Core Competencies: Language

The University of Colorado views foreign language learning as a joyous pursuit and takes that seriously. Most students will be required to have studied a foreign language before graduating. Each individual college has it's own specific requirements, and each degree may have additional requirements. This web page is intended to help you understand the basics of your foreign language requirements. You will still need to look at your college and degree program for additional requirements. This is not a substitute for speaking with your adviser, but rather an aid in getting you oriented.

For the College of Arts and Science, the language requirement comes from the MAPS and core competency requirements. Together, these requirements state that you must reach a competency in a foreign language equal to the third semester of our courses. For someone completely new to the foreign languages this would mean that you must take three semesters of a language. There are ways to fulfill the requirement without taking courses. First, if you have studied a language for three years in high school you have completed the requirement. Second, if you have spent at least two years in a high school outside of the US, you have fulfilled the requirement. Third, you may prove that you have the competency by testing out of a language. If you do not meet any of these requirements then plan on taking language classes at CU.

To complete the requirements you must successfully finish one of CU's the many third semester language courses. This may mean that you will need to start from the beginning or you may use foreign language skills you already have to take courses at a higher level. You can take one of the language placement tests provided by the language departments to determine your competency, and some languages departments require that you do so. These tests will not let you test out of the requirement, they are only for determining which courses you would be best suited in. It is important to take a course that you can succeed at while still challenging you.

FAQ

Where can I find the placement exams?
You can start by looking for your language on our list of languages taught at CU. A link for the exam may be found there or you can contact the department which teaches the language. Some of the instructions for taking the exam may be hidden on the page linked so go over the page carefully.
I went to an immersion High School in the US, do I need to take a language course?
No. Your High School experience will count as foreign language experience. In order to have your experience qualify, your high school transcript should make the immersion experience abundantly clear. Contact your adviser to start this qualification process now.
I speak another language already, but have not studied it, will this count?
Yes, if you can pass the exemption exams. If your language or dialect is unique and not tested in the traditional exams given by testing services, you can contact ALTEC altec@colorado.edu for other exam options.
I have a learning disability, can I be exempted from the language requirement?
No, you can learn a foreign language. We have an excellent modified language program you can study in.
I studied three different languages in high school for one year each, does that allow me to skip the requirement?
No. The requirement is for a certain level of proficiency, not time spent. You should pick one language and complete it up to the third semester here at CU.

MAPS