Language Resources & Non-SPH Certificate Programs

Interested in learning a second language while attending SPH?
Planning to focus your career regionally in Africa or Asia?

If so, we encourage you to check out some of the tremendous resources and programs available on the Medical Campus and the Charles River Campus.

Foreign Language Resources

Boston University has language resources and conversation groups available to you free of charge:

BUSPH Spanish Conversation Group – organized by Harold Cox ( and SPH students; this informal group seeks to meet monthly to practice Spanish language skills. Contact Harold for details.

BU Globally Speaking program provides informal, non-credit introductory language courses for all members of the BU community. Evening classes occur once a week.

Language Link -  BU’s Education Resource Center organizes small, informal conversation groups led by native and accomplished speakers – 8 languages at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.  The best part?  It’s free!

BU African Studies Center – The African Studies Center offers courses in several African languages, and each year the Center awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students committed to learning an African language.

Outside of Boston University:
French Cultural Center

Graduate Certificate in African Studies

The Graduate Certificate in African Studies is available to U.S. and international graduate students who fulfill the basic requirements in African area studies (see below) within an existing degree program. As an Global Health Concentrator, you may find you already meet many of the requirements for this program through the courses you are taking!

Requirements of the Graduate Certificate Program:

  • Successfully complete at least 16 hours of course work from the African Studies core curriculum.  A list of pre-approved courses is available through the African Studies Center website.
  • Obtain a grade of B or better (i.e., not a B-) in each of the core courses.
  • Include courses from at least two departments or schools.
  • Include no more than 8 hours of courses in directed study or research (not including continuing student credits).
  • Complete a piece of significant research such as an MA or MFA thesis or doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars.
  • Have a reading knowledge of an African language or major European language used in African Studies.
  • Receive approval of completion from the director or assistant director of the African Studies Center and the student’s faculty advisor.

Graduate Certificate in Asian Studies

Requirements of the Graduate Certificate Program:

  • Students must successfully complete at least 16 credits of coursework (4 standard courses) in courses primarily focused on Asia, with a minimum grade of B in each course.
  • Concentration requirement:  At least three of the four courses must focus on a subregional or substantive area (e.g. East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia; comparative government, cultural/archeological preservation, Buddhism).
  • Courses must be chosen from at least two departments or schools.
  • No more than 4 credits can be earned through directed study or research, except with written permission of the Director of BUCSA.
  • Students must complete a piece of significant independent work such as an MA or MFA thesis, a doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars.
  • Students must demonstrate reading knowledge of an Asian language relevant to the course of study.  Language proficiency will be demonstrated by passing the language proficiency test of the student’s own department.  For students in schools or departments that do not offer language proficiency testing, BUCSA will arrange an assessment of reading proficiency based on a dictionary-aided, timed translation of a professionally-relevant scholarly (or equivalent) document.
  • Students must receive approval of completion from the Director of BUCSA and the student’s departmental faculty advisor. Students are expected to consult with the BUCSA Director at the beginning of their studies in order to ensure that their planned courses will fulfill the goals of the certificate program.

A list of approved courses can be found here.  Other courses may be applied to the certificate with the permission of the director of BUCSA.