Language for Specific Purposes Courses

LSP is a widely applied approach to language teaching that addresses immediate and very specific needs of learners who use that language in their education, training or job. Thus it goes beyond the usual uses of language in academic settings. LSP courses at UChicago are typically taught at high levels of language proficiency, and their course content prepares learners to work in specialized professional settings.

Cathy Baumann (right), Director of the UChicago Language Center, speaks with participants at the 2022 International Symposium on Languages for Specific Purposes, hosted by the Language Center.

At UChicago, LSP courses are developed in the Chicago Language Center through a rigorous process involving domain analysis research and innovative assessment design (led by experts in the Office of Language Assessment), followed by creative and data-driven course development. A domain analysis is a research framework designed to describe the language used in an identified, real world context, such as a hospital, courtroom, or financial institution. Data is gathered, coded and analyzed, and the results of the domain analysis lay the groundwork for assessing language learning; this assessment makes it possible to reverse engineer the course design. To learn more, visit the Domain Analysis page on the Office of Language Assessment website.

Students who successfully complete the proficiency tests associated with LSP courses developed under the auspices of the Office of Language Assessment will receive a notation on their transcript, along with a proficiency certification documenting their language skills within the specific domain. These certifications are valuable credentials that enhance students’ professional opportunities.

Current course offerings include:

  • Legal Spanish: Public Interest Law in the U.S. (LAWS 97123)
  • Spanish for Social Service Workers (SSAD 64400)
  • Latin for Scholarly Discussion (in development)
  • German for Business Purposes (in development)
  • Modern Literary Tibetan (in development)
  • Spanish for 21st Century Workplace Communication (in development)

For further information, please contact Darcy Lear, LSP Program Coordinator, at dlear@uchicago.edu.