Welcome to the Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) Program in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. LCTLs are world languages that are less frequently studied by Americans. All languages except English, French, German, and Spanish are considered LCTLs. The MSU LCTL program coordinates those less commonly taught languages that have variable enrollments, but are considered of critical need. Some of these are taught as traditional teacher-fronted classes, some are taught as individualized, small-group classes, and some are offered as online courses with weekly virtual meetings. Most of the language classes offered are open to everyone, but some have limited enrollment or may only be available for graduate students who have received language fellowships. Native speakers of a language, heritage speakers who have some proficiency and those who already have some instruction in a language should refer to the Placement Testing page. Many scholarships are available for study of Less Commonly Taught Languages.

Some of our languages are made available through the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) CourseShare Program. This allows students to take courses here at MSU that are offered at other Big Ten universities for no additional cost. More information about the program can be found on the MSU BTAA CourseShare Information page

Please note: Because many of these courses are at least partially funded by grants, we are able to offer most of them even in the event of very low enrollments. However, due to the nature of these courses, last minute schedule changes may occur.

Regularly Offered LCTLs


First year of Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) is offered every year. You can find this language under LL 151.001 (Fall) and LL 152.001 (Spring)


We currently are regularly offering first year Khmer. LL 151/152. Look for sections 739. We also usually offer another level of Khmer based on student need–sometimes 2nd year (251/252) and sometimes higher levels for those who study Khmer over the summer. 

We regularly offer two years of Persian. The first year is LL 151.748 (Fall) and LL 152.748(Spring). The second year is now offered through the Big Ten Academic Alliance CourseShare Program. The second year is LL 251 and 252 sections 008, 038 or 338. We may be able to offer a third year of Persian if there is student interest.

We offer three years of Thai regularly.  LL 151/152, LL 251/252, and LL 301/302. Look for section numbers 006, 736, or 746.

We are currently offering two years of Turkish, but may be able to offer up to 4 years through the Big Ten Academic Alliance CourseShare program. The sequence is LL 151/152, LL 251/252, LL 301/302, LL 401/402. Look for sections 007, 737, or 747.

We offer two years of Vietnamese. The courses are LL 151.734 (Fall) and LL 152.734 (Spring).

Currently Offered BTAA CourseShare Program Languages

We receive Dutch from Indiana University. LL 151/152 section 730. We can offer 2nd and 3rd year if there is student interest.

We offer Finnish through University of Minnesota. LL 151/152 sections 322.

LL 151/152 section 010

We receive 2 years of Norwegian from University of Minnesota. LL 151/152, 251/252 section 339.

We receive Swedish from University of Minnesota. LL 151/152 section 337

We receive Yiddish from the University of Michigan. LL 151/152 section 017.

Other Possible LCTLs

  • ASL
  • Bengali
  • Kazakh
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Tamil
  • Uzbek

Less Commonly Taught Languages Not Listed Here

If you are interested in learning a language not listed here, please contact the LCTL program coordinator. We MAY be able to arrange a CourseShare partnership for additional languages.

 If the language is an African Language, please contact The African Languages Coordinator.

Program Availability

Non-MSU Students

Non-MSU students are welcome to enroll in these classes, usually under the Lifelong Education category. Visit MSU’s Lifelong Education page. Tuition varies based on residency and graduate or undergraduate status. As a starting point, check out these tuition tables and contact Lifelong Education for confirmation of costs.

Transferring credits back to your institution:  Talk to your advisor at your institution. If you need a syllabi or other documentation to facilitate the transfer, please contact the LCTL coordinator.

High School Students

High school students may be eligible for dual enrollment through the Gifted and Talented Education Program.  Please contact the program coordinator to set up a placement test if the student has previous experience with the language.


Looking for the LCTL Partnership Mellon Program?

This project is housed within another College of Arts & Letters unit, the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA). For more information, see the LCTL Partnership homepage.