Departmental Distinction

Departmental Distinction recognizes exceptional achievement within your Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (MLLC) major(s).

These honors are awarded at graduation, and—under the tutelage of our faculty members, Butler’s Career and Professional Success office (CaPS), and the Engaged Learning Center (ELC), as well as participation in our FL 499, Senior Keystone and various Honors Thesis courses—they illustrate the depth of your liberal arts education on post-Commencement applications for grad schools and service organizations, as well as on résumés in the pursuit of professional or governmental employment.

Download our Departmental Distinction packet.

Honors Levels Obtainable

Departmental Distinction

  • 3.6 or above GPA within MLLC major
  • These are awarded automatically and require no further work on your part

Departmental High Distinction

Departmental Highest Distinction

* = The STAMP Assessment examines four proficiencies in the target language. You must score at least one “Advanced Low” and nothing below “Intermediate High.” Full information can be found below.

Where to Begin

Calculate the GPA Within Your Major

  1. Download and use the Individualized Major’s Excel “Application Form” workbook (found on the webpage at that link).
  2. On the bottom row of tabs in the Excel file, click on “Courses.”
  3. Enter as much information as you can about the courses you’ve completed—with a “C-” or better—that count toward your MLLC major. Don’t forget “FL” courses (up to three credits; Foreign Language classes taught in a language other than Chinese, French, German, or Spanish) or RX/BSHS Spanish (up to six credits of eligible Medical Spanish courses at the 300 level). As a reminder of the courses you’ve completed, view your unofficial transcript via my.butler.
  4. Placement credits and pass/fail courses—including those transferred into Butler from other institutions both stateside and study abroad—are not included in your GPA calculation.
  5. Compare your calculated GPA with the minimums listed atop this webpage.

Note: Be sure to include in-progress and anticipated, future courses.

Acquire an Honors Advisor

Students completing a Departmental Honors Thesis  must acquire a Departmental Distinction advisor (and thesis readers) no later than the first semester of their third year.

You must approach and secure a full-time, MLLC faculty member (at the “Lecturer” or various “Professor” levels) to be your Departmental Distinction advisor.

Establish a Plan

Decide if You Will Complete a Thesis, the STAMP Proficiency Assessment, or Both

If you’ll be completing the process of researching and writing an Honors Thesis—whether for Departmental High or Highest Distinction—please carefully read through and follow the instructions on the University-wide Honors Program’s Thesis webpage. Pay special attention to the timeline, which starts early in your Butler career!

Note: Your Honors Thesis can be written in English. However, you must submit an abstract for your Honors Thesis in the target language. Also, a significant portion of the primary sources and/or data collection and quotes should be in the target language.

If you’ll be completing the  STAMP Proficiency Assessment—whether for Departmental High or Highest Distinction—please carefully read through and follow all of the instructions below.

Consider Enrolling in CN/FR/GR/SP 499, Honors Thesis

If you’ll be writing an Honors Thesis for Departmental High or Highest Distinction, you may find this course helpful. It is best taken in your second-to-last semester.

The objective is to equip you with research techniques, terminology, methodology, and other language-specific knowledge that you’ll need in order to successfully complete a thesis proposal and undertake the thesis.

Again, your Honors Thesis can be written in English. However, you must submit an abstract for your Honors Thesis in the target language. Also, a significant portion of the primary sources and/or data collection and quotes should be in the target language.

Note: Your Instructor will be the Modern Languages faculty member that you approached and secured to be your Departmental Distinction Advisor.

Consider Enrolling in FL 499, Senior Keystone

It is strongly suggested that you enroll in our FL 499, Senior Keystone course during your final year—an experience supplementing and supporting the final days of your Departmental Distinction process (in addition to life Day One, post-Commencement).

Note: The course is pass/fail, one credit, in English, and does not count toward your MLLC major.

Prepare for Your Presentation(s)

Whether you complete the STAMP Proficiency Assessment) and/or an Honors Thesis, all completed works must be presented in-person.

The completed Honors Thesis—after receiving approval from the MLLC department chair and acquiring the required signatures on the Certification Page (primary and secondary readers, as well as the Honors Program coordinator)—requires an oral/public presentation at Butler’s Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) or other regional conference, in front of MLLC faculty and students, or at an alternative venue approved by the Honors Program office.

Prepare for the STAMP Proficiency Assessment (if applicable)

If you’re completing the examination process, it includes the STAMP Proficiency Assessment.

The Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) assessment is an internationally-recognized exam that determines your language proficiency in four domains (Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking). STAMP is web-based and computer-adaptive, with real-world questions on topics selected to be level-appropriate based on research into topics taught at each level. The questions will engage you and, because it is adaptive, you’ll be able to demonstrate your actual proficiency levels without pre-set upper limits. The exam was originally developed by the Center for Applied Second Language Studies, a National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Oregon, and funded by the US Department of Education. The exam has been validated by field testing and expert panels. The STAMP Assessment Exam is a secure test that will be taken on Butler’s campus, proctored by a Modern Languages faculty member.

For each of the exam’s four sections, you’ll receive a STAMP Benchmark Level score. The scores are grouped by major levels (Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced). Within each major level are three sub-levels, aligned to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) low, mid, and high designations.

You must score:

  1. at least one “Advanced Low” or higher, AND
  2. nothing below “Intermediate High”

For specific questions about the STAMP Proficiency Assessment or ACTFL standards, please contact our student Modern Language Center’s faculty director.