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Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Language Requirement

Trip the Bulldog Riding a SkateboardStudying languages teaches you to read well; to listen well; to write clear, concise prose; to speak privately in conversation, publicly in discussion, and formally in speeches; to judge your audience and regard your own words through the eyes and ears of others; and to do these things reasonably well in languages and world views other than your own.

All undergraduates in Butler’s College of Communication and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as International Business majors, are required to show proficiency in a secondary language by earning at least six credits (typically two courses) at the intermediate 200 level or above in the same language.

You can study the following languages at Butler:

You can also study languages at Butler's Consortium partners during the fall and spring semesters, such as the following examples from IUPUI:

Note: Until further notice, IUPUI will no longer be offering Italian courses. However, Indiana University Bloomington does.

We encourage you to begin in the highest level courses you can. You will improve more quickly when challenged and, by potentially earning more Butler Language Placement Credits (BLPC), can free up hours in your Butler career to pursue further studies in a language, enroll in courses for your majors and minors, and add general electives in which you're interested.

Special Notes
  1. You cannot use RX Medical Spanish courses to help fulfill a CCOM, International Business, or LAS language requirement.
  2. Only one online language course from another institution can be transferred in to Butler, unless it's a language not offered in central Indiana. In that case, you may petition the MLLC department chair to allow multiple online language courses transfer in.

To Fulfill the Language Requirement with Butler Courses

First determine your placement.

Then, proceed along the appropriate path:

  • Begin in 101: Complete 101, 102, 203, and 204
  • Begin in 102: Complete 102, 203, and 204
  • Begin in 203: Complete 203 and 204
  • Begin in 204: Complete 204 and 300-level Skills
  • Begin in 300-level Skills (MLLC): Complete 300-level Skills and another 300-level course

All courses must be completed with a "D-" or better (unless you're attempting to transfer in "dual enrollment credits," in which case "C-" or better).

If at any point you feel your placement is incorrect, please meet ASAP with the coordinating faculty member in the language's home department.

To Fulfill the Language Requirement with Another Institution's Offerings

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 138). 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. (Non-Butler courses cannot be used when attempting to transfer in "dual enrollment" credits.)

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.

If You Will Have AP/I.B./CLEP Credits

Placement credits that you earn from Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (I.B.), and CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exam results do count toward fulfilling the foreign language requirement.

These 300-level elective credits are automatically awarded, as long as you begin in and complete with a "C-" or better a 300-level Butler course in the language. (There is an exception, explained below.)

As it says atop this page, you need to have earned at least six credits at the 200 level or above (with a "D-" or better at Butler, or "C-" or better elsewhere), in the same language, to fulfill the language requirement.

The majority of our students with AP/I.B./CLEP scores still need to complete at least one course—again, a 300-level course in the language.

However, the exception mentioned above is that no further classes are required—and your language requirement is automatically fulfilled—if you achieve any of the following:

  • Score a 4 or 5 on both the "Language and Culture" and "Literature and Culture" Spanish AP exams, bringing in six 300-level elective credits.
  • Score from 5–7 on the I.B. Level 2 HL exam, bringing in six 300-level elective credits.
  • Score from 5–7 on the I.B. Level 1 HL Native Speaker exam, bringing in six 300-level elective credits.

If You Will Have Completed 'Dual Enrollment' Credits in High School

Incoming first-year students completing "dual enrollment" language credits—courses intended to be college level, taken during high school—should take Butler’s placement exam (available through the online Moodle system). This will allow you to enroll in fall courses at Butler. There are two important steps you must take for your language credits to transfer in.

1. Acquire Butler Equivalencies

For dual enrollment language credits to transfer into Butler, the coordinating faculty member in the language's home department must assign the credits Butler equivalencies.

During the beginning of your first semester, please bring this faculty member a sample syllabus for each course you completed, along with the Undergraduate Transfer Credit Approval Form (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). If you're not certain of the correct form, the registrar's office can help you. On the form, please leave the Butler equivalencies spaces blank.

2. Establish Competency in the Language

Credits will not be processed until competency is established by completion of your first Butler language course, with a "C-" or better, at a level higher than the dual enrollment course(s). This helps demonstrate that the dual enrollment courses were as rigorous as Butler's.

  • If you begin in and complete a 300-level Butler course, up to six hours of "200-level elective credit" and three hours of "100-level elective credit" in the language can be transferred in.
  • If you begin in and complete a 204 Butler course, up to three hours of "200-level elective credit" and six hours of "100-level elective credits" in the language can be transferred in.
  • If you begin in and complete a 203 Butler course, up to nine hours of "100-level elective credits" in the language can be transferred in.
  • If you begin at the 100 level at Butler, up to nine hours of "100-level elective credits" in the language can be transferred in.

Any dual enrollment credits with equivalencies higher than the Butler level in which you begin—or as the same course—are automatically converted to "GEN 100-level elective credit."

If you do not wish to take the placement test or take further language courses at Butler, you may request that the registrar's office go ahead and process all your language dual enrollment credits as "GEN 100-level elective credits."

Language placement and incoming transfer credits below the 300 level are capped at nine.

You may still be eligible for Butler Language Placement Credits (see info atop this page).

Download our Dual Enrollment Credits guide. (PDF)

Course Substitutions and Requirement Waiver

Course Substitutions

If you have a documented disability and wish to request course substitutions for the language requirement, please read the "Specific Guidelines: Foreign Language Substitution" section on the course substitution webpage.

(This process involves obtaining forms from the office of Student Disability Services and working with the Modern Languages department chair to complete them.)

Requirement Waiver

If you did not grow up speaking or studying English—and wish to request a waiver for the foreign language requirement—please meet with the Modern Languages department chair. They will recommend a course of action to the dean's office of your primary major.

(No form is needed.)

If You're Pursuing a Second Baccalaureate Degree

Although the Core curriculum requirements are waived for those students pursuing a second baccalaureate degree, the foreign language requirement must still be fulfilled.

Info on second baccalaureate degrees can be found on the following Butler Bulletin webpages:

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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 Chinese, French, German, or Spanish.

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Contact our MLLC faculty members anytime.