Language Courses and Requirements at Gustavus

Learning a second language is a key piece of a well-rounded education in the reality of today’s global world. No matter what you chose to study, learning a foreign language will open new possibilities for you in the future and will enhance your resumes in an increasingly competitive job market. Language study is central to the college experience in exploring how as individuals we relate to the rest of the planet. Deepening the study of another language opens your eyes to new realities and other ways to see the world. Whether you want to expand your knowledge of another language and cultural understanding of the world, explore a new language, or meet the minimum college requirements, below you will find helpful information about how to start your language studies at Gustavus. You may also check out our new interactive tool!


THE NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE GRADUATION REQUIREMENT

 

  • Curriculum I students must pass the beginning sequence in a language (the first two courses) or demonstrate equivalency.
  • 3 Crowns Curriculum students are required to complete a language through the third semester equivalent (FRE-201, GER-201, GRE-201, JPN-201, LAT-201, RUS-201, SPA-103, or SWE-201) or demonstrate equivalency.
  • Phi Beta Kappa students will need a total of four semesters of foreign language or equivalent.


We encourage you to deepen your knowledge of a language by taking additional courses beyond the graduation requirement. If you have previous experience in a non-English language taught at Gustavus, a simple placement exam will let you know where to start in the sequence possibly taking intermediate or advanced courses with different cultural focuses. Take a look at the many language options offered at Gustavus and consider starting the study of a new language.


LANGUAGE PLACEMENT and EQUIVALENCY EXAMS

 

THE PLACEMENT EXAM

The language placement exam is intended for students who have previous experience or coursework in a language and want to study that language at Gustavus. This exam gives a general idea of student abilities to identify placement into Gustavus language courses, however it is NOT a comprehensive exam that certifies equivalency.

YOU SHOULD TAKE THE ONLINE PLACEMENT EXAM:

  • If you are planning to major or minor in French or Spanish and have not completed post-secondary options (college) coursework in the language. If you wish to major or minor, it is highly recommended you register for French or Spanish courses as soon as possible in your freshman year. At any point, talk to a French or Spanish advisor if you have any questions about your placement.
  • If you are planning to continue your study of Chinese, French, German or Spanish and have not completed post-secondary options (college) coursework in the language. You can take this exam only once so take it before the semester you intend on continuing your study to get an accurate reading of placement. Please go to the placement exam page for more instruction on how to take the exam.

YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE THE PLACEMENT EXAM:

  • If you are planning to fulfill the graduation requirement by beginning the study of a new language. At Gustavus we offer Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. If you encounter difficulties registering for the 101 level online, please contact the Registrar's Offfice.
  • If you have previous knowledge of Chinese, French, German or Spanish and would like to register for your language courses in a future semester. Pease take the placement the semester before you intend on continuing the study of this language for an optimal reading of your language ability.
  • If you have college credit (College in the Schools, AP [score 4 or higher], IB [higher level exams], PSEO) you do not need to take the placement exam. The registrar will notify you which language course you should take next, depending on your situation. Please contact the Registrar's Office if you have questions about your placement.
  • If you do not have college credit and do not intend to continue the study of this language then you should take the equivalency exam as soon as possible. If you fail to prove equivalency you will be need to register for language course(s).

See the Frequently Asked Questions section for answers to questions about languages not offered at Gustavus, and other more specific questions.

EQUIVALENCY EXAM

The equivalency exam proves you have the ability equivalent to that of two college-level foreign language courses (Curriculum I); three college-level foreign language courses (3 Crowns Curriculum); and four college-level foreign language courses (for Phi Beta Kappa students). The equivalency exam is a comprehensive exam that measures your reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities in French, German or Spanish. For exam dates, and details on how to prove equivalency in other languages, please refer to the equivalency exam page.

YOU SHOULD TAKE THE EQUIVALENCY EXAM

  • If you think you can demonstrate equivalency to fulfill the graduation requirement and do not plan to study French, German or Spanish at Gustavus.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO TAKE THE EQUIVALENCY EXAM

  • If you are completing your language requirement through courses at Gustavus.
  • If you have college credit (College in the Schools, AP [score 4 or higher], IB [higher level exams], PSEO) you do not need to prove equivalency. For more information see admissions website or contact the Registrar if you have questions.

If you have any questions regarding placement or equivalency exam, please email Dr. Laurent Dechery for French, Pat Branstad for German, and both Dr. María Isabel Kalbermatten and Dr. Ana Adams for Spanish.