Info for... William & Mary
William & Mary W&M menu close William & Mary

Where do I start?

You should fulfill the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement in your first or second year at the university.

Your first step should be making sure that your transcript includes all and any information about your previous formal training in our eight languages & cultures (e.g., credits transferred from a previous community college, college, or university; credits earned via pre-matriculation exams such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate; indication that you have fulfilled the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement; etc.). If your transcript on Degree Works does not reflect your credentials, please reach out to the W&M Registrar’s Office (Degree Audit) at your earliest convenience. 

Scenario 1
If you have no experience with our eight languages & cultures, register for your desired program’s 101 class (e.g., ITAL 101, GRMN 101). Please note that the Hispanic Studies program only offers introductory Spanish classes in what we call combined courses, as they synthesize the content of two regular semesters into a single one (HISP 103).

Scenario 2
If you have some formal training with your desired program (e.g., between 1 and 4 years of coursework in high school), but that training is not reflected as credits in your transcript, simply take the appropriate placement exam to determine which class is most suitable for you. In the case of the Chinese Studies Program, instead of taking a placement exam, you should schedule a placement consultation that occurs during the days preceding the start of every semester.

Scenario 3
If your transcript shows earned credits in your desired program, please check if those credits are presented as what we call “elective credit” (e.g., RUSN 1XX, JAPN 2XX), or as what we call “specific credit” (e.g., ARAB 102, CHIN 201, FREN 206).

Scenario 3a: If your transcript includes only “elective credits” (e.g., RUSN 1XX, JAPN 2XX) in your desired program, you must take the appropriate placement exam to determine which class is most suitable for you.
Scenario 3b: If your transcript includes only “specific credits” in your desired program (e.g., ARAB 102, CHIN 201, FREN 206), you must register for the next appropriate class in the sequence (e.g., ARAB 201; CHIN 202; FREN 210, or FREN 212).
Scenario 3c: If your transcript includes a mixture of both “elective” and “specific” credits (e.g., HISP 2XX, HISP 206), please consult with the appropriate placement coordinator in each program. 

Scenario 4
If you have a familiarity with your desired language & culture that was acquired outside the formal classroom settings (e.g., if you grew up speaking the language at home, but did not take classes in the language), you might be better served in classes specifically designed for what we call “heritage speakers” (e.g., CHIN 111, CHIN 211; HISP 205; depending on your specific experience, the combined courses ITAL 103, ITAL 203, or GRMN 203 may also be suitable). Please consult with the appropriate placement coordinator. In the case of the Chinese Studies Program, keep in mind that they also carry out placement consultations during the days preceding the start of every semester.

You can download a Word version of the four scenarios described above here.

Placement Exam


The Placement Exam is available online through Blackboard for the following languages: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. In the case of Chinese, the Chinese Studies Program conducts face-to-face assessment and interviews shortly before the first day of classes every semester. Information about the placement exam (including deadlines), should be available in the Blackboard site for your College Studies course.

As indicated in the W&M Course Catalog, "students should fulfill the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement in their first or second year at the university". Hence, the placement exam should be completed before the end of the student's first full-time semester at William & Mary. 

Be aware that the sole purpose of the placement exam (or face-to-face assessment and interview) is to assess your current proficiency level and, hence, serve as an instrument for placement. This means that earning a specific score in the placement exam or assessment will not lead to fulfillment of the W&M Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement. For appropriate ways to fulfill the FLP Requirement, please consult this website.

If you are ready to take the placement exam, please self-enroll following this link to the Blackboard site of the Modern Languages Placement Exams and take the appropriate exam. After you complete the exam, it is your responsibility to contact the appropriate Placement Coordinator and let them know that you have completed the placement examt.

Questions

If you have questions concerning PLACEMENT, please contact the Placement Coordinator of the appropriate program:

  • Arabic Studies: [[jceise, John Eisele]]
  • Chinese Studies: [[qsu, Qian Su]]
  • French & Francophone Studies: [[mxcomp, Magali Compan]]
  • German Studies: [[jmgully, Jennifer Gülly]]
  • Hispanic Studies: [[pmcarrion, Paulina Carrión]]
  • Italian Studies: [[mjseger, Monica Seger]]
  • Japanese Studies: [[akitamura, Aiko Kitamura]]
  • Russian Studies: [[axprok, Alexander Prokhorov]]