Certificates & Programs

Our extensive undergraduate offerings include courses in the languages, literature's, and cultures of over 16 languages. GNS currently offers four Undergraduate Majors, three certificates, and offers a variety of other courses that are under the GNS umbrella. Click on the headings to learn more about the Major requirements for each program.


Folklore is the study of informally learned, shared expressive culture of humans – the patterns of ideas, behavior, music, dance, foodways, rituals, crafts, traditions, beliefs, lore, and customs of the everyday people that define our world. Folklore critically interprets and documents subcultures and communities from around the world. The study and practice of Folklore engages both researcher and subject in collaborative finding of meaning, in open cooperation, often centering and advocating for marginalized groups. Training in Folklore and folklorist practices is useful not only in careers in the arts, public history, preservation, and museum stewardship, but also in health and medicine, entertainment and creative arts, social work, public education, law and government, gender and sexuality studies, politics and intelligence, psychology, anthropology, marketing, the non-profit sector, journalism, gaming, international business, tourism, and much more.


The German Certificate was the first language certificate offered at the University of Wisconsin. The certificate in German offers students the opportunity to develop proficiency in the language, thereby complementing major(s) in other subjects across the university. It also strengthens the applications of students who intend to pursue careers or graduate study in areas where knowledge of German is useful. The certificate in German is open to all undergraduate students, including Special students who may already have completed majors and earned degrees.


New in Fall 2023, the Certificate in Languages and Cultures of Northern Europe (LCNE) exposes students into the world of the Nordic countries and Netherlands through the Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Yiddish, or Finnish languages and a reinvigorated curriculum of what it means to live in the region, told through the stories of both the marginalized and the majority communities of the area.  The Nordic region is a leader in sustainable energy, innovative bioscience, technology, healthcare, and social welfare standards. With the LCNE Certificate, students can prepare to work in a multitude of careers with footholds in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and beyond.


The Certificate in Slavic Studies offers language and culture study in Russian, Polish, or Czech. Using a regionally-comparative framework, it places the culture of focus within a broader historical, political, and cultural context.  Students find that the experience of studying a language culture greatly expands their opportunities for personal and professional development. Students complete the certificate requirements through study of literature and film (both in the original language and in translation), folklore, culture, politics and dissent, and the history and experiences of marginalized populations in the region. Slavic Studies is a highly relevant, vibrant field documenting constant shifts in regional nationalities, ethnicities, and identities.


Admissions to the Certificate in Scandinavian Studies have been suspended as of Summer 2023.


Admissions to the ECELLC Certificate have been suspended as of summer 2023.


Students may declare a certificate in any GNS program by contacting the advisor for that program of study.  Most of our advisors will ask you to meet with them before the formal declaration is processed.

Program in Dutch Studies

Course offerings in Dutch include five semesters of language instruction as well as courses in the literature and culture of the Low Countries. Courses in Dutch language satisfy the L&S foreign language requirement, while courses in Dutch literature and culture carry literature and humanities credits, respectively. Dutch literature is also offered under Literature in Translation.


The UW-Madison Russian Flagship Program is an innovative undergraduate program that offers highly motivated students in any major the opportunity to reach a professional level of competence (ACTFL Superior/ILR 3) in Russian.  The program draws on the strengths of the UW-Madison Russian program, among the leading programs in the nation: students acquire language in context, through Russian culture and informed by Russia’s complex history. Students study Russian through active engagement in class using the newest available materials in print and online; through the exploration of texts, music, film and video; and through current news and constantly updated sources. Students learn to love Russian language and culture. The Russian Flagship Program increases students’ opportunities to delve into Russian language and culture through intensive courses, more advanced courses, and more individual time with instructors and native speakers.

Currently Flagship students who make satisfactory progression have two opportunities to study abroad in Kazakhstan; the summer before senior year and a fifth-year capstone year. 


The Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (REECAS) certificate is offered through the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia (CREECA). Many GNS courses count toward the REECAS certificate.


The Middle East Studies Program offers a certificate in Middle East Studies. Some GNS courses in Turkish may be used to count toward this certificate. Contact the Middle East Studies program for more information about this certificate and its requirements.


European Studies was created as an academic program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1972. Its mission is to bring together scholars from across the campus and link departments, courses, and people, to specialized knowledge on Europe, its history, languages and cultures, and the European Union as an international actor. European Studies maintains a roster of just under 200 active faculty members across campus, whose work wholly or partially revolves around Europe. The campus features more than 20 departments offering Europe-related courses. Students at the university have the opportunity to study almost all European languages and can choose from hundreds of courses on Europe.