Since its founding, the College has had a strong commitment to the teaching of languages; competence in languages has traditionally been a sign of a well educated person. Such experience is a means of access to the cultural and intellectual heritage of the world's non-English-speaking majority (for those whose first language is English). The study of another language is also a way to gain a new reflective understanding of language and communication systems. It is necessary that citizens of the modern world, an age of growing global interdependency, be able to communicate with and adjust to people from other cultures. The language requirement is a step toward that vital skill.
The College requires fourth-term proficiency in a language other than English for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. This requirement can be met in a language not even offered in the LS&A curriculum. The fourth-term course, when elected in the College, must be elected for a grade to satisfy the language requirement.
AB/BS students are expected to elect a course to meet the language requirement during their first term in residence and in each subsequent term until the requirement is met. In meeting the language requirement, students must earn a grade of "C-" or better to proceed into the next course in the language sequence.
The language requirement usually is met in one of three ways:
- Certified proficiency on a University of Michigan reading and/or listening test. Tests are administered regularly during the Orientation period for proficiency/placement in French, German, Hebrew, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. Tests in other languages must be arranged through the appropriate department office. On the basis of this test, the student may be exempted from the Language Requirement, or may be placed into a first-, second-, third-, or fourth-term course.
If students have previous experience in a language they plan to continue, they must take a language placement test. If a test in the choice of language is not offered at Orientation, an advisor will help in choosing the most likely placement and course for registration. Course adjustments can be made in the first two or three weeks of the term.
A student may not elect for credit a language course below the placement level determined by the test results without written departmental permission.
- Credit for a University of Michigan fourth-term language course with a passing grade of "C- " or better.
The student may place into a course for which AP credit has already been earned. If the student elects a course at the same or a lower level than that for which credit has been earned, the student will lose that credit. If the student decides to forfeit fourth-term transfer credit for the election of a lower level course, s/he also forfeits satisfaction of the language requirement by transfer credit.
The final course in a sequence used to fulfill the Language Requirement MAY NOT be elected on a Pass/Fail basis. (Effective for all students admitted to the College in Fall Term, 1995 and thereafter.) The final course in an elementary language sequence used to satisfy the Language Requirement must be elected on a graded basis.
- Credit for a University of Michigan language course which presumes a fourth-term proficiency in a language (except for 305 and/or 306 in French, German, and Italian; Spanish 224, 305, and 401; and American Culture 224).
Students are encouraged to continue a language already begun, but may choose from the following thirty-eight choices offered by LS&A departments.
American Culture: Ojibwa
Asian Languages and Cultures: Chinese (Mandarin), Filipino, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan (Classical and Modern), Urdu, and Vietnamese.
Classical Studies: Greek (Classical, Biblical, and Modern) and Latin.
Germanic Languages and Literatures: Dutch, German, and Swedish.
Judaic Studies: Yiddish.
Linguistics: American Sign Language.
Near Eastern Studies: Arabic (Classical and Modern), Armenian, Hebrew (Classical and Modern), Persian, and Turkish.
Residential College: French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.
Romance Languages and Literatures: French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Slavic Languages and Literatures: Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, and Ukrainian.
Students wishing to begin a language sequence in Winter Term, 2002, should note that the first-term course is offered only in the following languages: French, German, Italian, Latin, Ojibwa, Russian, and Spanish. All other language sequences offer the first course in a sequence only in the fall term.
Further information and Frequently Asked Questions about the Language Requirement
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