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Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement

The Undergraduate Catalog states that all students will have proficiency in a foreign language at the 202/203 level. A foreign language is understood to mean a natural language other than English. You can complete your foreign language requirement in any of the following 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 before you enter W&M,
  3. completion of a college language course at or above the 202/203 level at William & Mary,
  4. one of the languages taught at W&M was the language of instruction in the high school from which the student graduated,
  5. a score of "intermediate" or higher on the ACTFL standardized test (both OPI and WPT) for this language.
N.B.: Please note that W&M does not administer the ACTFL tests. It is the responsibility of the interested student to follow the link above, consult the ACTFL website, and assume the cost of the test(s).

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

  • this was the language of instruction in the high school from which you graduated,
  • that you have obtained the 202 level in this language through an accredited academic institution,
  • that you have scored "intermediate" or higher on the ACTFL standardized test (both OPI and WPT) for this language.

If you meet one of these 3 criteria, you may petition the Registrar for alternate fulfillment of the requirement.

Students wishing to pursue a Committee on Degrees petition to count a language course taken at another post-secondary accredited institution should note that the Department of Modern Languages does not grant credit for online courses. Please ensure you have received pre-approval from the appropriate language coordinator before enrolling in a language course taught elsewhere.

The ancient languages that count towards proficiency are Latin, Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. Contact the Department of Classical Studies for details.

If a student completed the fourth level of a language in high school, they have satisfied the Foreign Language Proficiency (FLP), and this will be indicated in the DegreeWorks. However, perhaps these four years of high-school language do not align with W&M standards, and the student wants to continue with the language even though they have fulfilled the FLP. The student should take the placement exam for that language, and if the result indicates that they should take 201, 202 or 203, they can take this course without relinquishing their FLP.

If you do not meet any of these criteria, you will have to satisfy the requirement while at W&M. See our placement guidelines to figure out where to start.