One-Year Master of Science in Applied Language and Intercultural Studies

30 credit hours | Available in: French | German | Spanish

The Master of Science in Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (MS-ALIS), offered by the School of Modern Languages, is one of the first professional master’s degrees in foreign language and cultural studies in the United States. It emphasizes the real-world professional applications of language for a wide range of career paths, from communications and non-profit to business, engineering, and medicine. In addition to rigorous training in advanced-level language and cross-cultural communication, students have the opportunity to go abroad to study, do research, and complete for-credit internships. Students graduate with a professional portfolio in the language of concentration, positioning them to pursue a range of internationally oriented career paths.

The MS-ALIS is available as a 5-year coterminal BS/MS for Georgia Tech BS-ALIS majors. Learn more about the BS/MS-ALIS. 

Program of Study

To graduate, students must earn 30 credit hours at the 6000 level and present a professional portfolio in the target language that demonstrates advanced-level competence in the language and culture of focus (completed in LANG 6503: Professional Portfolio during the final semester of study). The MS-ALIS can be completed in 3 semesters or part-time.

MS-ALIS Program of Study


Required Courses

Our core curriculum emphasizes proficiency, perspectives, and professionalization. It is designed to help students hone their professional-level language, master the ability to navigate between cultural systems, and apply these skills toward the next step in their career.

  • Theory and Foundations (SPAN 6501, 3 credits): Theoretical knowledge and its practical applications in key areas of culture, literature, media, and linguistics studies. 
  • Intercultural Seminar (SPAN 6500, 3 credits): Applies cross-cultural research and reflection toward the discussion of current issues in the language and culture of focus.
  • Professional Portfolio (SPAN 6503, 3 credits, online/self-paced – final semester of study): Students prepare a professional portfolio in the target language, which includes job application materials and work samples and which connects their coursework to the next step in their career.

Experiential Courses:

The opportunity to apply cultural knowledge in practice is a signature of our program. Experiential courses are project-based electives designed in collaboration with a faculty advisor. They are not required to graduate.

  • Applied Language Practicum (LANG 6510) – co-design and co-teach an advanced undergraduate course (3000-4000 level)
  • Applied Language Practicum Abroad (LANG 6511) – Co-design and co-teach part of Georgia Tech’s signature study abroad, Language for Business and Technology
  • Internship Abroad (LANG 6695U) – complete an internship in the target language
  • Research Assistantship (LANG 6698U) – conduct graduate research with faculty
  • Graduate Research (LANG 6699) – conduct independent research un the U.S. or abroad
  • M.S. Project (LANG 6998, 1-9 credits)
  • M.S. Thesis (LANG 7000, 3-6 credits)

Georgia Tech Undergraduates: The Graduate Course Option is available to all Georgia Tech students to double-count 6 credit hours of their undergraduate degree toward graduate degree requirements. Learn more about the Graduate Course Option.

Degree Requirements

30 credit hours at the 6000+ level:

  • 9 credits of MS-ALIS required core courses
    • LANG 6501. Theory/Foundations, 3 credits
    • LANG 6500. Intercultural Seminar, 3 credits
    • LANG 6503. Professional Portfolio, 3 credits – taken in the final semester
  • 21 credits at the 6000+ level

Individualization Guidelines:

This degree is adaptable for students’ needs, interests, and goals. Each student’s course of study will be designed in communication with faculty advisors, according to the following guidelines:

  • The course of study should indicate an area of specialization that applies language expertise to a particular thematic or disciplinary field.

  • Students may count up to 3 credit hours of 6000+ level coursework from another School toward the degree.

  • Students may count up to 12 credits of Experiential Courses toward the degree.

  • Students may enroll in “MS Thesis” for no more than 3 credits during the Summer semester.

Spanish at the School of Modern Languages


Spoken by more than 400 million people worldwide, about 6.5% of the world’s GDP is produced in Spanish-speaking countries, which makes Spanish the third language most commonly used for business. With more than 41 million speakers, the United States has recently become the country with the second largest Spanish speaking population after Mexico, and it is predicted to be the first by 2050 if current demographic trends continue.  

The Spanish program at Georgia Tech is designed to develop the 21st century skills student will need to succeed in today’s world economy.  Applicable to almost any career choice, our interdisciplinary curriculum will provide students with the linguistic, content areas and research skills they will needed to achieve their professional goals.

Language for Business and Technology

Through the MS-ALIS, students have the opportunity to take a leadership role in our summer study abroad program, Language for Business and Technology (LBAT)Conducted entirely in Spanish, the LBAT experience is designed for in-depth language development and cultural understanding and experience.

Since the program began in 2001, over 700 students have participated, many of whom follow their LBAT summer with an exchange semester or internship abroad. MS-ALIS students are also eligible and encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities.

The Spanish LBAT is the largest of the faculty-led study abroad initiatives at the School of Modern Languages. Students have the chance to spend the summer studying in two of four countries: SpainMexico, Ecuador, and Peru.

Serve-Learn-Sustain in Granada, Spain

An exploration of sustainable practices through service-based learning

The Serve-Learn-Sustain program in Spain is ;a semester-long study abroad program in Granada, Spain, led by Dr. Kelly Comfort. Coursework explores the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability studies in the Spanish context. Students conduct site visits and field work to examine sustainable business, architecture, agriculture, and tourism. Visits include Andasol Solar Energy Plant, Cuevas del Tio Tobas, a series of modern cave-houses, and Tropolis Museo, where students learn bread-making, cheese-making, and ceramics.

Students also complete up to 75 hours of service in a project tailored to students' individual professional interests. Projects have included shadowing at a hospital, conducting communications for a non-profit, co-teaching computer classes to local students.

There is a lot of reflection--written, verbal, creative, or project-based--built into the courses, so that students can explore how their experience abroad relates to their career plans...Many of them developed skills--linguistic, intercultural, interpersonal, professional--directly relevant to future career possibilities....I am proud of the work these students did in the local community, as well as of the glowing reviews from their Spanish supervisors.

        – Kelly Comfort, Director of the Serve-Learn-Sustain Program