Undergraduate Business

Tippie College of Business World Language* Requirement

Effective for students entering the University of Iowa for summer 2011 and after

Tippie College of Business students may complete the new world language requirement using one of two options. Either option may be fulfilled by high school course work, college course work, or an appropriate combination of high school and college course work. One year of high school world language is equivalent to one semester of college. The requirement may also be met by passing a proficiency test in one or two world languages.

  • Option One: The fourth-level proficiency in a single world language. To meet the fourth-level of proficiency in the same language, students are required to take four years in high school or four semesters in college.
  • Option Two: The second-level proficiency in two different world languages. To meet the second-level proficiency, students are required to take two years each of two different languages in high school or two semesters each of two different languages in college. Option two does not fulfill the world language requirement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or qualify students for language incentive credit.

The Tippie College strongly encourages students to complete four years of a single language in high school. By completing fourth-level proficiency in the same world language, students will fulfill requirements for the Tippie College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Students with Learning Disabilities

Students with documented learning disabilities should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to inquire about the process and possible options in fulfilling the Tippie College of Business world language requirement.

Students Whose First Language Is Not English

Students who completed secondary school in a language other than English, hold nonimmigrant visas, and meet the university's English proficiency requirement may use English to complete the world language requirement. The English proficiency requirement may be satisfied by (a) a score of 600 or above on the paper-based or 280 or above on the computer-based Test of English as a world language (TOEFL); or (b) successful completion of required English as a Second Language courses as determined by an English proficiency evaluation conducted by the Department of Linguistics; or (c) validation of English proficiency by the coordinator of English as a Second Language.

(Note: Currently, the University of Iowa also will accept the IELTS as certification of English language proficiency for admission of students whose first language is not English. The IELTS will be accepted as an alternative to TOEFL. The cut-off scores on the IELTS are 6.5 for undergraduate admission and 7.0 for graduate admission, with no subscore lower than 6.0. All students submitting scores from the IELTS examination must take the on-campus English Proficiency Evaluation (EPE) prior to their first UI registration.

Students who completed secondary school (grades 9-12 or 10-12) in English may not use English to complete the world language requirement. These students must complete the world language requirement in another way.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following responses apply to students who enter the University of Iowa summer 2011 or later.

  1. Why is the world language requirement changing?
  2. The goal of the Tippie College is to educate tomorrow's business leaders. To maintain a competitive advantage, our graduates receive a broad education that prepares them to live and work in a global economy. Our new degree requirements reflect the preparation, awareness, and global perspective we believe are crucial to be a successful business leader.

  3. How much world language should I plan to take in high school?
  4. We strongly encourage students to complete four years of a single world language in high school (reach the fourth-level of proficiency) in order to keep their academic options open. Completing the fourth-level proficiency in the same language allows students to select one of the many majors offered by the university without the concern of having enough world language to fulfill the general education requirement of each college.

  5. Is there any way I can avoid taking a world language in college?
  6. The only way to avoid taking a world language in college is to satisfy option one or option two in high school.

  7. What languages are relevant for business?
  8. Many languages are relevant in the world of business. In addition to the Spanish and French that many students study in high school, there are other interesting languages to consider. For example, students may choose to study Italian, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, or Portuguese as a way to develop a unique set of skills, which many other students will not have, while still meeting the requirements for the Tippie College.

  9. What languages are available at the University of Iowa?
  10. There are many different choices—American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, and Swahili. If you are proficient in another language not on this list, please talk to your academic advisor. Additionally, the university may offer other languages. Check with your advisor.

  11. Am I required to take the world language placement test?
  12. Whatever your background, even if you have completed the requirement, we strongly recommend that you take the language placement test for the language you studied. Your academic advisor will use the placement test to recommend what course you should register for if you choose to continue with the language you studied in high school.

    Students proficient in a language for which they have received no formal instruction (or formal instruction below the fourth-semester level) may validate their proficiency with an examination.

    Students proficient in a language for which testing is not available must complete the world language component of the General Education Program by another method.

  13. I took two years of Spanish in high school. If I change to Italian, what courses will I take at Iowa to complete the requirement?
  14. Having completed two years of Spanish in high school, you have achieved the second-level proficiency in one language. If you switch to a different language, you will need to reach the second-level proficiency in the new language. Using Italian as an example, you will need to complete Elementary Italian and Elementary Italian II at the university. However, you may fulfill the new language requirement (Italian in this example) through high school course work, college course work, or an appropriate combination of high school and college course work.

  15. I took two years of French in high school. If I wish to continue studying French, what courses will I take at Iowa?
  16. Your placement will depend on the results of your language placement test and your previous instruction in the language. Your academic advisor will determine an appropriate course placement at Orientation by looking at your placement results and talking with you about your instruction in high school. Regardless of which course you select to resume your studies of French, to fulfill the requirement you must complete the fourth-level proficiency in the language.

  17. I took two years of world language in high school. I've forgotten much of what I learned in the two years that have passed since my last course. What are my options for completing the world language requirement?
  18. The first option is continuing the same language you studied in high school and completing the fourth-level proficiency in that language. For some students, it may be necessary to repeat material already covered in high school to refresh their knowledge so they may successfully complete the fourth-level course in the language. However, some students may find the second option of starting a different language to be attractive. You will need to complete the second-level proficiency in a different language.

  19. What about language incentive credit?
  20. Students who have completed the fourth-level proficiency (four years) of the same world language in high school may be eligible to earn world language incentive program credit if they continue their language study in the same or a different language. Talk to your advisor at Orientation to see if you are eligible.

  21. I was recently readmitted to the university. Will I have to take additional world language courses?
  22. Students who are readmitted, after an absence of more than 12 months, will be held to the world language requirements in effect at the time of their readmission.

  23. I am a nontraditional student. I graduated from high school in 1981. Am I required to learn a world language?
  24. Beginning summer 2011, all transfer students will be held to the new world language requirement as part of the General Education Program. The world language requirement will move from being a high school unit requirement (which was waived with an approved Associate of Arts degree) to a graduation requirement that cannot be waived with the AA degree.

  25. I am currently a high school junior graduating in spring 2011. I plan to start at Kirkwood Community College and transfer to the University of Iowa in fall 2012 as a sophomore. Will I need a world language? If so, how much world language instruction will I need to take?
  26. Anyone entering the University of Iowa in summer 2011 or after (regardless of when you graduated from high school) will be required to complete the new world language requirement.