Degree Requirements

CASE Foreign Language

Students pursuing the B.A., B.F.A., or B.A.J. degree in the College must establish proficiency in a single foreign language through the second semester of the second year of college-level course work. Students pursuing B.S. degrees should check the Foreign Language requirement for their particular degree program since the requirement varies according to the degree being pursued. Students are encouraged to include foreign language study in their first semester at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB) and plan for two years of consecutive fall and spring foreign language enrollments. Students can complete foreign language courses during the summer when they are offered, but summer course selection for individual languages and course-levels varies by demand and instructor availability; the College cannot guarantee that any one language or a specific course in a language sequence will be taught in a given summer.

Completion of the CASE Foreign Language requirement can be achieved in four ways:

  1. Completion of the final course in the sequence (i.e., fourth-semester course in a particular language).
  2. Testing out of the requirement by virtue of appropriate performance on certain types of exams, such as Advanced Placement (AP), SAT II, and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. Check with the relevant department for additional information about which type of exam is accepted.
  3. Appropriate official documentation that the student establishes proficiency via formal education in a language other than English. This documentation must be from an accredited international institution which is considered appropriate by both the relevant department and the College of Arts and Sciences. Such documentation generally indicates satisfactory completion of at least two years at the secondary level in a language other than English—i.e., a transcript.
  4. Satisfactory completion of a proctored proficiency exam administered by the relevant department (NOT a placement exam), if such an exam is offered by that department.

Completion of high school foreign language courses is not accepted as completion of the requirement.

Please note that the CASE Foreign Language requirement differs from the campus-wide General Education curriculum’s World Languages and Cultures requirement. Fulfillment of the CASE Foreign Language requirement for B.A., B.F.A., and B.A.J. degrees will, in most cases, also fulfill the campus-wide General Education’s World Languages and Cultures requirement. For information about the latter, please see the 2015–2016 General Education Bulletin.


Students who matriculate to Indiana University with prior knowledge of a foreign language must take the placement test in that language before registering for their first semester’s classes to identify the appropriate foreign language course to take at IU Bloomington. For the following languages, this is done online:

Chinese French German
Hebrew Italian Japanese
Latin Spanish

For all other languages, please visit the website of the relevant department for information on their placement tests.


The test used for placement is NOT the same exam used to establish proficiency in foreign language. A few departments offer proficiency exams to students who wish to demonstrate that they do not need any additional foreign language enrollment/study to meet the IU General Education World Languages and Cultures requirement and/or the College's CASE Foreign Language requirement. Proficiency exams are not tied to special credit. Domestic students interested in establishing proficiency should contact the department offering the relevant language. International students who wish to use their native language (if their native language is not English) to establish foreign language proficiency should complete the Application for Establishment of Foreign Language Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers of English. Students interested in this option should complete the process as early in their undergraduate careers as possible.

Special Credit Policy

Degree-seeking students can earn a maximum of two semesters of special credit for foreign language and this special credit is limited to two semesters of second-year study (the third and fourth semesters). The number of credits varies according to the language. To earn special credit, students must take the placement test offered by the appropriate department at IUB, complete a validating course on the IUB campus with a grade of C or higher, and apply for the special credit to be posted retroactively. If a student earns a grade of C– or below in the validating course, s/he will not earn special credit.

  • To be eligible to earn foreign language special credit, students must take a validating language course which must be their first IUB course in that language. A transfer course may not be used as a validating course.
  • If a student drops the validating language course, s/he can re-enroll and be eligible for special credit provided that s/he earns a grade of C or higher in the course. Grades (A, B, C, etc.) are not given for special credit. Students may not earn special credit in their native language.
  • Students can earn special credit in more than one language as long as they meet the other requirements listed above and below to earn special credit.
  • Students who have taken the AP, SAT II, or the IB exam must check with the respective language department to find out departmental policy regarding which exam has precedence in terms of placement in language classes. Policies regarding AP, SAT II, and IB credit are unrelated to those for IU special credit, so AP, SAT II, and IB credit remain unaffected by the College’s special credit policy.

Special credit can be awarded for all third- and fourth-semester foreign language courses. The validating foreign language course:

  • must be taught at IUB;
  • can only be a fourth-semester language course or higher;
  • must be the student's first course in that language at IUB;
  • may only be completed once in an effort to earn special credit; and
  • must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Students interested in special credit in foreign language should complete their validating course as soon as they begin their studies at IUB.


Students are not permitted to enroll in foreign language courses on a Pass/Fail basis until the CASE Foreign Language requirement has been completed.