Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

112 Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881 – 401.874.5911 (p); 401.874.4694 (f)

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Language Requirement

The language requirement at URI is not a simple thing to explain, but we want to help you figure out where you fit, and where to begin. Here are some answers to the most common questions we get from students:

Do I have to take a language?

It depends…

  • If you are going to get a B. A. degree, or a B. S. in Business, yes.
  • If you are doing another B. S. degree, you have the choice between language study and taking two “Cross Cultural Competence” courses.

If I do a language, how many courses do I have to take to satisfy this requirement?

Again, it depends. If you are a B. A. student  (who must) or a B. S. student who chooses to do a language to satisfy the requirement, you will take 0, 1 or 2 courses depending on your background. (Business students–consult your business advisor.)

But this is a two course (6 credit) requirement, right?

Not necessarily. The language requirement is a proficiency requirement. We have defined that level of proficiency as equivalent to successfully completing a 104 level language course. You can do this in several ways:

  • Take a proficiency exam. If you “pass” it, you are exempt from the language requirement. In this case, you do 0 courses. (N. B. You  do not receive credit for this.)
  • Start with a 104 course or any 3 credit course at a higher level (200 and up). If you pass that course, voilà, your language requirement is finished. In this case, you do one course.
  • If your background does not allow you to start at at least the 104 level, then you need to take two courses at whatever level is appropriate for you. In this case, you will do the maximum of  two courses.

But how do I know where to start?

It’s a little tricky. There are too many factors that go into placement to be easily summarized. As a rule of thumb, one year in high school is considered to be the equivalent of one semester here. So, if you had two years in high school, you could start at the third semester level here (103). If you have had three, four or five years in high school, you should be able to satisfy this requirement with one course at the most. For Spanish, see the placement guide at:

I’ve heard that you can get extra credit for taking certain courses. Is this true?

Yes, you can. There are two possibilities:

  • If you have had three years of language in school and take the 104 course  as your first course here, you will get three additional credits.
  • If you have had four or more years, take any three credit course at the 200 level  as your first course here and you will get the additional three credits.

(In both cases, you have to get at least a “C” in the course you take to get the extra credit.)

Do I have to continue in the language I studied in high school to satisfy the requirement?

No. If for whatever the reason you decide that you would rather study a different language, you can satisfy the requirement by taking 101 and 102 in the language of your choice. This is a good opportunity to try a language you might have wanted to study but wasn’t available to you in high school or just to start fresh in another language.

I had two years of language in high school but I’ve forgotten it. Can I take 101 in that language and count it for the requirement?

Sorry… but no. If you must take 101, it will not count toward satisfying the requirement. For you, the lowest “countable” course is 102. You will have to do 101, 102 and 103 to satisfy the requirement. Don’t forget, you can always start a new language.

I think I understand. Where do I go for help if I don’t?

Ask your advisor or contact the Language department at 874-5911.

I have immigrant status. Do I have a language requirement?

Probably not. See your academic Dean who will make this decision.

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