Foreign Language Requirement

  • Candidates for the B.A. degree are required to complete 13 credit hours or the equivalent level of proficiency in one foreign language.
  • Students entering with no high school language units must enroll in Language 1001 or may enroll in Language 2115. Language 2115 (a, b, and c—all three sections must be taken together) is the intensive study of a language and will satisfy the foreign language requirement. All three sections must be completed with a grade of C- or better to satisfy the foreign language requirement.
  • A grade of D in a Language 1001 course is a passing grade but not an entrance grade for a Language 1002 course. A grade of D in a Language 1002 course is a passing grade but not an entrance grade for a Language 2101 course or its equivalent. A grade of D in a Language 2101 course fulfills the language requirement but is not an entrance grade for a higher-level course.
  • Students may not take for credit an elementary course if they have already completed a higher-level course for which the elementary course, or its equivalent, is a prerequisite.
  • Native speakers of a language other than English may meet the foreign language requirement by presenting a transcript from a university or secondary school of their native country. The department will certify native speakers of those languages which are taught at the university. Those who are proficient in other languages must submit certification of competence to the Director of Languages and Cultures.
  • Demonstration of a high level of proficiency may affect the number of hours required for the B.A degree. Students with the degree of proficiency equivalent to 13 hours of college-level work in French, German, or Spanish may obtain exemption by passing the department's placement exam.  

Foreign Language Placement Testing

  • A student who is not a native speaker and who has not begun language study at UMSL, but who believes that he or she can demonstrate the requisite proficiency level in French, German, or Spanish to test out of a semester or more of language, may take a language placement test.  Students seeking placement testing in Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese must contact and make arrangements with the appropriate language coordinator.
  • Back credit (for French, German, and Spanish) is available free of charge to students who place into the second, third, or fourth semester language course and complete the course with a satisfactory grade. Up to 13 credit hours of back credit may be earned, but a placement test score is required to begin the process. Students who have already earned advanced credit for language courses are not eligible for back credit courses they have already taken but are welcome to take the placement test to determine if they are ready for university-level language beyond their advanced placement level.
  • Students may not take the exam more than once.  A student who has already begun language study at UMSL may only attempt to test out of the language requirement if their instructor recommends this option and makes arrangements through the Director of Languages and Cultures.
  • For new students and incoming freshmen, please visit (click on the Placement Testing information link) for more information. If you plan to take a language during your first semester and feel that you may be able to test out of any language courses, please complete the language placement examination before attending your NSO (new students orientation) date.


To schedule a language placement exam, please contact Jim Karslake or Birgit Noll.