Foundational Skills: Foreign Language

The study of a foreign language is a significant element in liberal education, providing access to the literature, culture, and people of other societies. In planning language work, students should consider the particular needs of their proposed major and should remember that graduate degrees frequently require one or two languages. Degree candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level in one language other than their own.

The foreign language requirement may be met by any of the following (1–5):

1. A score of 560 or higher on the SAT: Foreign Language Subject Test in Chinese, French, German, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, or Spanish. Students are encouraged to take these exams before applying for admission. Information is available in CAS Academic Advising at 100 Bay State Road, on the fourth floor.

2. A score of 4 or better on an advanced placement foreign language test. (A score of 5 is required on the Chinese and Japanese tests.)

3. Satisfactory completion of one of the following courses:

  • Arabic CAS LY 212
  • Chinese CAS LC 212, 216
  • French CAS LF 212, Grenoble I Program
  • German CAS LG 212
  • Greek (Classical) CAS CL 262, 391
  • Greek (Modern) CAS CG 212
  • Hebrew CAS LH 212
  • Hindi-Urdu CAS LN 212
  • Italian CAS LI 212, Padua I Program
  • Japanese CAS LJ 212
  • Korean CAS LK 212, 216
  • Latin CAS CL 212, 215, 351
  • Persian CAS LZ 212
  • Portuguese CAS LP 212, 224
  • Russian CAS LR 212
  • Spanish CAS LS 212, Madrid I Program
  • Turkish CAS LT 212

Students with prior instruction in these languages, at the high school or college level, must take a placement test before enrolling in any course. Note: Language requirement courses are sequential. Students are not permitted to move backwards in the sequence, take two or more levels of the same language simultaneously, or repeat courses for credit. Placement into upper-level courses in ancient Greek, modern Greek, and Latin may be achieved by satisfactorily completing a written proficiency examination administered by the Department of Classical Studies.

4. Any course numbered 212 or above in one of the regularly offered African languages. Consult the African Language Coordinator (617-353-7305) regarding African languages.

5. Proficiency testing in the College. No student is automatically exempted from the language requirement. Students whose native language is not English or who have acquired substantial knowledge of a foreign language other than English may, however, take a College-administered exam and meet the requirement by demonstrating appropriate proficiency, as determined by the College, in all skills relevant to the comprehension and production of that particular language. Except in the special cases of ancient languages that are no longer spoken and of American Sign Language, proficiency testing thus includes reading, writing, and speaking. Students should visit CAS Academic Advising at 100 Bay State Road, on the fourth floor.