Modern Languages (MLG)

College of Liberal Studies
Department Chair: Barbara Rusterholz
311D Graff Main Hall,
(608)785-8324
email: rusterho.barb@uwlax.edu

www.uwlax.edu/languages

Professors: Rusterholz, Stroud;
Associate Professors: Calmes, Hindson, Lake, Poulton, Socha;
Assistant Professors: Calmes, Dorado, Janecki, Kuderer, Lake, Olson, A.;
Senior Lecturers: Denlinger, Hanson, Klein, Wallace;
Associate Lecturers: Brunk, Lo, Roberts, Sherman.

The department offers majors and minors as well as business concentrations in French, German Studies and Spanish; courses in Chinese, Russian, Japanese, and Hmong; a minor in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL); and certificates in French Studies and Russian Studies.

A student who plans to continue a language already studied in high school must take the UW System Placement Test in order to determine the appropriate course level. Following the appropriate course placement as indicated by this test should help assure receipt of retroactive credits, but does not guarantee them.

In addition to the majors and minors listed above, the department offers: French major and minor, German Studies major and minor, Spanish majors and minor, and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) minor.

Retroactive Credit and Advanced Placement

The department of modern languages does not offer an exam to establish retroactive credit or advanced placement. Instead, a student may receive retroactive credits provided a grade of “B” or better is earned in the student’s first university course above the 101 level in a particular language. However, if a student received college credit for a course taken while still in high school (through Advanced Placement, Youth Options, or other cooperative agreements between secondary schools and colleges/ universities), received a grade of “B” or better (if a grade was given), and did not receive retroactive credits at that time, retroactive credits may be awarded upon completion of the next level course at UW-La Crosse with a grade of “B” or higher. Please consult with the department chair if in doubt about eligibility for retroactive credits.

Retroactive credit may be given in one or more languages. No retroactive credit is given for FRE 220, for FRE or SPA 331, or for FRE/GER/SPA 326 or any course taken in English. The first college level course taken to earn retroactive credits should be one in which several language skills can be evaluated.

  • Elementary Language II (102)
    earns 4 retroactive credits plus 4 course credits for a total of 8 credits
  • Intermediate Language I (201)
    earns 8 retroactive credits plus 4 course credits for a total of 12 credits
  • Intermediate Language II (202)
    earns 12 retroactive credits plus 4 course credits for a total of 16 credits
  • Any advanced course in the specific language (except 326 and 331) earns 16 retroactive credits plus 2-4 course credits for a total of 18-19 credits

Language Proficiency for the Bachelor of Arts Degree

A student who demonstrates satisfactory proficiency in an approved language at the 202 level may waive the foreign language requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree. (Students still must complete seven credits in the General Education Program, I, B.: “Mathematical/Logical Systems and Foreign Languages”). The student’s proficiency level will be determined by the results of the UW System Foreign Language Placement Test and the department’s proficiency examination. The student will not receive retroactive credit in the language for passing the proficiency examination.

Foreign Study and Credit

The chair of the department of modern languages or designee(s) approves equivalencies for university study in other universities, domestic and foreign. Generally speaking, each major language offered in the department rules on which courses taken elsewhere are applicable and how they apply.

A student pursuing a major or a minor in a foreign language at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse may earn up to 66 percent of the credit hours for the major or minor in a foreign country. Thirty-four percent of the credit hours must be earned at UW-L. The student is required to take at least one three-credit course in the foreign language at UW-L after returning from the country of study.

A student has the right to petition the requirement to take a course upon return from study abroad. Re-entry course requirement waiver forms are available at 315 Graff Main Hall. The request will be considered by the faculty in the appropriate language. The decision will be based on evaluation of the student’s performance prior to the study experience in the foreign country. The faculty may also ask the student to take written and oral proficiency exams.

Please refer to university residence requirements as described here.

Alvida Ahlstrom Honors Program

  1. Admission
    1. Junior standing
    2. 3.60 in French, German or Spanish course work at the 300 or 400 level
  2. Program
    1. Completion of the regular major or minor requirements
    2. FRE/SPA/GER 495
    3. Three additional credits of literature or civilization at the 300 or 400 level
    4. Department approval of seminar paper or project; submission of completed paper to the department
  3. III. Evaluation
    1. A cumulative 3.60 grade point average in the major or minor at graduation
    2. Distinguished performance on a paper or project developed in the French, Spanish, or German seminar course.
    3. Approval by the departmental staff.

The modern languages department incorporates a significant amount of writing through the required courses instead of identifying particular courses as writing emphasis courses. Students who complete a major in this department will fulfill the university writing emphasis requirement.

Modern Language Courses (MLG)


+ next to a course number indicates a General Education course.


MLG 101 Cr. 4 World Languages: Elementary

Oral and written language study, reading, grammar. A year of high school study in this language is equivalent to the 101 level. Offered Fall.

+ MLG 102 Cr. 4 World Languages: Elementary II

Oral and written language study, reading, grammar. A year of high school study in this language is equivalent to the 101 level as a prerequisite. Offered Spring.

MLG 110 Cr. 3 Introduction to the Study of Language

An investigation of the nature, function, and characteristics of romance and germanic languages compared linguistically with English and other languages. Offered occasionally.

+ MLG  201 Cr. 4 World Languages: Intermediate I

Third semester oral and written language study, reading, grammar. Prerequisite: two years of high school or MLG 102 in this language. Offered Fall.

+ MLG 202 Cr. 4 World Languages: Intermediate II

Fourth semester oral and written language study, reading, grammar. Prerequisite: three years of high school or MLG 201 in this language. Offered Spring.

MLG 204 Cr. 4 Heritage Language: Intermediate

Taught in the heritage language specified, this course provides opportunities for students to develop intermediate-level heritage language reading and writing skills. Students learn the heritage language writing system in order to read and write short texts. Additional emphasis is placed on geographical variation within the heritage language. Prerequisite: ENG 110, native or near native speaking skills in the heritage language, consent of the instructor. Offered Fall, Spring.

+ MLG 299 Cr. 3 Foreign Literature in Translation

The primary focus of this course is on major and representative works originally written in French, German, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. The course is team-taught in English by specialists of the respective literatures. Content and theme vary with instructors. Offered Spring.

MLG 304 Cr. 4 Heritage Language: Advanced

Taught in the heritage language specified, this course provides opportunities for students to develop advanced-level heritage language reading and writing skills. Students read authentic heritage language manuscripts, practice heritage language narrative and expository writing, translate documents in their fields, and explore heritage language features related to social customs. Prerequisite: ENG 110, native or near native speaking skills in the heritage language, intermediate-level reading and writing skills in the heritage language, and consent of the instructor. Offered occasionally.

MLG 340 Cr. 3 The Study of Language

An introduction to the study of the nature of human language and an investigation of the structure of English compared with other languages. Prerequisites: ENG 110 and 332; a foreign language at the 102-level or MLG 204. Offered occasionally.

MLG 394 Cr. 3 Translating Literature

A study of the theory and problems of literary translation. Students translate literary works from the target language into English. The student translations are used for literary as well as translation technique study in the course. Prerequisite: FRE/SPA 305. (Cross-listed with FRE and SPA; may only earn credit in one language.) Offered occasionally.

MLG 398 Cr. 1-4 World Languages: Advanced

Advanced study of less commonly taught world languages. Instruction may be offered on an individualized basis or through distance education when a course is available on another campus. Prerequisite: MLG 202 in the appropriate language. Repeatable for credit – maximum eight. Offered occasionally.

MLG 455/555 Cr. 1-6 Foreign Language Program Development

This course is designed for teachers or prospective teachers working toward teacher certification or recertification in a second or third language and/or in ESL. Program topics include: grammar, conversation, civilization, literature and methods. Prerequisite: acceptance of an approved program by department and permission of department chair. Repeatable for credit - maximum 12. Offered occasionally.

MLG 491 Cr. 3 Films and Literature

Viewing and criticism of sub-titled films and reading their literary sources in translation. Prerequisite: one course in literature from either the modern languages or English department. Offered occasionally.