Modern Language Placement

The Modern Language requirement is a two-course or equivalent sequence that prepares students to be lifelong learners of languages and cultures. Modern language courses are taken in order (the language 101 course, followed by language 102 or the approved study away or immersive experience) and focus on learning through developing novice-level skills in comprehending and producing speech and writing in a non-English natural language, and familiarity with some of the communities for whom that is a first or primary language. A student may also satisfy this requirement through one of the following means, all subject to final approval by the Department of Modern Language Studies:

  • Pass two semesters of a modern, spoken or signed language at another accredited university. The chosen language must have cultural components. ASL can satisfy the language requirement.
  • Place into language 201 (German & Spanish), 203 (French) or higher on one of Guilford’s language placement tests.
  • Score four or higher on an AP modern language exam.
  • Complete secondary school in a non-Anglophone country and in a language other than English. Completion of primary education in another language is not sufficient.

All incoming students without relevant transfer credits who have taken more than two years of French, German or Spanish and who wish to continue studying that same language must take a placement exam in the appropriate language before enrolling in a modern language course. Students who place out of the modern language requirement are encouraged to continue their studies of language by enrolling in 201, 202/220 or 301, according to placement. Students who score below the minimum (see below) must satisfy the modern language requirement by taking a 201-level course. Such courses are offered in French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

For the modern language requirement to be waived, a student must qualify for a learning disability as defined by the state of North Carolina. If the modern language waiver is granted, the student must substitute a course with an international or intercultural emphasis that has been approved by the Department of Modern Language Studies. Students must contact the coordinator of the Accessibility Resource Center to process the waiver. The coordinator of Accessibility Resource Center maintains the list of approved substitute courses. Substitute courses cannot double-count with other general education requirements.

International students whose native language is not English, and who completed secondary school in a non-Anglophone country and in a language other than English will be exempt from the modern language requirement. No credit will be awarded for their native language unless they wish to enroll in an advanced-level course.

There is no placement exam for Japanese. However, students who have previously studied Japanese are encouraged to speak with Hiroko Hirakawa before enrolling in a course. For placement exam in Japanese, contact Hiroko Hirakawa. 

Score Suggested Placement
French Placement Exam
0-259 French 101
260-357 French 102
358-391 French 203
392+ French 220
German Placement Exam
0-327 German 101
328-416 German 102
417-547 German 201
548+ German 202
Spanish Placement Exam
0-265 Spanish 101
266-374 Spanish 102
375-439 Spanish 201
440+ Spanish 202