Foreign Language Requirement and Placement Exams

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

Foreign Language Remote Placement Exam

Department of Global Languages & Cultures

Upcoming exam dates:

  • More dates coming soon

Contact the Administrative Assistant, Ms. Skinner at to schedule a time to come into the office Monday-Friday 9:00am-3:00pm to take the exam.

For the exam you will need:

  • State ID with picture and name
  • Geneseo Student number (G00XXXXXX)
  • Bring your own laptop

If you have a documented disability and require accommodations beyond extended time, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services via email at at least two weeks in advance of your scheduled exam date.

Foreign Language Graduation Requirement, Effective Fall 2021

Foreign Language (L/)
Courses offered at Geneseo 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 (70% or above) of four complete years in the same language of a high school level foreign language, including American Sign Language. Language study prior to high school is not accepted.
  2. A score of 4 or above on the Advanced Placement Examination, 6 or above on the IB standard exam; 4 or above on the IB advanced exam; or 60 or above on the CLEP, Level 2 exam in a foreign language.
  3. Placement beyond the second elementary level on Geneseo’s language placement examination.* This exam is offered at orientation, at designated times during the semester (more information above), or online (this option may require a pre-approved proctor and a fee may be assessed by the testing agency).
  4. Completion of college-level work in a foreign language through the second elementary level.
  5. Effective Fall 2019, students may meet the language requirement by demonstrating proficiency through the first intermediate level in American Sign Language.
  6. This policy will be effective Fall 2021 and applies to students entering during the 2017-18 catalogue year and thereafter.

*As language proficiency declines without continued use, the placement exam score is valid for one academic year (September to May); therefore, it is highly recommended that students complete the sequence (101-102) within one year of taking the exam. If a student wishes to continue with a language after one year, they must retake the placement exam to demonstrate proficiency.

Effective Fall 2017, the placement exam is mandatory for any student who wishes to enroll in courses offered by the Department of Languages and Literatures.

Effective Fall 2021, the language programs in the Department of Languages and Literatures will move to a 4-credit curriculum. With the revised curriculum and credit hours, the language requirement for General Education will be successfully completed with a 102/L course (8 credits total, if students start at the 101 level).

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

It is not always possible to determine the appropriate level for every student based on high school experience alone. The Placement Examination is thus the best way to get into the appropriate language course.

Language Placement Examinations are offered at Geneseo in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. For information about our placement test schedule, please call the main office of the Department of Languages and Literatures at 245-5247 (leave a message if prompted) or email the Department Administrative Assistant, Ms. Melinda Skinner, at

Placement tests in other languages are available for a fee through NYU or BYU. The language placement test from NYU is available in the following languages:

  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Bengali
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Cantonese
  • Creole
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Finnish
  • French
  • German
  • Greek (Modern)
  • Gujarati
  • Haitian
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Ibo
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Norwegian
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese
  • Yiddish