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Foreign Language FAQs

What is the difference between language proficiency and language credit?
Proficiency means skill equivalent to a specific level of mastery. Proficiency through the fourth semester of college study of a foreign language allows students to satisfy their College CASE Foreign Language requirement and/or the World Languages and Cultures requirement of the IUB General Education Common Ground curriculum. For the purpose of satisfying this requirement, students can establish proficiency in four ways, only two of which will also result in language credit. Language credit is awarded only to students who have either completed language coursework at IUB or have earned appropriate scores on AP, IB, or SAT II language exams. Students can establish proficiency without receiving language credit through satisfactory completion of a proctored proficiency exam (NOT the placement exam) administered by the relevant department, if such an exam is offered. Students may also establish proficiency by providing official documentation that shows that they have proficiency in a language other than English through formal study of that language at the secondary level. Establishing proficiency through official documentation does not result in foreign language special credit.

Establishing proficiency, with or without credit, through the fourth semester of college-level foreign language satisfies the College's CASE Foreign Language requirement (for the B.A., the B.F.A and the B.A.J. degrees) as well as the World Languages and Cultures requirement of the IUB General Education Common Ground curriculum. Other schools at IUB may have language requirements that can only be satisfied with actual coursework. Also, some majors and minors in the College require completion of certain language courses. Students should contact their school, or the academic advisor in their College department or program, if they have questions about their particular language requirements.

How much special credit can a student earn?
Special credit can only be awarded for the third and fourth semesters of foreign language.

In what languages can a student earn special credit at IUB?

Language Courses for which Students can Earn Special Credit: Department/Program through which Courses are Offered

Akan/Twi

K201, K202

Linguistics

American Sign Language

A200, A250

Speech and Hearing Sciences

Ancient Greek

G200, G250

Classical Studies

Arabic

A200, A250

Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Azerbaijani

T283, T284

Central Eurasian Studies

Bambara/Bamana

B201, B202

Linguistics

Bengali

B200, B250

India Studies

Bulgarian

None

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Catalan

None

Spanish and Portuguese

Chinese

C201, C202

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Czech

C201, C202

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Dutch

N200, N250

Germanic Studies

Egyptian

E200, E250

Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Estonian

T203, T204

Central Eurasian Studies

Finnish

T201, T202

Central Eurasian Studies

French

F200, F250

French and Italian

Georgian

None

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

German

G200, G250

Germanic Studies

Haitian Creole

C201, C202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Hebrew (Modern)

H200, H250

Jewish Studies

Hindi

H200, H250

India Studies

Hindi/Urdu

None

India Studies

Hungarian

T241, T242

Central Eurasian Studies

Indonesian

I201, I202

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Iranian

None

Central Eurasian Studies

Italian

M200, M250

French and Italian

Japanese

J201, J202

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Kazakh

T213, T214

Central Eurasian Studies

Korean

K201, K202

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Kurdish

K200, K250

Near Eastern Languages and Cultures

Kurdish (Sorani)

T298

Central Eurasian Studies

Lakota (Sioux)

L312, L313

Anthropology

Latin

L200, L250

Classical Studies

Macedonian

None

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Modern Greek

E200, E250

Institute for European Studies

Mongolian

T261, T262

Central Eurasian Studies

Norwegian

K200, K250

Germanic Studies

Pashto

T253, T254

Central Eurasian Studies

Persian

T251, T252

Central Eurasian Studies

Polish

P201, P202

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Portuguese

P200, P250

Spanish and Portuguese

Quechua

Q201, Q202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Romanian

M201, M202

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Russian

R201, R202

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Sanskrit

S200, S250

India Studies

Serbian and Croatian

S201, S202

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Spanish

S200, S250

Spanish and Portuguese

Swedish

None

Germanic Studies

Swahili

S201, S202

Linguistics

Tajik

T215, T216

Central Eurasian Studies

Tamil

T200, T250

India Studies

Tibetan

T271, T272

Central Eurasian Studies

Turkish

T281, T282

Central Eurasian Studies

Turkmen

T217, T218

Central Eurasian Studies

Ukrainian

None

Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures

Urdu

U200, U250

India Studies

Uyghur

T231, T232

Central Eurasian Studies

Uzbek

T211, T212

Central Eurasian Studies

Wolof

X201, X202

Linguistics

Yiddish

Y200, Y250

Germanic Studies

Yoruba

Y201, Y202

Linguistics

Yucatec Maya

M201, M202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Zulu

Z201, Z202

Linguistics

What if the language the student knows is not taught at IUB?
Foreign language special credit can only be earned in languages that are offered at IU Bloomington. International students who are native speakers of non-English languages may be able to establish proficiency in their native language, even if their language is not offered at IUB, by providing appropriate documentation of formal study of that language at the secondary level. See Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English. International students should not take a proficiency test in their native language to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

How do students apply for foreign language special credit?
Contact the IUB department that offers classes in the language.

Do students have to pay for foreign language special credit?
Foreign language special credit is awarded without additional charges if the student maintains full-time enrollment during the semester in which he/she applies for the credit.

Can students earn special credit in their native language or the language of instruction of their high school?

No, students are not eligible to earn special credit in their native language or in the language of instruction of their secondary school.

Can students demonstrate proficiency to satisfy the foreign language requirement in a language they learned at home with their parents?
International students whose native language is not English can satisfy the foreign language requirement by completing the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English. International students should not take a proficiency test in their native language to satisfy the foreign language requirement.
Domestic students who learned a second language at home without formal schooling/instruction in that language cannot satisfy the foreign language requirement in this way. They must take the placement test in their second language (if the language is offered at IUB) to determine the appropriate level of instruction and complete a validating course on the IUB campus to fulfill the foreign language requirement.

What is the difference between a language placement test and a language proficiency test?
Placement tests are used only to determine which language class is appropriate based on the student's current level of skill. A proctored proficiency test, if offered by the department, allows the student to demonstrate his/her level of mastery in a foreign language, commensurate with college-level study. Students can establish proficiency without receiving foreign language special credit through satisfactory completion of a proctored proficiency exam administered by the relevant department, if such an exam is offered by the department.

What if the department does not offer a proficiency test in the student's language?
If the student is a native speaker of a non-English language, he/she may use the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English to establish proficiency, with no credit awarded. If the student is not eligible to complete the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English, he/she will have to take a placement test in a language previously studied that is offered at IUB and successfully complete one or more IUB language courses in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

Can students use language proficiency tests taken on another IU campus or at another university to fulfill the foreign language requirements?
No, proficiency tests taken on other IU campuses or at other institutions cannot be used to satisfy the General Education World Languages and Cultures requirement or the College's CASE Foreign Language requirement.

Can a validating course be taken on another IU campus or at another university?
No, validating courses for foreign language special credit must be taken at IUB and establishment of proficiency must be completed at IUB.

What kinds of documents are required to demonstrate proficiency in a student's native language?
The Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English includes a list of acceptable document types. We may be able to use documents already submitted to the Office of International Admissions to establish language proficiency, but if not, the student may be asked to submit original official documentation. Students are encouraged to complete the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English as soon as possible after matriculation. See the application form for additional information.

What if a student cannot produce acceptable documents to demonstrate his/her language proficiency?
If a student cannot produce appropriate documents, he/she will need to complete foreign language coursework in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement for his/her degree.

If the student has proficiency documents, but they are not in English, will the College translate the documents?

The College does not have qualified translators on staff. If the student's previous academic institution does not produce official English versions of documents, the student will need to provide a notarized translation.

After receiving placement test results, the student enrolled in the validating language course and passed it. Why doesn't the foreign language special credit appear on the student's transcript?
There can be several reasons for this. Please check the following:

  1. Did the student earn a grade of C or higher in the validating course?
  2. Did the student apply for the special credit with the department that offers classes in the language? Foreign language special credit is not awarded automatically.
  3. Did the student apply for the credit very recently? Foreign language special credit must be approved by four different offices at IU, and the entire process can take several weeks.
  4. Is the student seeking special credit in his/her native language? Students cannot earn special credit in their native language.
  5. Is the student enrolled full-time? If the student has part-time enrollment during the semester in which the foreign language special credit will be posted, the Bursar will charge regular credit-hour fees for the special credit. The student must contact the College Recorder's Office if he/she wishes to authorize these charges.
  6. Is the special credit equivalent to language courses the student has already completed, either at IUB or elsewhere? Is it equivalent to test credit the student has earned as a result of AP, IB, or SAT II exams in the language? Special credit cannot duplicate credit that is already on the student's academic record.

How long does it take for the foreign language proficiency notation or foreign language special credit to appear on a student's transcript?
The foreign language proficiency notation should appear on the student's transcript/academic advisement report (AAR) within 3-4 weeks of satisfying the foreign language requirement through completion of proficiency (NOT placement) exams or through submission of the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for International Students who are Non-Native Speakers of English. Foreign language special credit must be approved by four different offices at IU, and the entire process may take several weeks. If it has been several weeks since the student applied for the credit, he/she should contact the department or the College Recorder's Office.