In order to receive a baccalaureate degree from SUNY Geneseo, all students must meet the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement. 


Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

Students who matriculated here or elsewhere Fall 2003 or after must demonstrate language competency through the 201 level.  Anyone who started earlier and was continually enrolled full time must show competence through 102.

Competency through the 201 level may be shown in any of the following ways:

  1. Four units of high school foreign language (i.e. successful completion of a high school language sequence through Level IV, one year beyond the Regents Examination) AND a score of 85 or above on the Regents Examination.
  2. A score of 4 or above on the Advanced Placement Examination in a foreign language.
  3. Placement beyond the required level, as specified above, on one of Geneseo's language placement examinations (see below).
  4. Successful completion of college-level work in a foreign language, at Geneseo or another accredited institution, through the appropriate level, as specified above.

Students who have not already completed the foreign language graduation requirement can refer to the guidelines below to determine where to continue their foreign language studies at Geneseo.

Placement in Courses

Based on Placement Examination

Placement examinations are generally an accurate Indicator of a student´s level of proficiency. A placement exam may demonstrate a student´s language competency in a foreign language in order to partially or fully meet SUNY Geneseo´s General Education Requirements,

The departmental Placement Examination is offered in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.

Placement exams can only be taken one time per language.   Placement exams cannot be taken in a foreign language once a student has begun studies at SUNY Geneseo in that language.

For detailed information about the placement exams, please click here.


Based on Advanced Placement or Other College-Level Credits 

Students wishing to continue their study in a foreign language can use the results of their AP exam as follows:

  • A score of 3:  Enroll in 201 (first semester, intermediate-level language course).
  • A score of 2:  Enroll in 102 (second semester, intermediate-level language course).

A student with a  score of 4 or 5 in the AP exam has met SUNY Geneseo's foreign language requirement.  Should this student wish to continue studying the language, the student should enroll in a 300 (conversation) or 301 (composition) course. 

Please note that many students entering Geneseo with college credits granted through a cooperative arrangement with a high school end up voluntarily relinquishing these transfer credits in order to do some review work at the 200 level.


Based on High School Equivalency:  Students with One, Two or Three Years of the Language in High School 

The Placement Examination is NOT mandatory for students who have taken one, two, or three years of the target language in high school. However, it IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who feels his/her training is unusually weak or unusually strong, such that Placement Based on High School Instruction Equivalency recommendations might not apply.

The following are approximate equivalencies between years of study in high school and courses offered by the Department of Languages and Literatures. (Please Note: Normally, one semester of college instruction is equivalent to at least one year of high school instruction and to two years of middle or junior high school language instruction.)

  If in high school you:   
The Department recommends that you enroll in: 
 Never studied the language  101 - Elementary I*
 Studied 1 or 2 years  102 - Elementary II
 Studied 2 or 3 years
  201 - Intermediate I
 Studied 3 or 4 years
  202 - Intermediate I

* In general, 101 - Elementary I courses are open ONLY to students who have NEVER studied the language before. Any student with previous study who takes an Elementary I course without departmental approval WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT for the course.

It is not always possible to determine the appropriate level for every student based on high school experience alone. The Department administers a Placement Examination to those students with an unusually weak or unusually strong foreign language background.


Students with Four or More Years of the Language in High School 

Students with this background who wish to continue studying the language are urged to take the Placement Examination (see instructions above), unless they are also entering with Advanced Placement (AP) Credits or other college-level credits.