these are completed during six-week summer sessions, with an option of combining the sessions with overseas study. The graduate degree most often conferred is the Master of Arts; the MA in German requires one summer on the Middlebury campus. A second summer is required for the MA in Russian, Chinese, and Mediterranean Studies; it is optional for the MA in French, Italian, and Spanish.[4]

Doctor of Modern Languages (D.M.L.)[edit]

Middlebury offers a Doctor of Modern Languages (D.M.L.) degree. Unique to Middlebury, the D.M.L. prepares teacher-scholars in two modern foreign languages, helping them develop as teachers of second-language acquisition, literature, linguistics, and language pedagogy.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bread Loaf's History - Middlebury". middlebury.edu.
  2. ^ "Hebrew Program at Middlebury - Intensive Hebrew Summer Program - Middlebury - Middlebury". middlebury.edu.
  3. ^ a b "Language Pledge - Middlebury". middlebury.edu.
  4. ^ a b "Graduate Programs in Language Instruction - Middlebury - Middlebury". middlebury.edu.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°00′39″N 73°10′35″W / 44.01072°N 73.176443°W / 44.01072; -73.176443