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& Information about the Language Requirement
Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics




University Requirement:

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree requires completion of a classical or modern foreign language through the 2000 level (2200 or equivalent).


Colleges of Arts and Sciences’ Requirement:

The College of Arts and Sciences requires that BA or BS students complete course work through the 2000 level (2200 or equivalent) of a classical or modern foreign language. Native speakers may be exempt. See Mary LePoer in Rm. 364 DIF.


Other Colleges and Schools within the University may also have a foreign language requirement. Students should check with their program advisor to clarify any questions.


Up to 12 hours’ college credit may be earned through the CLEP test. Furthermore, a high score on the CLEP may establish your language proficiency as sufficient to satisfy the Arts & Sciences’ graduation requirement. If you are a “Bright Futures” recipient, have familiarity with French, German, or Spanish (but no college-level credit), and need another CLEP ‘area’ test, language may be a good choice. For further information, contact evaluation services, 644-3017, 106 Johnson Building. CLEP examinations are not available to those with college credit in the language. *(Credit for the 2000-level of a language may not be transferrable to another institution.)

If a student wishes to continue study of the same foreign language as he or she had in high school and the student does not wish to take the examinations for credit, the following criteria apply in regard to placement in the foreign language sequence at Florida State University. (No credit is awarded for courses “skipped” through self-placement.)

After one year or less of foreign language study in a high school, the student is advised to enter ARA, CHI, FRE, GER, ITA, JPN, KOR, POR, RUS,  or SPN 1120, or ~ER, ITA 1130.

After two years of foreign language study in a high school, the student is advised to enter ARA, CHI, FRE, GER, ITA, JPN, KOR, POR, RUS, or SPN 1121, or GER,  ITA 1131.

After completing three years of foreign language study in a high school, the student may enter at the 2000 level.

After completing four or more years of foreign language study, the student may enter at the 2000 level or above.

**** EXAMPLES ****

A student entering directly from high school with three units of a foreign language with grades of A’s and B’s enrolls in 2200 or 2300.

A student entering directly from high school with three units of a foreign language with grades of C’s and D’s enrolls in 1121 or 1131.

A student entering with three units – but the last course was two years ago, enrolls in 1121, 1131, or SPN 1130 (this course reviews SPN 1120 & SPN 1121).

A student entering with two high school units in the last two years with grades above C enrolls in 1121, 1131, or SPN 1130.

A student who wishes to begin a new language enters 1120 or 1130.

In general; if the student received a grade of C or below in high school foreign language study, or if the last course was two or more years ago, the student is advised to enter the sequence one level lower.

Frequently Asked questions about the language requirement:

All these numbers confuse me, what do they mean?

*Courses that are numbered 1120 are meant for students who have had no previous experience in the language. They start out with the alphabet and numbers and go from there. When you complete 1120 you continue into 1121, the second semester of the elementary course.

*Courses that use the number 1130 (Italian and German) are also beginning courses. The GER and ITA 1130 uses a more conversational method of learning the language. They do not require much homework, but there are special conversational groups as part of the class. These classes are often good for students who have had some exposure to the language, but feel the need to start over again. When you complete 1130 you can continue into either GER or ITA 1131, or the traditional method – 1121.

*After the first two semesters, the final course of the basic sequence which fulfills the language requirement, and is the program prerequisite, is ARA, CM, JPN, HER, FRE, POR„ and SPN 2200; GER 2230, or ITA 2230 or 2300.

*SPN 1130 is a special course for students who have had previous experience in Spanish, but do not feel confident enough to take SPN 2200. The course moves at a faster pace and assumes that you have had the basics, but that you want or need a review. The course gives a comprehensive view of elementary Spanish. Upon completion of SPN 1130, the student goes directly into SPN 2200. The student saves time and money!

I took a foreign language in high school – should I start over with a 1120 course?

The answer here is an emphatic NO! You want to begin your college language instruction with the level that is as close as possible to where you stopped in high school. Doing this will ensure that you continue to learn rather than staying at the same level or even getting bored and falling behind. Consult the “Guidelines for Departmental Placement” (side one) for a general idea of where to begin. If you still have questions, consult the Modern Languages Undergraduate Office for advice.


Mandatory Placement Tests

For Students Who Continue Language Study in French, German, and Spanish

Students pursue study in foreign languages for a number of reasons, often in the context of specific graduation requirements. For example, all students receiving degrees (B.A., or B.S.) in the College of Arts & Sciences and all other university students who receive the B.A. must complete a classical or modern foreign language through the 2000 level (2200 or the equivalent course). For those students who have initiated foreign language study prior to entering Florida State University (specifically in high school where no college credit was awarded), selection of the appropriate language course level is extremely important. It is for that reason that a mandatory (no cost) placement test will now be required for all students who plan to continue study in either French, German, or Spanish. Students who are studying a new language which they did not study in high school, and for which they have no other experience, are not required to take such a test but would enroll in the 1120 level of the language of interest.

The purpose of a placement test is to ensure that students continue their language studies without repeating the same material and with as few gaps in their learning as possible. Students do not receive credit for a placement test; however, there are methods of receiving credit through other tests that are described below.


All students who entered the university after January 1, 2003 and who are taking their first FSU course in French, German, or Spanish in the Spring Semester 2004 or later are required to take a placement test (unless the student has no prior experience with the language). Students who have already started their language sequence at FSU with college credit do not need to take a placement test to continue. Students who arrive at FSU with college credit for language study also will not be required to take the test since their placement level will be based on transfer work completed.

Because the placement tests are available only for French, German, and Spanish, students of other languages who have had previous instruction in the language must consult an advisor in the Department of Modern Languages for proper course placement. Other modern languages taught at FSU include Arabic, Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.


  1. Who does not fall under the mandatory placement exam requirement?

Any student who is continuing the study of the same language and who does not already have college credit in that language is encouraged to take the test, However, the following groups do not fall under the requirement:

  • Students who entered the university before Spring semester 2003
  • Students who have already started studying a language at FSU
  • Students who are beginning a completely new language
  1. I took Spanish in high school, but now I want to take Japanese. Do I need to take a placement test?

No. Because you have never taken Japanese before, there is no reason to take a placement test. You would begin your study of Japanese with JPN 1120. The same principle applies to anyone beginning the study of a new language at FSU.

  1. I took two years of French in high school, but that was a long time ago. Shouldn’t I just start over?

No, you should not waste time repeating material that you already know. Students sometimes remember more than they think they do. You need to take the test.

  1. I want to take Italian, but there is no test.

What should I do? If you have never had Italian before, you begin with ITA 1120. If you have previously studied Italian, you need to talk to an advisor in Italian.

  1. Where do I take the Placement Test?

At the Assessment Services Test Center in University Center Building C., Room 1200. For information call 644-3017.

  1. When do I take the Placement Test?

The center will test students on a walk-in basis throughout the academic year. Just show up at the testing center any weekday between 9am and 4pm. It is important that students take the test the semester before enrolling in a language course at FSU so they will know which course in which to enroll.

  1. How long does the Placement Test take?

The test takes about one hour and is multiple-choice format. There is no speaking or listening on the test.

  1. When will I get my score?

In most cases your test will be scanned as you wait. However, if the testing center is busy, you may have to return the next day. The longest time that you will have to wait is 24 hours. After you get your score, you can register for an appropriate class section. Simply consult the scoring guidelines available online and posted in the Test Center and in the Department of Modern Languages.

  1. What do I do with the score?

Keep the receipt that you receive from testing to bring to your first class meeting. Students who do not have a receipt will have to take the placement test before they are officially enrolled in French, German, or Spanish. If you are starting a new language, the instructor will check your high school record.

  1. Do I get credit for previous courses if I place out of the first semester?

No. No course credit is given for the placement test. However, you will save time (and money) by skipping a semester or two of language study. Many students will only need to take one semester of language at FSU to satisfy specific graduation requirements.

  1. Is there any way to get college credit for my previous study of a language?

Yes. If you took a course in high school that grants “college” credit, FSU will recognize that credit. FSU also grants credit for national, standardized tests (CLEP, AP, IB) and dual enrollment in Florida. If you have credit through AP or IB, that credit will be assigned by the registrar and appear on your FSU transcript. Transfer credit from other universities is also accepted. Any prior college credit constitutes evidence of placement – you can only receive credit for courses beyond those already completed.

  1. What is the CLEP exam?

The CLEP exam (College Level Examination Program) is a national, standardized test. It includes listening as well as reading and grammar skills. It is available in French, German and Spanish. Students may receive up to 12 credits through this exam. However, the CLEP test may not be taken if the student has previously enrolled in any college-level course in that language. You may register for the CLEP at the Assessment Services Test Center, Rm. 1200 University Center Bldg. C. The fee for the exam is currently $70. If you decide to take the CLEP, you must take it before you register for language courses at FSU. For further information about the CLEP exam you can call 644-3017.

  1. I took the placement test but I do not really think the score reflected my abilities. Can I take it again?

Students are not allowed to repeat the test for 60 days. If you think the score does not reflect your knowledge, your best option is to talk to an advisor in Modern Languages for personal placement.