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Foreign Language FAQs

What is the difference between language proficiency and language credit? Which do I need for my degree?
Proficiency means skill equivalent to a specific level of mastery. Proficiency through the 4th semester of college study of a foreign language allows students to satisfy their College and/or IUB General Education Common Ground foreign language requirement. 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 earned appropriate scores on AP, IB, or SAT II language exams. Students can establish proficiency without receiving foreign language special credit through satisfactory completion of a proctored proficiency exam (NOT the placement exam) administered by the relevant department, if such an exam is offered by the department. Students may also establish proficiency by providing official documentation that shows that the student has 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 special foreign language credit.

Establishing proficiency, with or without credit, through the 4th semester of college-level foreign language satisfies the College’s Foreign Language requirement for the B.A. as well as the World Languages and Cultures requirement of the IUB General Education Common Ground curriculum. Some 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. Contact your school, or your academic advisor in your College department or program, if you have questions about your language requirements.

How much special credit can I 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

Albanian

None

Slavic Languages and Literatures

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 Languages and Literatures

Catalan

None

Spanish and Portuguese

Chinese

C201, C202

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Czech

C201, C202

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Dutch

N200, N250

Germanic Studies

Estonian

T203, T204

Central Eurasian Studies

Finnish

T201, T202

Central Eurasian Studies

French

F200, F250

French and Italian

Georgian

None

Slavic Languages and Literatures

German

G200, G250

Germanic Studies

Gujarati

G200, G250

India Studies

Haitian Creole

C201, C202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Hausa

H201, H202

Linguistics

Hebrew (Modern)

H200, H250

Jewish Studies

Hindi

H200, H250

India Studies

Hungarian

T241, T242

Central Eurasian Studies

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

Lakota

L312, L313

Anthropology

Latin

L200, L250

Classical Studies

Macedonian

None

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Modern Greek

E200, E250

West 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 Languages and Literatures

Portuguese

P200, P250

Spanish and Portuguese

Quechua

Q201, Q202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Romanian

M201, M202

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Russian

R201, R202

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Sanskrit

S200, S250

India Studies

Serbian and Croatian

S201, S202

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Slovak

None

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Slovene

None

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Spanish

S200, S250

Spanish and Portuguese

Swedish

None

Germanic Studies

Swahili

S201, S202

Linguistics

Tajik

T215, T216

Central Eurasian Studies

Tibetan

T271, T272

Central Eurasian Studies

Turkish

T281, T282

Central Eurasian Studies

Turkmen

T217, T218

Central Eurasian Studies

Ukrainian

none

Slavic Languages and Literatures

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

Yucatec Maya

M201, M202

Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Zulu

Z201, Z202

Linguistics

 

What if the language I know is not taught at IUB?
Foreign language special credit can only be earned in languages that are offered at IU Bloomington. 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.

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

Do I have to pay for foreign language special credit?
Foreign language special credit is awarded without additional charges if you maintain full-time enrollment during the semester in which you apply for the credit.

Can I earn special credit in my native language or another language I learned in my home country?

No, students with native fluency in a foreign language are not eligible to earn special credit in that language.

Can I demonstrate proficiency to satisfy the foreign language requirement in a language I learned at home?
If you are an international student and your native language is not English, you can satisfy the foreign language requirement by completing the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English and providing the appropriate documentation, if necessary. There is no need to take a proficiency test in your native language to satisfy the foreign language requirement.

If you are a domestic student who learned a second language at home without formal schooling/instruction in that language you cannot satisfy the foreign language requirement in this way. You must take the placement test in your second language 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 your current level of skill. A proctored proficiency test, if offered by the department, allows you to demonstrate your 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 my language?
If you are a native speaker of a foreign language, you may use the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English to establish your proficiency, with no credit awarded. Otherwise, you will have to take a placement test and successfully complete one or more IUB language courses in order to satisfy your foreign language requirement.

Can I use a language proficiency test taken on another IU campus or at another university?
No, proficiency tests taken on other OI campuses or at other universities cannot be used to satisfy College’s 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 my native language?
The Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English includes a list of acceptable document types. If you were admitted to IU in fall 2012 or later, we may be able to use documents already submitted to the Office of International Admissions to establish your language proficiency. See the form for additional information.

What if I cannot produce acceptable documents to demonstrate my language proficiency?
If you cannot produce appropriate documents, you will need to complete foreign language coursework in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement for your degree

I have proficiency documents, but they are not in English. Will the College translate my documents?

The College does not have qualified translators on staff. If your previous academic institution does not produce official English versions of their documents, you will need to provide a notarized translation of your document.

After receiving my placement test results, I enrolled in my validating language course and passed it. Why isn’t the special foreign language credit on my transcript?
There can be several reasons for this. Please check the following:

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

How long does it take for the foreign language proficiency notation or foreign language special credit to appear on my transcript?
The foreign language proficiency notation should appear on your transcript/AAR within 3-4 weeks of satisfying the foreign language requirement through completion of proficiency (NOT placement) exams or through documentation. Special foreign language credit must be approved by four different offices at IU, and the entire process may take as long as several weeks. If it has been several weeks since you applied for the credit, you may contact the department or the College Recorder’s Office for further investigation.