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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

Language Requirements

SCU Core Second Language Requirement

Language and intercultural communication are fundamental for meaningful, purpose-driven and compassionate engagement with the world, which is at the heart of our Jesuit values. Communicative and intercultural competence in a language other than English are also essential and sought after skills in our increasingly global, complex and dynamic workplaces. For this reason, the Core Second Language requirement ensures that SCU students can demonstrate linguistic and cultural proficiency in a language other than English. The level of proficiency required varies by major (see below for details), and satisfying the requirement can be easy, if you begin early. Follow the steps described below to complete this requirement. Begin your planning immediately upon entering SCU.

On this page you will find:

  • Reasons why beginning your language requirement early is critical
  • Steps for satisfying the language requirement
  • Links to information on Placement and Proficiency Testing


Top reasons why you can’t put it off until later

  • Language skills take time to develop, and they quickly weaken without continued practice.

If you start early, completing the language requirement is easy. But, the longer you wait to fulfill this requirement, the more difficult it can be: finding open classes, not having sufficient skills to enter and/or pass classes, etc. can complicate and lengthen the process and even delay your graduation.  

  • Language course schedules

Some sequenced courses are offered only in specific quarters (e.g. Level 1 in fall, Level 2 in winter, etc.). You can’t assume that a course you need will be offered exactly when you need it. Check the schedules and plan accordingly.

  • Priority registration for current language students (Spanish only)

For Spanish 2 and 3, enrollment priority is given to those who have taken Spanish 1 and 2 (respectively) at SCU. We do this to encourage you to complete a course sequence within the same academic year. All other students (including seniors and athletes) must wait until the last week of registration to enroll. You can’t assume that you can wait until senior year to jump into a Spanish might not find one available and this will delay your graduation.

  • The earlier you begin, the higher the proficiency you can achieve

You may discover you want or need to achieve a higher level of proficiency than what the Core requires. If you begin early, you will have the opportunity to do this.

  • You might discover you need a little more time

“Stuff happens”. If you don’t have a great quarter, you may need to repeat a course. This may mean summer school, or waiting another year until the course is offered again. You never know, so don’t wait until senior year to find out.


How to satisfy your Core Second Language Requirement

Step 1: Determine your requirement and decide how to begin

2nd Language Requirement by major

  • Majors in Business school or B.S. in Math or Natural Science
    • demonstrate proficiency equivalent to Elementary Level 2 or higher
  • All other College of Arts & Science and “Undeclared” majors
    • demonstrate proficiency equivalent to Elementary Level 3 or higher
  • College of Engineering
    • 2 years high school language studies (credited upon entry to SCU)

NOTE: Those with a disability that severely affects language acquisition ability may qualify for an accommodation allowing alternative coursework on culture (taught in English). If you believe you could qualify, please contact the Disabilities Resource Office immediately after beginning at SCU. The process can take several quarters to complete, so don’t delay!

Option 1: Satisfy upon admission to SCU

  • Score 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Exam  (Contact: One-Stop, Enrollment Services)
  • Receive a “A(a) or B(b)” on the Cambridge International A Level Exam  Contact: One-Stop, Enrollment Services)
  • Receive a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate HL (High Level) Language B exam (Contact: One-Stop, Enrollment Services)
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS score to the One-Stop: Enrollment Services Office, Schott Administration Bldg.
  • Transfer in college level language courses from an accredited institution (Contact: One-Stop, Enrollment Services)
    • If coursework is not equivalent to your language requirement, you will need to take the remaining courses here at SCU. If the courses are in a language not offered at SCU, you will need to begin a new language or complete these courses through an SCU approved Study Abroad program. You cannot transfer in courses from another college/university after you are admitted to SCU (unless through an SCU approved Study Abroad program Study Abroad).

Option 2: Take language courses at SCU  

You can study any of the following languages (listed by the language’s home department):

  • Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish (Department of Modern Languages & Literatures)
  • Greek, and Latin (Department of Classics)
  • Hebrew (Department of Religious Studies)

Option 3: Proficiency Testing  

Already proficient in a second language? Tests are available on a limited basis to satisfy the requirement. Sign up ASAP before your proficiency weakens. If you fail the test or if you can’t get a space for testing, you will need to take courses. More details on proficiency testing.

Step 2: Plan out your coursework NOW (even if you will begin later)!

Map it Decide which language to take, then identify your 1st opportunity to start courses. NOTE: Some sequenced courses are offered only in specific quarters (e.g. Level 1 in fall, Level 2 in winter…), so keep this in mind when making your plan. It’s best to start and complete your coursework in the same academic year. Map out your plan!
Placement Take a free placement test no more than 1 year prior to starting courses. Begin at the highest level indicated by your placement score. The higher you place, the fewer courses you will need to take to satisfy your requirement.
Registration For Spanish 2 and 3, enrollment priority is given to those who have completed the previous course (e.g. Spanish 1 or 2). All other (including seniors and athletes) must wait until the last week of registration to enroll. Don’t assume you can just jump into a section at any might not find one available.

Step 3: Go beyond and make room for the unexpected

Plans change Plan to go beyond the minimum language requirement. If you change or add a major, it may have a higher language requirement, and you want to be prepared.
Benefits Some study abroad programs, many campus internships and fellowships, graduate programs and many lucrative career opportunities seek or require candidates to have second language skills beyond the Elementary level. You might not be thinking about these things now, but if you acquire the skills, you will be prepared should the opportunity arise! 
Degrees Use your language requirement studies to launch into a minor or major in your target language. Many SCU Business and Arts & Sciences majors find it easy to extend their language studies to a minor or major, especially when combining this work with studies done abroad through an SCU program. See an advisor in Modern Languages for more information.

Step 4: Close the sure you are done!

You are responsible for ensuring that you complete your 2nd  Language Requirement. When you think you have satisfied the requirement, be sure to check your transcripts and “degree progress report” in ecampus to ensure that it is listed as completed. If you don’t see it listed as completed, you need to contact the Drahmann Center immediately.