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Frequently Asked Questions

I took three years of a language in high school, but it has been awhile. Can I drop back a level?

Please see Placement for credit in Modern Languages & Literatures guidelines on our site. If you have questions please contact the Program Director of the appropriate Language:      

ARABIC:        John Eisele
CHINESE:     Qian Su
FRENCH:      Maryse Fauvel
GERMAN:     Rob Leventhal
ITALIAN:      Katie Boyle
JAPANESE:  Tomoko Kato
RUSSIAN:     Sasha Prokhorov
SPANISH:     Regina Root

To whom do I need to talk to about the Departmental Honors Program?

 Contact the Charles Center for general information, but check also the requirements for the Departmental Honors Program.
For an honors thesis
- in the French and Francophone Studies program
-in the German Studies program
-in the Hispanic Studies program
-in the Chinese Studies program

I am already fluent in a foreign language. Can this fulfill my requirement?

Foreign Language Proficiency

Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language commensurate with the 202 level at William and Mary. Completion of the foreign language requirement is accomplished in several ways:

  1. completion of Level IV in high school of an ancient or modern foreign language;
  2. a score of at least 600 in a modern foreign language or 650 in Latin on the College Board SAT II subject test taken prior to matriculation at the College;
  3. completion of a college language course taught in the original language at or above the 202 level;
  4. one of the languages taught at the College of William and Mary was the language of instruction in the high school from which the student graduated;
  5. the student has scored "intermediate" or higher on the ACTFL standardized test for this language

Students seeking to demonstrate proficiency in a modern foreign language not currently offered at William and Mary may do so by documenting one of the following:

  1. this was the language of instruction in the high school from which you graduated;
  2. that you have obtained the 202 level in this language through an accredited academic institution;
  3. that you have scored "intermediate" or higher on the ACTFL standardized test for this language.

If you meet one of these 3 criteria, you may petition the Registrar for alternate fulfillment of the foreign language proficiency requirement. Petition forms may be obtained at the Registrar's website. See the Registrar's form for a link to ACTFL. Petitions for alternate fulfillment of the FLP will normally not be accepted any later than the pre-registration period of your senior year.

Among the ancient languages in which one may demonstrate proficiency at William and Mary are Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. Students who wish to take a placement examination in Classical Greek or Biblical Hebrew should contact the Department of Classical Studies. Students may discuss with the Chair of Classical Studies the possibility of demonstrating proficiency in other ancient languages.

I’m thinking of taking summer language classes at home. Can I transfer language credit from another college in the United States?

During the summer, students may take courses at another institution while between academic terms at William and Mary.  Before enrolling at the other institution, the student must complete the "Permission to Take Courses Elsewhere – Summer Session" form (pdf). It must be approved by the Registrar's Office prior to the last day of spring classes. In addition to completing the form, students seeking major, minor, proficiency or GER credit must Petition the Committee on Degrees (pdf), and students seeking internship credit must petition the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. The student must be readmitted to the college by the Dean of Students Office before transfer credit is posted to the record.

Are there student-employment opportunities in the Modern Languages Department?

Yes! We normally employ two students every year to assist in our Main Office. If you are interested, please see the Office Manager in the Main Office of Washington 219.