Placement for Credit in Modern Languages

Questions about alternative fulfillment of Foreign Language Proficiency.  Please consult this page

The placement rules are also available in the Placement Chart.

Students should fulfill their Foreign Language Proficiency requirement in their first or second year at the College. Students who have never had formal training in a foreign language, or who have not had sufficient training to fulfill the foreign language proficiency requirement, are advised as follows.

I. If you never studied any foreign language, you should enroll in 101 of the language of your choice. (possibly 103 in Italian and Spanish. See IV below)

II. Placement By Years of High School Study

  • If you have completed Level I, you should enroll in 101 or 102 (possibly 103 in Italian and Spanish. See IV below)
  • If you have completed Level II, you should enroll in 102 or 201 (possibly 203 in Spanish. See IV below)
  • If you have completed Level III, you should enroll in either 201 or 202 (possibly 203 in German, Italian and Spanish. See IV below)
  • If you have completed Level IV in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian, you should enroll in 202 or higher.  If you have completed Level IV in French, Italian, German or Spanish, you should enroll in the following courses: e.g. French 210 or 212; German 205 or 206; Italian 206 or 208; Hispanic Studies 206 or 207
  • If you have completed Level V, you should enroll in courses above 202/203

III. Placement by Examination

For information on placement based on AP, SAT II or ACTFL exams, see the Requirement for Degrees in the College Catalog, under "Course Specific Requirements."

IV. Online Courses

College-level online courses do not fulfill the foreign language requirement.
V. Combined Language Courses

Some languages offer combined courses: 103 is the equivalent of 101 and 102 in one semester; 203 is the equivalent of 201 and 202 in one semester. 203 fulfills the College Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement. Levels may not be repeated for credit. 203 may not be used to fulfill course requirements in majors that include courses taught in the target language above 202. 

German 203 

An intensive course for heritage speakers and highly motivated students who have completed GRMN 102 or the equivalent and wish to master the material of GRMN 201 and GRMN 202 in one semester. Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in German 203. 

Italian 103 and 203

This track is recommended for students with prior experience with Romance Language study or heritage speakers. Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in Italian 103. If students have completed Italian 103 at the College, they may enroll in Italian 203. Otherwise, permission of the instructor is required for Italian 203. 

Spanish 103 and 203

Students with 0 or 1 year of high school Spanish may register in 103. Students who fulfilled HISP 103, or HISP 102, or 2 or 3 years of high school Spanish can register in HISP 203. However, students who have completed HISP 201 at the college can not register for HISP 203.

V. Assessment Tests

Assessment tests are offered in Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Incoming students who wish to continue studying these languages at The College of William and Mary must take an assessment test given before the start of classes in the fall semester in order to determine the appropriate language level. Mid-year transfer students who wish to continue language study in the spring semester should contact the Program Director for that language, or his/her designate.

Assessment Tests are available online for students with William & Mary accounts at Students can log in to Blackboard and search for "Assessment Test" at the bottom left search box on the main Blackboard page to locate the correct test. Below is a video tutorial on how to enroll in the Assessment Test course site and take the test.

These assessment tests are advisory only and do not override the placement guidelines above; students whose assessment test results indicate a need for remedial study should attend faculty office hours and seek tutoring at the Tribe Tutor Zone or with a private tutor. 

If you have questions concerning PLACEMENT please contact:

ARABIC: John Eisele
CHINESE: Yanfang Tang
FRENCH: Michael Leruth
GERMAN: Bruce Campbell
ITALIAN: Sergio Ferrarese
JAPANESE: Tomoyuki Sasaki
RUSSIAN:  Alexander Prokhorov
SPANISH: Paulina Carrión