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Frequently Asked Questions about JCU’s Core Language Requirement

To complete your language requirement at John Carroll, you have two options:

1. Continue in the language you took in high school at your level of placement and complete through the 201 level. If you place higher than 201, your foreign language requirement is waived.


2. Begin a new language and take 101 and 102 of that language.

Transfer requirements are dependent on a variety of different factors. Please click here for more information. 

At John Carroll, we offer courses in seven languages, preparing you for success in a complex world. Find out more here.

Great question. This is something you should discuss at length with your academic advisor. Some questions to consider:

  • How much did you enjoy the language that you took in high school? How successful were you at it?
  • Which language is a match for your other academic interests?
  • Do you anticipate using the language for your future profession? For example, will you be communicating in the workplace regularly with speakers of other languages?
  • Or are you more interested in acquiring cultural knowledge, or enhancing your verbal skills overall? All language courses contain these elements, but in different proportions.
  • Are you better at oral communication, or are reading and writing your strengths?
  • Is there a country in which you would like to study or travel?
  • Is there a language that will set you apart from the average person in your field?
  • Do you succeed better in smaller classes?

Enroll in the course numbered 1010. Follow up with 1020, preferably in the semester immediately following.

As part of New Student Orientation, you will be required to take a placement test if you studied French, German, Spanish, Italian or Latin. The results of the test(s) determine your placement level. Typical language placements are 1010, 1020, 1030, or waiver (above 1030).

Yes. Students often change their minds and want to return to their original language. It is very important that we have a record of your original placement.

Yes, depending on your score. For AP, you must have taken the AP exam for that language, and your scores must have been reported to the Registrar. A list of AP equivalencies can be found in the JCU Undergraduate Bulletin.

For IB (International Baccalaureate), you must request a transcript from the IBNA (International Baccalaureate North America) and have it sent directly to JCU. A list of IB equivalencies can be found in the JCU Undergraduate Bulletin.

You are still subject to the language requirement, but your previous credit may apply toward it. Your transfer credit will be evaluated by the JCU Registrar to determine JCU equivalency. Once you know the JCU equivalent of your previous courses, you should enroll at the next higher level if you wish to continue in that same language to complete your language requirement. For example, if you receive transfer credit for the equivalent of 101 and 102, you should then enroll in 201 here at JCU. If your transfer credit is accepted as the equivalent of 201 or higher, then your language requirement will be waived.

International students--those who are citizens of and who have lived for at least 10 years in another country whose primary language is not English--are exempt from the language requirement.

Because of signficant divergences in how the Seal of Biliteracy is awarded, we do NOT currently recognize it as a means of demonstrating language proficiency.

Students who have learned a language for which there is no placement exam at JCU may attempt to waive this requirement through successful completion of proficiency exams in oral communication AND either writing OR reading. Several conditions apply; please read the following information before seeking a waiver.

Condition 1: Nationally-validated proficiency exams must be available in two skills (oral proficiency AND either writing OR reading) in the language in question, through Language Testing International (LTI), a licensed third-party provider.  Students seeking a waiver should first confirm that tests are available in oral communication AND either writing OR reading in their designated language by visiting the following site:

Language Testing International

If LTI does not provide proficiency exams in oral communication AND either writing OR reading (or the student is unwilling or unable to demonstrate proficiency in the skills offered by LTI), a waiver will not be considered. Waiver tests or certificates of proficiency from other providers will not be considered.

Condition 2: The student must demonstrate proficiency at or above the intermediate-mid level in both oral communication AND either writing OR reading. A description of intermediate-mid level proficiency in these areas is available here:

Proficiency Benchmarks

Condition 3: The student must bear the cost of the exams.

Condition 4: The test must be taken in person in a proctored environment.

Once individuals seeking waiver have confirmed the availability of relevant testing options and are confident that they will be able to demonstrate the required level of proficiency, they should contact the department chair to schedule an exam.

Please note that this waiver only exempts the student from the language requirement; it does not grant the student academic credit.

You will not be allowed to enroll in any foreign language until you complete the placement test. Contact the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Cultures at to schedule an appointment.


Yes, you must enroll at the level of placement. If you think your placement is wrong, your first step is to attend the first day of class. If that first day still feels wrong, then immediately discuss your placement concerns with the instructor. Changes can be made during the first week of classes if you and your instructor, along with the department chair, together determine that your placement was incorrect.

Great idea! Language study can take you far beyond the language requirement. See our list of major and minor programs to find out more about pursuing the language further.

You may either start a new language at JCU or fulfill the language requirement by transferring courses from another university. The Center for Global Languages & Cultures may be able to administer a placement exam in order to facilitate registration. Please contact the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Cultures ( to request more information.

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Have Questions about the Core Language Requirement?

Still have questions about placement tests or the Core language requirement? We are here to answer your questions and help you create an academic plan that incorporates language studies.