Dear Foreign Language Student,

Whether or not you plan to study a foreign language beyond what is required for the CORE, we hope you will have a very successful and rewarding experience with us!  Below are some typical questions that a Freshman or other new student might have regarding the foreign language requirement.


Clicking on the question will take you to the response. Use your browser’s back button to return to the list.



What does the foreign language requirement in the JCU “Integrative Core Curriculum” mean for me?

A liberal education consists of 2 parts: a Core curriculum and a study in depth of a major field. As part of your “Core,” you must take at least one foreign language that provides the basic tools for understanding another culture, its language, and its literature.


Which languages are offered at JCU?

In the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Cultures, we offer the following: Asian Languages (Chinese, Japanese), Classical Languages (Greek, Latin), German, Middle Eastern Languages (Arabic), Romance Languages (French, Italian, Spanish), and Slavic Languages (Russian, Slovak). If you enroll in a language you never studied before, you must complete the 101 and the 102 sequence (2 semesters).  For a previously studied language, you ;must take the placement test and enroll at the level of placement (101, 102, or 201) and complete the sequence up through and including 201. If you place higher than 201, you may waive the foreign language requirement but many students choose to enroll at a higher level for a major, minor, personal interest or as a part of another major and its requirements.


 Which language should I myself take?

Naturally, you should take the language that interests you the most! For some, this may be a continuation of the foreign language they studied in high school. Others may want to try something new!


I picked a language I have never studied before. How should I enroll?

Enroll in the course numbered ___101. Follow up with ___ 102 preferably in the semester immediately following.


 I want to continue studying the language I studied in high school. How do I know at which level, or in which course, to enroll?

When you register for New Student Orientation, you will be registered to take the placement test(s) in all previously studied languages as part of your orientation. The results of the test(s) determine the level for enrollment.

What if I did not take (or complete) the placement test(s) in all my previously studied langauges?

Then you will not be allowed to enroll in any foreign language at all, until you complete the placement test if you have ever studied one of these languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, or Spanish.  Contact the Coordinator of the Language Learning Center, Dr. J. La Favre, to schedule a placement test. (see bottom of page for contact info.)

 Which languages taught at JCU do not offer a placement test?

They are: Ancient Greek, Japanese, and Slovak. If you wish to enroll in one of these languages, discuss your placement with your academic advisor or with a faculty member in the language department.

 What if I previously studied a language for which a placement test is available, but I am fairly certain I don’t wish to continue and I want to start a new language?

You must still take the placement test if you previously studied Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, or Spanish. The reason is that students all too often change their minds and want to return to their original language.


What is the foreign language placement test like?

In general, it is an on-line multiple choice test given as part of New Student Orientation. We believe it will be 99.999% accurate and reliable for our purposes in placing you at the appropriate level!


Who will “place me” in the foreign language, and how?

The placement test itself is machine scored – so there will be no errors. When you meet with your orientation advisor, he or she will give you the results and will help you choose all your courses and sections (= days & times the courses meet) for your next semester. (For some but not all languages, you may receive an email on your JCU account informing you of your results.)


  I’m scared! Can’t I just start at the 101 level, no matter what my high school foreign language experience?

It’s natural to be apprehensive about foreign language study at the college level! But, trust us – for example, if you placed at the 200 level – you would be very bored at the 100 level! Bored students tend to slack off, then midway through the semester, find themselves in trouble!

If I place at 101 in my previously studied language, would it be better to switch to a new language and do 2 semesters (101-102) rather than 3 semesters (101, 102, 201)?

This is a personal decision based on your own interests and academic program. We suggest you discuss this with your academic advisor or a faculty member in the language department.


I have college level credit for foreign language from another college or university.
Must I still fulfill the JCU language requirement for a previously studied language
(= completion of 201 or waiver via placement test)?

Your transfer credit will be evaluated by the JCU Registrar. Ask your advisor if you need to take additional language courses. If you do, you must enroll at the next higher level if you wish to continue in that same language to complete your language requirement. For example, if you receive transfer credit for the equivalent of 101 and 102, you must then enroll for 201 here at JCU. If your transfer credit is accepted as the equivalent of 201, then you may request the waiver and/or enroll in upper division courses.


I took AP in high school – can I get JCU foreign language credit?

Yes! But you must have taken the actual AP Tests, and, your scores must have been reported to the Registrar. For Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, a score of 3 or higher will give you: credit for 201-202, 6 academic credits, and completion of your foreign language requirement. A score of 3 in German will give you credit for GR 102 and 3 credits. A score of 4 in German will give you credit for both GR 102 and 201 (6 credits) and completion of the language requirement. A score of 3 or higher in Latin will give you credit for LT 201 or LT 232, 3 academic credits, and completion of your language requirement. (Once you finish your language requirement, you can still continue with your language study, for elective credits, or apply them toward a major, minor, or another program- see below.)

I was enrolled in the IB – International Baccalaureate curriculum. How will that affect my language courses and placement?

You must request a transcript from the IBNA (International Baccalaureate North America) and have it sent directly to JCU. Core credit is awarded as follows:

Language IB Score JCU equivalent
SL 6,7 101-102
HL 5, 6, 7 201-202
GR SL 6,7 102
GR HL 5-7 102, 201
LT HL 5-7 201 or 232
GK HL 5-7 299


For a language not listed, provide a syllabus from your high school course(s) for the JCU Registrar. It will be sent to the Language Department chairperson for evaluation and you will be notified of the results.

My family speaks another language at home (other than English) and/or, I have lived extensively in another country. Can I get JCU academic credit for this?

No, sorry! JCU gives language credit only for AP (“Advanced Placement”) Program of the College Board and AP test scores, or test scores of the IB program. (See above for both).


OK, – no “academic credit” – but what if my family speaks another language at home (other than English) and/or, I have lived extensively in another country. Can’t I just be “exempt” from the language requirement?

Only those students born and raised — and schooled through their 17th year (which usually means they also have the equivalent of a high school diploma) — in another language area or country where English was not the language of instruction are allowed an exemption. All others must complete the foreign language requirement as described above. This is the requirement established by the JCU CORE Committee.


I already speak one of the foreign languages offered at JCU at home (or I have lived extensively where that language is spoken). Should I still take the placement test in that language?

Yes, you must. It is possible that you will place higher than 201 and then if you wish you may choose to waive the language requirement. But if you enroll in the language at any level, you will have the opportunity to perfect not only your speaking but also your reading and writing skills. If you take the placement test and don’t receive the waiver, then you must enroll at the appropriate level or take a new foreign language. (Look at it as an opportunity to enrich yourself with knowledge of yet another language!)


I think I was placed too high (or too low)! Must I enroll at the level of placement?

In general, the answer is yes. However, changes can be made the first week of classes if you and your future instructor along with the department chair together determine that your placement was incorrect.


Help! It is now the beginning of the semester, I went to the first day of class, and I am sure my placement is incorrect! What can I do?

First – relax! – and give it some time! You are in a new college environment, and you have a new and unfamiliar teacher, who may already be speaking in the target language. You are surrounded by the unfamiliar faces of your new classmates – but – it is quite likely that a large number of your classmates are feeling just as scared as you! Just give it some time – you will be amazed how quickly and easily things settle down!

If you have concerns, GO IN PERSON TO SEE & TALK TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR, as soon as possible! Students are often delighted by how much this helps! (On the first day of class, you will be given your instructor’s regular office hours & location, or you can make an appointment.)

However, if after the first few days of the semester (or really anytime), you are truly uncomfortable with your class, section, or placement, and you are sure that things will not get better, please see the CMLC Department chairperson (see below for additional contact information). We can help you!


Which is the best academic year for completing my foreign language requirement?

In general, most students choose to complete their language requirement during their Freshman year, when previous language study (such as during high school) is still more “fresh” in their minds. Some complete it during their Sophomore year, and a few during Junior or Senior year. However, please note! – no matter in which year you choose to complete your requirement, you must still enroll at the level of placement.


What about Majors, Minors, or Interdisciplinary Minors (formerly known as Concentrations)?

The CMLC Dept. offers majors and minors in French, Spanish, and Classical Languages, and a minor in German. A self-designed major or minor in Italian Studies is also available. Self-designed minors are available in all the other languages we teach. These are described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Not only do certain courses count toward a major or a minor, but they fulfill your language requirement as well! Interdisciplinary minors are also described in the Undergraduate Bulletin and may be of interest to you if you enjoy foreign language study. These include:  East Asian Studies, IBLC – International Business with Language and Culture,  and Modern European Studies.

Whom can I contact for more information and/or additional help?


Dr. Martha Pereszlenyi-Pinter
Office: O’Malley Center 133
(216) 397-4723


Mrs. Elssy Lawrence
Office: O’Malley Center 134
(216) 397-4371

CMLC DEPT., Language Learning Center Coordinator:

Dr. Jeffrey La Favre
Office: O’Malley Center 101
(216) 397-4729


Dr. Maryclaire Moroney
Assistant Provost, Academic Advising
(216) 397-6674
Office: AD 05

Dr. Carlo DeMarchi
Assistant Dean for Freshman & Sophomores
(216) 397-1521
Office: AD 03

Dr. Catherine Sherman
Assistant Dean for Juniors & Seniors
(216) 397-1620
Office: AD 02

Kathryn Gilway
Administrative Assistant for the Assistant Provost
Office: AD 05
(216) 397-4219

Tanesha Lee
Assistant for the Assistant Deans
(216) 397-1971
Office: AD 06

Dr. Anne Kugler
Associate Dean of Humanities
(216) 397-4770
Office: AD 125a