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Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


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Germany has the largest economy in the European Union (EU) and the fourth largest in the world. The German language holds official status in seven EU countries and, locally, is the third-most-spoken language in Indiana.

The Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures offers a German major and minor that prepare you for today’s globalized world—providing the linguistic fluency and cultural competency needed to obtain a broad range of academic, service, and professional opportunities.

Led by native speakers, our German program supports interdisciplinary study with many other Butler departments, programs, and colleges, including International StudiesHistory and AnthropologyText and Ideas (T&I)BusinessCommunicationPharmacy, and the fine arts.

Join us and take advantage of:

  • Small class sizes, in addition to working one-on-one with advanced-level German tutors, native speakers, and our internationally-recognized German faculty
  • Strong ties to Indiana’s German-speaking community, including festivals and other exhibits celebrating Germanic culture and history
  • Our active, on-campus student German Klub
  • Study abroad opportunities in all German-speaking countries, including Butler-developed direct exchange programs and our annual faculty-led Spring Break Trip to Berlin
  • Internships in the U.S. and abroad, scholarships, and opportunities to present research both on- and off-campus
  • Use of our student Modern Language Center (MLC) and its wealth of movies, technology, tutoring, and lounge areas

Browse our course offerings.

Financial Support

Please read through these lists of numerous Prestigious Scholarship Opportunities (scroll down to "language study"), as well as study abroad scholarships (CIEE and IFSA-Butler) and travel grants.

Check out the annual Liberal Arts and Sciences $1,000 essay contest (typically due by January), the annual Gerstein Holocaust Travel Fund (typically due by January), the annual John Weidner Endowed Scholarship for Altruism (typically due by March), and the annual Corrine Welling Scholarship (typically due by April).

For international students, here's some advice and information on Scholarships and Grants set aside specifically for you.

If you encounter a short-term, unforeseen financial hardship or immediate expense that's impacting your academic success, please read about the Butler Emergency Assistance Fund.

Requirements for the German Major

Download our German major/minor info packet. (PDF)


The German major consists of a minimum 33 hours in the language.

At least 24 of these hours must be at the 300 level or above.

At least two courses must be at the 400 level.

Students who major in German normally include study abroad in their programs.

Visit the Core Curriculum site for Core requirements.

Skills Courses
Additional Courses
  • GR 315, German for Business (3)
  • GR 320, Contemporary German Authors (3)
  • GR 322, The German Play (3)
  • GR 330, Children’s Literature (3)
  • GR 335, German Studies I: Tradition and Innovation (3)
  • GR 340, German Studies II: Nation and Identity (3)
  • GR 342, German Studies III: Modernity and Tyranny (3)
  • GR 360, German Film (3)
  • GR 390, Topics: German Literature and Culture (3)
  • GR 401, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (1)
  • GR 402, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (2)
  • GR 403, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (3)
  • GR 467, Topics in German Studies: Age of Goethe (3)
  • GR 470, Topics in German Studies: The 19th Century (3)
  • GR 475, Topics in German Studies: The 20th Century (3)
  • GR 490, German Seminar (may be repeated with different topics) (3)
  • GR 499, Honors in Thesis in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (3)
  • FL 390, German-focused Seminar (in English; counts toward German major only, not minor; may only be counted once) (3)
  • FL 499, Keystone (in English; strongly encouraged for all senior majors and minors) (1)
Suggested Supplemental Course (in English)
  • TI 225, Text and Ideas (T&I): Literary Responses to Two World Wars (Core) (3)

NOTE: Requirements for incoming students may not reflect the degree requirements of current students.

Current students are encouraged to consult their academic advisement report in to see their individual requirements and progress toward program completion. However, students are welcome to consult the Modern Languages department chair, who determines program completion confirmation.

Requirements for the German Minor

Download our German major/minor info packet. (PDF)


The German minor consists of a minimum 21 hours in approved courses.

At least 12 of these hours must be at the 300 level or above.

Students who minor in German normally include study abroad in their programs.  

Courses Offered
  • GR 301, German Conversation
  • GR 305, Germany Today (Speaking Across the Curriculum when designated) (3)
  • GR 310, German for Writing (3)
  • GR 315, German for Business (3)
  • GR 320, Contemporary German Authors (3)
  • GR 322, The German Play (3)
  • GR 330, Children’s Literature (3)
  • GR 335, German Studies I: Tradition and Innovation (3)
  • GR 340, German Studies II: Nation and Identity (3)
  • GR 342, German Studies III: Modernity and Tyranny (3)
  • GR 360, German Film (3)
  • GR 390, Topics: German Literature and Culture (3)
  • GR 401, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (1)
  • GR 402, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (2)
  • GR 403, Internship in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (3)
  • GR 467, Topics in German Studies: Age of Goethe (3)
  • GR 470, Topics in German Studies: The 19th Century (3)
  • GR 475, Topics in German Studies: The 20th Century (3)
  • GR 490, German Seminar (may be repeated with different topics) (3)
  • GR 499, Honors in Thesis in German (counts as 300- or 400-level elective) (3)
Suggested Supplemental Courses (in English)
  • FL 390, German-focused Seminar (in English; counts toward German major only, not minor; may only be counted once) (3)
  • FL 499, Keystone (in English; strongly encouraged for all senior majors and minors) (1)
  • TI 225, Text and Ideas (T&I): Literary Responses to Two World Wars (Core) (3)

NOTE: Requirements for incoming students may not reflect the degree requirements of current students.

Current students are encouraged to consult their academic advisement report in to see their individual requirements and progress toward program completion. However, students are welcome to consult the Modern Languages department chair, who determines program completion confirmation.


Pre-professional experiences—both in the U.S. and abroad—are vital for résumés and applications. From a liberal arts perspective, experiential education offers time for self assessment and reflection.

Local internships have included the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the Christian Neighborhood Legal Clinic, Salesforce, and Indianapolis Public Schools.

For advice on the application process, please read Career and Professional Success' Guide to Professional Success, engage with Butler's Career Communities, and practice your interview skills with InterviewStream.

Steps to Pursue a Language Internship

  1. Find an internship. Helpful resources:,, and
  2. Consult with a full-time MLLC faculty member on the internship and how many credits it might be worth; ask them to be your instructor (typically, per credit hour, a student spends a combined 42 hours on site and doing reflection work)
  3. Apply for the internship
  4. While awaiting a decision on your application, draft a syllabus (with your instructor), attaching a completed LAS academic internship contract
  5. Submit the syllabus, contract, and a blue registration card (from our administrative specialist) to the MLLC department chair for their approval and signature
  6. If accepted into the internship, complete the University student internship agreement form (with signatures from both your instructor and on-site supervisor) and turn it into our administrative specialist
  7. Then, obtain any remaining needed signatures on your blue registration card and take it to the registrar’s office (Jordan Hall 180); note: it may take up to two weeks for the internship course to appear in my.butler and Moodle

If the deadline to add a course for credit passes, it might still be possible to enroll in the Internship course during the same semester. In addition to signatures from the MLLC department chair and your primary advisor, please also acquire a retro-dated signature from the dean's office of your primary major.

Special Note for Business Majors

You can request that your three-credit Modern Languages Internship (overseen by a language instructor) count as one of the two required internships for all Lacy School of Business (LSB) majors. To make the request, please visit the LSB dean's office.

More Info from Butler's Office of Career and Professional Success

Badge for Butler's Internship and Career Services

Please visit and click “Internship and Job Search Resources” in the main body for the following:

  • internship databases
  • a professional guide to success
  • job data
  • a calendar of networking events
More Info from Ascend Indiana

Logo for Ascend IndianaButler has partnered with Ascend to help you find internships and jobs:

  1. visit and introduce yourself
  2. receive an invite for a 1:1 meeting with Ascend when the right opportunities are available
  3. choose a time to discuss your career interests and passions with Ascend
  4. explore their network and connect with top Indiana employers
Indy Summer Experience

Badge for Butler's Indy Summer ExperienceThe Indy Summer Experience (ISE) program—coordinated by Butler's Office of Career and Professional Success—offers you the chance to work and play in Indianapolis. You secure and complete an internship (or similar professional experience) with a local organization during the day and, in the evenings, participate in social and cultural events. This is a great opportunity to make Indy connections with employers, have fun around town, and spend the summer getting to know other Butler students.

For more information, please visit the Indy Summer Experience homepage.

Course Codes
GR 401 1 credit hour
GR 402 2 credit hours
GR 403 3 credit hours


Independent Study

Download our Independent Study procedures sheet. (PDF)

Steps to Pursue an Independent Study

You must complete all of the following:

  1. reach out to and convince any full-time MLLC faculty member (i.e., Instructor; Assistant, Associate, or full Professor) to be your Instructor
  2. write in full—yourself, with guidance from the Instructor, in English—a complete syllabus that includes all of the following:
    1. the topic of study
    2. a detailed description of the plan of study
    3. justification why you cannot complete these studies in a regular course
    4. full timeline for completion of work
    5. how the Independent Study will be evaluated
    6. bibliography of materials
    7. reasoning why this Independent Study is important to you
  3. present the proposed syllabus to the MLLC department chair, requesting their approval
  4. if approval is granted, ask our administrative specialist for a blue registration card—which is then completed by you (checking the box next to "Enroll student in a non-published class" and acquiring all needed signatures)—and turn it in to the registrar's office (JH 180)
Special Notes
  1. Independent Studies count as 300-level credit. Chinese and German students, as well as MLLC/Elementary Education double majors, can request in their proposal that the Independent Study be counted at the 400 level. The student must provide justification and have the recommendation of their Instructor. (Elementary Education majors spend a full year student-teaching, making it difficult for them to complete the 400-level courses offered.)
  2. Students can still enroll in an Independent Study after the “Last Day to Add” deadline. In this case, the academic advisor, the MLLC department chair, and the dean’s office of the student’s primary major must all sign and retro-date the registration blue card (before turning it into the registrar’s office).
Course Codes
GR 491 1 credit hour
GR 492 2 credit hours
GR 493 3 credit hours


Honor Societies

Delta Phi Alpha

Delta Phi Alpha, the national German Honor Society, seeks to recognize excellence in the study of German and to provide an incentive for higher scholarship.

The Society aims to promote the study of the German language, literature, and civilization, and endeavors to emphasize those aspects of German life and culture which are of universal value and which contribute to humanity's eternal search for peace and truth.

Butler's Sigma Psi chapter was established in 2012.

Any questions, please contact the director of our student Modern Language Center, Instructor of German, and faculty advisor Michelle Stigter.

Phi Sigma Iota

Phi Sigma Iota, the international Foreign Language Honor Society, recognizes outstanding accomplishment in the study or teaching of any of the academic fields related to foreign language, literature, or culture, as well as Classics, Linguistics, Philology, Comparative Literature, Bilingual Education, Second Language Acquisition, and other interdisciplinary programs with a significant foreign language component.

Phi Sigma Iota is the highest academic honor in the field of foreign languages. There are approximately 180 chapters at institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and at American University in Paris, France.


  1. Junior or senior undergraduate student of foreign languages
  2. Have already completed at least one course at the third year
  3. GPA within all foreign language courses of at least 3.0*
  4. Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  5. Rank in the highest third of your class in general scholarship

Outstanding foreign language faculty members at college and universities are also eligible. New members are typically inducted each March or April.

Any questions, please contact faculty advisor Professor of French Dr. Sylvie Vanbaelen.

* = For help with this, please see the "Calculate the GPA Within Your Major" section on our Departmental Honors webpage.

How to Declare a Major or Minor

How You Declare

To add/drop a major or minor, simply complete a “Program Change” paper form in the dean’s office of your primary major.

Why You Should

The sooner you declare a major or minor, the sooner you can ensure you're on track to complete all requirements.

Obtaining a Secondary Advisor

If your primary major lies outside of Modern Languages (MLLC), it's highly recommended that you contact our administrative specialist, requesting a secondary advisor in our department.

An MLLC advisor can help you find a selection of language courses that complements your other work being done at the University, as well as help you prepare for study abroad programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Orally communicate clearly in the target language on a variety of topics
  2. Articulate a cogent interpretation of a text regardless of cultures and centuries in the target language
  3. Clearly communicate in written form on a variety of topics in the target language
  4. Demonstrate intercultural awareness and competence: the ability to understand, relate to, and empathize with people from other cultures in the target languages

Transferring In Another University's Credits While a Student at Butler

For outside credits to transfer into Butler, you must see the appropriate faculty member to obtain Butler course equivalencies (if any).

As soon as possible, please bring this faculty member a syllabus and/or description for each course you have/will have completed, along with the appropriate transfer credit request form (if the institution is within the U.S.; the form is located at that link under the first "Are you a Butler student interested in taking a course somewhere else over the summer?" dropdown menu) or study abroad approval form (if the institution is outside the U.S.; the form is available in the study abroad office, JH 180). If you're not certain how to enroll at the other institution, the registrar's office can help you.

All courses must be completed with a "C-" or better.

Special Notes
  1. Please leave the transfer form's Butler equivalency spaces blank.
  2. If the syllabus is written in a language that we do not offer at Butler, please obtain a translation of as much of it as possible.
  3. If you have not already completed a Butler course in the language, you may need to establish your placement level at the other institution. Please contact their appropriate language department about this process.
  4. Only one, approved language course from another institution may be completed online.
  5. If the course(s) will be completed during your final 30 hours at Butler, you'll need to also obtain the "permission to intrude" form from the registrar's office.
  6. Only Butler faculty can teach 400-level language courses.

Graduate School

There is a lot to consider before applying to grad school: finances, timing, motivation, the application process, job placement rates, and more. For a guide to this process, please visit the Graduate School Resources webpage from the Office of Career and Professional Success.

Career Industry Guide for Humanities Majors/Minors

Pursuing an academic program in the Humanities provides a strong, pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. You acquire the writing, critical thinking, aesthetic, and analytical abilities required to land your first job, pursue a graduate degree, join a service organization, or advance in your ongoing career.

With the diversity of Humanities disciplines, pinpointing a specific, post-undergraduate path can be wildly different from person-to-person.

What Can You Do with a Humanities Major/Minor?

Students of the Humanities are known for their sharp analytical, communication, and writing skills. Creativity and critical thinking skills are valuable assets to employers. The following are jobs Humanities students are often hired into.

Industry Career Titles
Education Teacher, Training Coordinator, Tutor, Education Consultant, College Professor, Lecturer, Online Instructor, Career Coach, Instructional Coordinator, Higher Ed Administrator
Public Policy Interpreter, Foreign Correspondent, Public Policy Analyst, Intelligence Analyst, Conflict Resolution Expert, Research Assistant, Urban Planner, Think-Tank Associate
Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations Advertising Sales Agent, Public Relations Assistant, Marketing Assistant, Communication Coordinator, Recruiter, Events Coordinator
Science and Technology Technical Writer, Web Content Specialist
Non-profit, Arts, and Museums Museum Curator, Artist, Assistant Director, Program Manager, Library Assistant, Grant Writer, Art Director
Human Resources Counselor, Consultant, Human Resources Specialist, Advisor, Therapist
Publishing Writer, Editor, Copywriter, Proofreader, Editorial Assistant
Media Journalist, Reporter, Content Writer, Graphics Design, Screenwriter, Photographer, Social Media Assistant
Humanities Associations and Organizations

If your goal is taking your Humanities career to the next level, it helps to follow associations and organizations that offer resources and expertise in this important field. Organizations you should follow and be aware of include:

  • National Endowment for the Humanities - This federal agency aims to increase and improve humanities education in colleges and schools. They also facilitate research opportunities and provide cultural and educational resources.
  • Humanities Education and Research Association - HERA is a professional organization for humanities teachers, scholars and museum directors. Here you can find important information on conferences and networking opportunities in the humanities space.
  • Association for Computers and the Humanities - This organization focuses on the future of humanities in the digital era. Sign up to receive messages about innovations in humanities and technology, networking opportunities, conferences and more.
  • National Humanities Alliance - The National Humanities Alliance is a coalition of organizations that share the joint goal of advancing humanities education, research, preservation and public programs. Follow their website for updates about initiatives aiming to boost the humanities and related fields.
Online Resources
Additional Resources

Search for Internships and job openings through Butler's online employment portal Handshake.

Read Career and Professional Success' Guide to Professional Success.

Engage with Butler's Career Communities.

Practice your interview skills with InterviewStream.

For More Information

Please visit Butler's Office of Career and Professional Success.

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Extracurricular Activities

Kaffeestunde and Spielstunde

Enjoy free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, snacks, games, and conversation in German. Held multiple times each semester in our student Modern Language Center for students of all levels. 

German Klub

Founded in 2003, this student group provides you the chance to create and participate in German events for fun and for social, service, and academic development—including trips to Hofbräuhaus in Cincinnati and Chicago Christkindlmarket, visits to Perk Up Cafe and Heidelberg Haus Cafe, volunteering at various local events such as making Zuckertüten (IgeL Schule), GermanFest (Athenaeum), and Karneval (Athenaeum), and dinner at the Rathskeller, an authentic German restaurant in Indianapolis.

Visit our Facebook page.


Join us for evening movie showings on our student Modern Language Center's big screen, where you can enjoy popcorn and snacks, curled up on our comfy couches.

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Words From Alumni

Studying German at Butler allowed me to fully realize the potential of a liberal arts education. Not only was I learning a foreign language, but the classes I took taught me history, social science, literature, and business from a new perspective. What I learned in my German classes directly benefited me in all my undergraduate studies. —Sean Saxe

"As a part of my German major at Butler, I completed a summer internship with Caritas Jugendmigrationsdienst (Youth Migration Services) in Berlin, Germany. In addition to traveling, practicing German, and living in one of the coolest cities in Europe, my internship also gave me valuable work experience in the nonprofit sector."

—Avery Stearman

"After graduating, I spent seven months near Cologne, Germany working for Bayer CropScience, and it was an amazing experience. To immerse yourself in the language and culture of a country not your own—German classes and being part of the German Klub at Butler gave me the foundation I needed to have the courage to do that, and I am forever grateful."

—Sarah Strobl

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Service Learning Opportunities

IGeL Schule (Indianapolis German Language Institute)

The IGeL Schule is a school for bilingual children aged 0-12. The school is run by the German-speaking parents and generally meets Tuesday afternoons at the Athenaeum in downtown Indianapolis. Children learn and play in groups according to age led by at least two teachers.

Indianapolis German School (Samstagschule)

The Indianapolis German School is a language immersion program for children. It generally meets Saturday mornings at the International School of Indiana. The Indianapolis German School is an outreach program of the IUPUI Department of World Languages and Cultures. Teachers are native or bilingual speakers. Children of all language abilities are welcome. 

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What Bulldogs Dream, We Do

Julie O'Mara

German Alumna Julie O'MaraGerman and vocal performance double major Julie O'Mara went home, sort of, when she left for her 10-month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Germany.

When she was 9, O'Mara's father was transferred to Germany, and the family spent five years there.

"I'm so excited to get to go back," she said. "Since I've already lived in Germany, I have some sort of vision of what it's going to be like. I want to continue my German practice and continue learning the language.

"I want to be fluent. That's my goal."

O'Mara won her Fulbright, in part, by discussing her interest in musical theater—including performing in Indy productions of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar—and how to incorporate musical performance into her teaching.

"If I could get involved or help start a school program where we could do music—that was definitely part of my application," she said. "That's what they were interested in as a [method] of teaching English.”

O'Mara came to Butler from Flemington, New Jersey. Butler initially wasn’t on her radar, but then she heard about the University when the men’s basketball team went to its first Final Four.

I fell in love with Butler as soon as I got here. —Julie O'Mara

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Primed for Professional Success

Logos of German SubsidiariesAchieving a high proficiency in German primes you for success in the U.S. and on the international stage in the humanities, science, business, law, medicine, and more.

Many of the biggest organizations in the western hemisphere are actually German subsidiaries:

Daimler Group, T-Mobile, Siemens, BASF, BMW, Allianz, Robert Bosch, Bayer, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, ThyssenKrupp, Volkswagen, Lufthansa, SAP, and Adidas

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Leading, The Butler Way

Butler Alumna First Female African American Graduate in IndianaGertrude Amelia Mahorney—the first female African-American graduate of any Indiana college or university—graduated from Butler with a bachelor's degree in 1887, specializing in German. Mahorney then earned her master's degree from Butler two years later (the same year her younger brother John earned his bachelor's degree from Butler).

Mahorney was born in Indianapolis near the end of the Civil War. Following a year living in London’s East End in 1877, her family moved to Indianapolis' east-side Irvington neighborhood in 1879 with the hope Gertrude and John would attend Butler.

Degrees in hand, Mahorney taught German for many years in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

In addition to teaching German, she translated German stories into English for Indianapolis newspapers.

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Learn a Language With Us. Take On the World.

Study at Butler and you'll broaden your global perspectives, traveling abroad for immersive language and cultural studies, and engaging with active polylingual and multicultural communities here in Indianapolis.

Modern Languages Flickr AccountCheck out pictures documenting students' adventures in our department’s Flickr account.

Have pictures of your own?

Each year our student Modern Language Center (MLC) collects submissions for a photo contest, for which winning entries get framed and displayed in the MLC, and small gifts are awarded to the photos’ owners.

Each year’s entries are typically due by April. More information can be found on the MLC's webpage.

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Liberal Arts Core Values

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Mission StatementWe are proud to be part of Butler's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), working every day to infuse your education with the best the Humanities have to offer.

The College's faculty have put into writing how we intend to do so.

Read our LAS Core Values in English.

Read our LAS Core Values in German.

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Contact our MLLC faculty members anytime.