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B.S. in Language & International Health

L&IH Program

The Bachelor of Science program in Language and International Health is jointly administered by the Department of Languages and the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences. This program pairs a modern language concentration (Chinese, French, or Spanish) with coursework in public health theory and practice. The language component emphasizes linguistic and cultural proficiency in the target language by studying specific peoples, cultures, literatures, technical language, health environments, and multicultural issues. The public health component includes the history and philosophy of public health and medicine; the organization, management, and financing of health services; the social and behavioral aspects of health, epidemiology, health evaluation methods, and health communications. Students also choose an emphasis area in either Health Administration or Community Development.

Graduates will be qualified to assume positions in a variety of settings, including integrated hospital systems, consulting firms, managed care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, as well as multicultural community centers. They can also pursue graduate degrees in community health, epidemiology/biostatistics, health administration, health systems, and research.

Study abroad of at least one semester in the target language setting is mandatory. Students in the Language and International Health program must complete an internship of at least 135 contact hours in a health-care setting, also in the target language. Internships are subject to approval by the Language and International Health Director.

Students who have completed fewer than 50 credit hours may change majors into Language and International Health with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.5. Students with 50 or more credit hours may apply for a change of major into Language and International Health, based on space availability, with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.75.

Students Share Their L&IH Experiences

By Lauren Cvitkovic, LIH-Spanish major and student worker

Lauren Cvitkovic

The Language and International Health (L&IH) major here at Clemson is unique in that students are able to combine their passions for the humanities and science. Some students arrive at Clemson with a language in mind and others start completely fresh, but the goal is for the student to become sufficiently proficient to work in a healthcare setting by the time they graduate. Arguably the most exciting part of being an L&IH major is the study abroad requirement, where students live with a host family in a country of their target language, take classes, and complete an internship pertaining to their professional health aspirations. This experience provides a prime opportunity for students to see another country’s healthcare system in action, hence where the international health component comes into play.

I am a proud L&IH major, and I had the opportunity to talk to 2 other L&IH majors who also happen to be in the National Scholars Program. Students in this program are recruited by the university and go through an extensive interview process in order to be selected for this prestigious honor. Each year, the program admits a new cohort, which has ranged from 6 to 12 students over the past four years. The L&IH major is proud to have 4 distinguished National Scholars.

I love this major and can’t speak highly enough about it, and it was rewarding to have my thoughts echoed by Carly Malcolm and Breauna Franklin. We sat down to talk about their own perspectives on the L&IH major, their career aspirations, and about the things they’re doing outside of the classroom to prepare for their future.

Perspectives on the major
One advantage of being an L&IH major is that we get to tailor twelve hours of our major requirements by selecting courses related to three career paths: community development, pre-professional health, and healthcare management. Carly, a junior from High Point, North Carolina, is interested in community development and is pursuing two minors: Political Science, as well as Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Breauna, a sophomore from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is also interested in community development, and she is pursuing a minor in Chemistry.

Clemson University is one of the only schools that has a combined modern languages and health science program in the United States, and as the value of a Clemson degree increases each year, so does this first-of-its-kind major. I was interested to hear from Carly and Breauna on why they chose L&IH as their major. Carly said that it caught her eye due to her interests in health policy and disadvantaged populations, and she liked that it had a modern language component that would enable her to communicate with the people she’s helping. As for Breauna, she chose this major because she’s planning on going to medical school after college, and loved how this major allowed her to pursue her passions in both the Spanish language and Health Sciences, a unique combination that will make her medical school application stand out.

Career Aspirations
Carly sees herself joining the Peace Corps to gain healthcare experience in a Latin American country after graduating from Clemson. After returning, Carly is considering earning her Masters in Public Health so she can influence public health policy regarding gender health disparities and reproductive health rights. Breauna hopes to dive right into medical school after earning her undergraduate degree here at Clemson, with the hopes of one day working as a doctor in community health clinics.

When asked about their career aspirations, both Carly and Breauna spoke about how the L&IH major is setting them up for success in their professional futures in a very unique way. Carly emphasizes that the crossover between health and language courses gives her the ability to communicate with the populations she hopes to serve in her career. Breauna appreciates the public health aspect of the L&IH major that approaches health issues in a holistic way. She believes that this is crucial to her understanding of how health affects people in different ways.

Outside the classroom
In addition to keeping up with the demands of taking both language and health courses, Carly and Breauna stay busy outside of the classroom. Carly mentioned that last summer she had the opportunity to intern with the American Public Health Association. Currently, she is an interpersonal violence prevention intern in Clemson’s Office of Access and Equity, where she has worked on projects like programming for Sexual Assault Awareness Month on campus. Carly is also a member of Clemson UNICEF and Clemson College Democrats. Breauna volunteers for the Sullivan Center and gets to practice her Spanish by helping with patient intake. She is also a peer dialogue facilitator as a part of Clemson’s CU1000 course for all incoming freshmen, and is working on a capstone project addressing LGBTQ issues on campus.

The world becomes the L&IH major’s classroom as they embark on their study abroad and internship experience, where they get a chance to immerse themselves in the language and culture they have studied throughout their time here at Clemson. Both Carly and Breauna plan to study in Cordoba, Argentina, Carly in summer 2019, and Breauna in summer 2020.

Whether you’re already an L&IH major or you’re considering becoming one, hopefully you’ve been able to see what makes it stand out from the other majors here at Clemson. And for those of you who are thinking about taking the leap, let me leave you with some advice from our National Scholars, Carly and Breauna. When asked what they would say to current and prospective L&IH majors, Breauna encourages you not only to choose this major, but to fall in love with it, because it grants you the ability to combine your passions. As for Carly, she urges you to stick with this major because it gives you a unique perspective that will make you stand out from everyone else in your field.

Photo: Carly Malcolm (left) and Breauna Franklin (right), two of our National Scholars in LIH-Spanish.

Clemson L&IH students

For More Information

Please contact the program director, Dr. Kelly Peebles (, 710 Strode Tower, Clemson,  SC 29634