Requirements/Placements

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

Foreign Language Graduation Requirement, Effective Fall 2014

College-level coursework or approved normed test that shows student proficiency through the first intermediate level of a foreign language. Courses that fulfill this requirement have the designation L/ in their titles.

General Education courses in Foreign Language help students achieve proficiency in listening, reading, speaking, and writing as well as familiarity with other cultures. Not all students will require the same number of courses to achieve proficiency. The various options for demonstrating proficiency are:

  1. Successful completion of four complete years of a high school level foreign language (i.e., completion of a high school language sequence through Level IV).
  2. A score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Examination in a foreign language.
  3. Placement beyond the first intermediate level on Geneseo’s language placement examination. This exam is offered at orientation, at designated times during the semester (see the department's web site for dates), or online (this option may require a preapproved proctor and a fee may be assessed by the testing agency).
  4. Completion of college-level work in a foreign language (at Geneseo or another institution) through the first intermediate level. For students seeking certification in education, the language requirement may be met by three semesters of American Sign Language.

Students who entered Geneseo Fall 2012 or later are grandfathered into this new policy and can refer to the guidelines below to determine where to continue their foreign language studies at Geneseo.

    Learning Outcomes: Students will demonstrate,

  • Basic proficiency in the understanding and use of a foreign language.
  • Knowledge of the distinctive features of culture(s) associated with the language they are studying.
  • 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.

    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
    Studied 4 or more years take Placement Examination unless entering with AP or other college-level credits

    * 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.