A&S Language Requirement

The purpose of the foreign language requirement is to ensure that students who receive degrees in the College of Arts & Sciences have had a rich experience in more than one language and familiarity with more than one culture.  The language requirement may be fulfilled in 10 to 12 credit hours, depending on placement, or by demonstrating proficiency through testing, as described below.

Although students take language courses in various departments, the fulfillment of the requirement is certified ONLY by the student’s college.


The A&S language requirement may be fulfilled by courses in these languages:

Arabic, American Sign Language, Chinese, French, German, Greek, modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili.

Students should consult the various department websites to verify that the appropriate level of study will be offered in the time period required. 

Placement: no prior language study

Students who matriculate in the College or Arts and Sciences with no previous foreign language training in the language they choose must complete both terms of Basic Language instruction (1001-1002, 5 credits each = 10 hours total) or all four terms of Extended Basic Language instruction in a single foreign language (1011, 1012, 1013, 1014, 3 credits each = 12 hours total).  This requirement is fulfilled with a passing grade in the final course of either of these sequences.  (Note: not all languages offer both language sequences)

NB: Students must receive at least a C- in order to continue from one course to another in any language sequence (i.e., a C- is required in 1001 in order to continue in 1002).

Placement: previous study of high school language (or other formal or informal study of the language):

Students who wish to continue with the study of a language they have studied in high school (or have had other training in) will need to follow different procedures, according to the language:

  • French and Spanish: Students are required to take the Placement Test.  More information can be found here: https://www.uc.edu/campus-life/language-resource-center/placement-testing.html
  • Students with one year or less of high school study (or the equivalent) of Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek, modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian or Swahili can generally begin with the 1001 or 1011 level.  Students with 2 or more years of high school study in the language (or its equivalent) should contact the coordinator for that language to see if starting in 1002 (or 1013) may be an option.  (Note: it is completion of the final course in the sequence, 1002 or 1014, with a passing grade that fulfills the A&S language requirement.)

NB: For students with previous study in the language, enrollment in a Basic Language course (1001-1002 or 1011-1014) may be subject to review, approval and reassignment by the appropriate Language coordinators.  Students are encouraged to consult with Coordinator(s) of the language they plan to study for a review of their placement.

Testing out of the Language Requirement

Students with extensive prior experience in a language may fulfill the requirement with a sufficient score on the appropriate Language Placement Test (accessible through the Language Resource Center) in French, German or Spanish, and by certification from the appropriate Language Coordinator for all other languages.  This certification is contingent upon performance in an oral interview as well as a written test.  Students receive no credit by placing out of the language requirement through this certification.

Advanced Placement Students

Students who have participated in the Advanced Placement Program in high school receive college credit, based on their scores, without further validation, once the scores are formally received by UC (directly from ETS).  The credit is allocated according to the college guidelines: (https://www.uc.edu/aas/creditevaluation/credittypes/ap/2020-present.html).  Students who earn AP credit in a language should see the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department that offers that language for guidance in course selection, when they wish to continue their study of that language.

Waiver of the Language Requirement

Students who for reasons of a disability are not able to complete the language requirement may petition the College for a waiver of the requirement.  In granting such a waiver, the College will normally require that a student complete an alternative course of study of a specific non-English-speaking culture.

Native speakers of languages NOT taught at UC may apply to the college of Arts & Sciences for a waiver.  The requirement will be waived for students who have had their formal schooling in the language through the equivalent of at least the eighth grade. 

Heritage speakers who have learned a language at home but have received little or no formal instruction in that language may also apply to the college of Arts & Sciences for a waiver.  The student will receive a checklist to be completed by a native speaker on the UC Faculty who is willing to evaluate speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.  Please contact A&S Language Advisor Dr. Danae Orlins (orlinsde@ucmail.uc.edu) in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures for additional information.