Foreign Language Requirement FAQ

What do I need to fulfill the Foreign Language Requirement?

See the Foreign Language Requirements on the Competency Requirements webpage.

Who can I contact for Foreign Language Requirement information?

See directory of Competency Requirements webpage.

How can I request disability accommodation for meeting the Foreign Language Requirement?

Students who are diagnosed by approved services as having specific learning disabilities, either before or after their admission to the University, should contact their Association Dean for information on accommodation. Detailed information can be found on the Disability Accommodation page.

What should I do before enrolling in a foreign language course?

All students in the College must have a score from an SAT II test, the online placement test (French, Spanish and German only) or from a Foreign Language Placement Exam to enroll in a foreign language course. Students who plan to start a new language can go ahead and register for the appropriate 1010 course.

If you are have not yet taken a placement exam and don't have SAT II or online placement test scores, then you will have to make your best guess as to which language section you think you will place into for your schedule. You must adjust your schedule once you complete the placement exam.

Who should take the SAT II foreign language exam?

We strongly encourage you to take an SAT II Subject Test for a foreign language. The last testing date applicable towards credit at U.Va. is the May/June test.

High enough scores on the SAT II Subject Tests can exempt you from courses and even the Foreign Language Requirement itself. You can also opt out of taking the Foreign Language Placement Exam with SAT II scores.

What scores do I need on my SAT II Subject Test to receive foreign language credit?

See the Foreign Language Placement Index webpage.

What if I can't take the SAT II Subject Tests?

If you are unable to take SAT II exam, then you must take the College's Foreign Language Placement Test during Summer or Fall Orientation or an online placement exam (French, German or Spanish only) for placement.

Where can I find the online placement tests for French, German and Spanish?

Your placement for French and Spanish can be determined through a WebCAPE Foreign Language Placement Exam. Instructions can be found here:

Each test can be taken only once.

Who should take the Summer Orientation Foreign Language Placement Exam?

All students in the College should plan on taking the Summer Orientation Foreign Language Placement Examexcept for students who:

  • Have a test score from an SAT II foreign language test
  • Have taken an online placement exam
  • Can determine placement as a result of their AP test score
  • Plan to start classes in a new language

Only French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish exams will be offered in the summer. If you fail to attend Summer Orientation, placement tests will be offered on the Monday of Fall Orientation before classes start.

How can I request credit for Advanced Placement test scores?

See the Advanced Placement Exam Credit webpage.

How can I request credit for international college-level exams, including International Baccalaureate (IB)?

See the International College Level Exam Credit webpage.

How do I take a test in a language not taught at U.Va.?

Students who wish to be tested for proficiency in foreign languages not taught at the University of Virginia need to take the NYU 16-point Foreign Language Proficiency Test. 14 points or more on the exam give exemption from the College's Foreign Language Requirement. No credit will be awarded for this test.

For questions and information about registering, please contact Dean Christine Zunz,, (434) 924-3353.

What are the requirements for transfer students?

To meet the Foreign Language Requirement, transfer students must complete a sequence of courses through the intermediate level (usually 2020) in a foreign language taught at U.Va. Students may also be tested in a language not taught at the University by obtaining a referral from Dean Papovich.

Any student who has completed the equivalent of four semesters of college level language study will have fulfilled our requirement. This can be accomplished with:

  • The completion of the intermediate level of a language at your previous school after taking four semesters or after placement
  • AP or SAT II test scores that grant exemption (check the Language Placement Index for the exact qualifications)
  • Qualifying scores from Higher Level IB exams (see International Exams)

If you have not completed your Foreign Language Requirement, you must begin to do so as soon as you arriveand continue every semester until the requirement is finished. Generally, previous college foreign language study will place you above the 101 level:

  • One semester of college work places a student into the 1020 level
  • Two semesters of college work places a student into the 2010 level
  • Three semesters of college work places a student into the 2020 level

You should verify your placement by contacting the appropriate Foreign Language Coordinator or by referencing the Language Placement Index.