The UNC-CH Language Requirements

Students are required to demonstrate proficiency or complete courses in the study of a foreign language through level 3, FREN/ITAL/SPAN/PORT 203. Certain majors may require additional levels. In the Department of Romance Studies, students can satisfy their foreign language requirement and pursue higher levels of study.

Placement can be determined by a score on the SATII Subject Test, AP exam, IB exam, or the appropriate departmental placement test. Regardless of placement, continuous enrollment, beginning in the first semester, is required until the Foundations foreign language requirement is completed.

  • Students who place into level 204 of their high school foreign language have satisfied the Foundations foreign language requirement and will receive placement (PL) but no credit hours for 203.
  • Students who place beyond 204 are awarded placement (PL) but no credit hours for 203 and 204.
  • Students who elect to study a new foreign language must complete through 203 of that language.

Language Placement Exam Details

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Language Requirement and Placement for Native and Experiential Speakers of a Foreign Language

Native speaker of a language other than English: For academic purposes, a native speaker is a student raised in a country outside the United States and formally educated through all or most of high school in a language other than English. Native speakers cannot use By-Examination (BE) credit in their native language to reduce the requirements for a major in that language and will not receive credit for 101 through 2044 of their native language(s). However, upon recommendation of the appropriate language department, they may receive credit for courses taken at UNC-CH beyond 204 if those courses are heavily based on literature, film, culture, or other content. Native speakers of languages other than English may use ENGL 105, or its transfer equivalent, to satisfy their General Education foreign language requirement.

Experiential speaker of a language other then English: Students who have learned a language experientially (i.e., having grown up speaking the language in the home or having lived several years in another country) and who are conversant and literate in that language and in English, may take a placement test in that language for placement (PL) only and not for credit hours if that language is currently offered at UNC-CH. If the student places beyond 203, the student can use that language to fulfill the General Education foreign language requirement, but again, no credit hours will be awarded.

Approach to Teaching Lower-Level Language

In Romance Studies, language classes are conducted in the target language. Students are exposed to the cultures of the areas of the world in which the languages are spoken and are encouraged and supported in the development of proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing through out-of-class preparation and active participation in class. All lower-level language classes meet three hours per week with the exception of SPAN 100, an online review of level one that meets virtually once per week, and SPAN 101 and 102 hybrid courses that meet twice weekly.