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 “Core Curriculum in the Liberal Arts” mean for me?

A liberal education consists of 2 parts: a Core curriculum (usually completed in your Freshman-Sophomore years) and a study in depth of a major field (usually completed in your Junior-Senior years). As part of your “Core,” you must take one year (2 consecutive semesters, same language, at level of placement) of a 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). Two consecutive semesters of any one of these languages will fulfill the foreign language requirement.


 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.


 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?

Once you are accepted and enrolled at JCU, you will receive information about the JCU language placement tests, which are given on-line for the following languages: French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish.

 When should I complete the placement test?

You will be given specific instructions and deadlines to complete the placement tests which will be sent to you either via e-mail or regular mail. In general you should complete the placement test(s) well before you plan to come for your new student orientation.

What if I did not take (or complete) the placement test(s)?

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: French, German, Italian, Latin, or Spanish.

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

They are: Arabic, Chinese, Ancient Greek, Japanese, Russian, 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 French, German, Italian, Latin, 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. 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?

Before you begin the test, you will be asked to complete a language background questionnaire. 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.


  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! IMPORTANT! If you have had 4 years (= 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade), it is not likely that you will be placed lower than the 200 level of that same language!



I have college level credit for foreign language from another college or university. Must I still take the JCU 2 semester language requirement?

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 201, you must then enroll for 202 here at JCU. You cannot enroll in a lower level course such as 102 and receive credit for that same language.


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, German, Italian, 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” or higher in Latin will give you: credit for LT 232, 3 academic credits, and completion of 1 of the 2 courses for the 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 concentration – 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
FR GR SP SL 6,7 101-102
FR GR SP HL 5, 6, 7 201-202


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).


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 are allowed an exemption. All others must complete the one year (2 consecutive semesters, same language) of a foreign language. 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 should. It is quite probable that you will place in the 300 (advanced) level of that language. If you enroll in that language, you will have the opportunity to perfect not only your speaking but also your reading and writing skills. If you don’t wish to do this, then you must enroll at the appropriate level of a different 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?

Yes, you must. You and/or your advisor cannot arbitrarily change the level of placement when you register for your language courses. For example, if you enroll at a lower level than the level of placement, you risk losing Core credit for the course. (You can always “audit” the lower level course, but it will not count for credit, nor for completion of your foreign language requirement.)


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. For example, if you placed into 300 level during the summer orientation before your Freshman year, you cannot wait till your Senior year and enroll in 100 level! You must always enroll at your level of placement! That is why we urge you to complete your language requirement early in your college career, along with your other “Core” courses.


What about Majors, Minors, or Concentrations?

The CMLC Dept. offers majors and minors in French, German, Spanish, and Classical Languages. 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! “Concentrations” are interdisciplinary and are also described in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Concentrations that may be of interest to you if you enjoy foreign language study might include: Africana Studies, Catholic Studies, East Asian Studies, International Business, International Economics & Modern Language, International Studies, Italian Studies, Latin American Studies, 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. Elaine F. Hocevar
Assistant Dean for Academic Advising of Freshmen
(216) 397-1521

Dr. Diane T. Campbell
Assistant Dean for Academic Advising of Sophomores
(216) 397-1558

Sandra Roethel, Secretary
Office: Administration Building, 1st floor Annex
(216) 397-4211

Dr. Maryclaire Moroney
Associate Dean for Student Services & Academic Advising
(216) 397-4758

Dr. Sophie Kus
Assistant Dean for Academic Advising of Juniors and Seniors
(216) 397-1620

Kathryn Gilway, Secretary
Office: Administration Building, 1st floor Annex
(216) 397-4219