FAQ

Topics


Language Proficiency Requirement

How many Spanish classes do I need to take to fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?
All students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Carroll School of Management must demonstrate competency in a foreign language before graduation. The required competency is equivalent to four semesters of study of a single foreign language up to and including Intermediate Spanish II (SPAN1116). (CSOM offers additional options for fulfilling the language requirement). The Lynch School of Education and the Connell School of Nursing do not have a language requirement.

Does the AP Spanish Language Exam fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?
Yes. If you scored a 3 or above on the AP Spanish Language Exam, you have already fulfilled the BC language proficiency requirement.

Does the Spanish SAT Test fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement? Yes. If you scored 550 or above on the SAT Test in Spanish, you have already fulfilled the BC language proficiency requirement. (Note that both forms of the test are acceptable: with or without the listening component.)

Does the IB Spanish Language Exam fulfill the BC Language proficiency requirement?
Yes. If you score 6 or 7 higher level on the IB Language Exam in Spanish you have already fulfilled the BC language proficiency requirement.

Can the Placement Test be used to fulfill the BC language proficiency requirement?
No. The Placement Test helps students who have already studied Spanish with placement but it cannot be used to fulfill the language proficiency requirement. After they take the Placement Test, students receive a course recommendation in order to enroll during the registration period. During the first week of class, instructors will confirm students’ placement. If needed, a change will be made.

Am I allowed to take a course on a pass/fail basis to fulfill the University's language proficiency requirement?
No. Students may not take foreign language courses on a pass/fail basis until they have completed the University’s language proficiency requirement.

Do I have to take a language course at BC if I have already fulfilled the language proficiency requirement?

No, but you are welcome to continue studying Spanish if you would like to improve your language skills. We also offer upper level courses for students who want to become highly proficient in Spanish.


Questions about Placement

Who has to take the BC Spanish Placement Test?

  • If you have studied Spanish but have not taken the SAT Subject Test or the Spanish Language AP Exam, take the Placement Test.
  • If you have taken the AP Exam and have not yet received the score, you should take the Spanish Placement Test and register for the course suggested upon finishing the test. When you receive the score, you should do the necessary placement adjustment according to the information provided in the table below:

IB Language Exam in Spanish SAT Test Scores in Spanish AP Exam Scores in Spanish Course or test to be taken
6/7 higher level 550 or above 3 or above Language requirement fulfilled
  659 or less 3 Take the Placement Test if you wish to continue further studies in Spanish and register for the course suggest upon finishing the test. 
6/7 higher level 660-710 4 SPAN2215 Conversation, Composition and Reading I
  710 or above 5 SPAN3392 Advanced Spanish

Who does not have to take the BC Spanish Placement Test?

  • If you scored 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test* or a 3 or above on the Spanish Language AP Exam, or 6/7 on the IB Language Exam (higher level), you have fulfilled the language requirement and do not need to take the Spanish Placement Test unless you would like to pursue further studies in Spanish.
  • If you have never studied Spanish, you do not need to take the Spanish Placement Test. You should register for SPAN1015 Elementary Spanish I and SPAN1017 Elementary Spanish Practicum I. SPAN1017 is an intensive one-credit supplementary course open to all students concurrently enrolled in SPAN1015 who feel they need extra practice to fine-tune their Spanish skills. Students with no previous experience in Spanish will be given priority for enrollment.
  • If you transfer Spanish courses from another institution, are a student in Education and/or Nursing or have never studied Spanish, you do not need to take the Placement Test. Make sure you have contacted the Admissions Office to transfer your courses.

*Note that either form of the SAT Subject Test is acceptable: with or without the listening component.

Do I earn credits by taking the BC Spanish Placement test?
No. Credits are not earned by taking the BC Language Placement Test.

How do I know what Spanish language class I should register for?

  • Freshmen who studied Spanish in high school but did not take the AP Spanish Language Exam or the SAT Subject Test in Spanish are required to take the BC Spanish Language Placement Test to determine what course they should register for.
  • Freshmen who score a 3 on the AP Spanish Language Exam or 659 or less on the SAT Subject Test in Spanish and wish to continue further studies in Spanish, register for the course suggested upon finishing the Spanish Placement Test.
  • Freshmen who score above 4 on the AP Spanish Language Exam or above 660 on the SAT Subject Test in Spanish will be placed in the upper level courses (please consult the General Guidelines for Placement on our web page to determine the appropriate course).

What courses do I need to take if I have never studied Spanish?
If you have never studied Spanish, you do not need to take the Placement Test. Enroll in Elementary Spanish I (SPAN1015) and Elementary Spanish Practicum I (SPAN1017). SPAN1017 is an intensive, one-credit supplementary course open to all students concurrently enrolled in SPAN1015 who feel they need extra practice to fine-tune their Spanish skills. Students with no previous experience in Spanish will be given priority for enrollment.

What do I do if I feel like the course in which I was placed is not the right fit?
If you feel that the course in which you were placed is not appropriate for you, talk to your instructor or the course Coordinator. Remember that in order to be admitted to a course for which you do not have the corresponding test scores, you need permission from the Coordinator. Please stop by during the special placement office hours offered during the first week of classes to see the Coordinator of Elementary and Intermediate Spanish, Prof. Silvana Falconi (falconis@bc.edu), or the Coordinator of CCR and Advanced Spanish, Prof. Esther Gimeno Ugalde (gimeno@bc.edu).

Which course should I take if I am a native speaker of Spanish or I have learned Spanish at home?
Your placement may require special consideration depending on factors such as whether Spanish is your first or second language, whether you attended school in a Spanish speaking country, and whether you studied Spanish in high school. For accurate placement, please contact the Coordinator of CCR and Advanced Spanish, Prof. Esther Gimeno Ugalde (gimeno@bc.edu)


Doubts about Course Selection

What can I do if I still have doubts about my course selection?
At the beginning of each semester, the coordinators of the Spanish Language Program offer special placement office hours to help students who still have doubts about their placement. Your instructor will inform you about the dates and time.

Additionally, every semester the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures organizes (in November and April) a Pre-Registration Open House in the Lyons 3rd floor hallway for all students interested in taking courses within the Department. Our faculty will inform you about our course offerings and give you personalized advice in order for you to choose the best Spanish courses. For further details about the next Open House, please contact: rll@bc.edu.


Major and Minor in Hispanic Studies

Which language courses count towards the major or minor in Hispanic Studies?
Conversation, Composition and Reading II (SPAN2216) and Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) may be credited toward the major or minor in Hispanic Studies.

Does the Advanced Spanish Practicum (SPAN3390) count toward the major or minor in Hispanic Studies?
The Advanced Spanish Practicum (SPAN3390) is an intensive, one-credit supplementary course open to all students enrolled in Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) who would like extra practice to fine-tune their Spanish skills, but it does not count as an elective credit for the major or minor in Hispanic Studies. However, students pursuing a major or minor in Hispanic Studies are strongly encouraged to take this course.

Can I take the Advanced Spanish Practicum (SPAN3390) without taking Advanced Spanish (SPAN3390)?
This is rarely allowed. The Advanced Spanish Practicum (SPAN3390) is an intensive, one-credit supplementary course designed for Advanced Spanish students who would like extra practice to fine-tune their Spanish skills. Concurrent enrollment in Advanced Spanish is a prerequisite for the practicum. Other students can be accepted only in exceptional cases with prior permission of the course coordinator.

Can I take Spanish literature courses without having taken any Spanish language courses at BC?
In order to prepare for Spanish literature courses, you need to take at least Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) or other language courses depending on your level of proficiency (see General Guidelines for Placement). Mastering the language is essential to understanding complex literary texts in Spanish and to be able to write academic papers in the target language. If you scored a 5 on the AP Spanish Literature Exam you need to take Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392).

Can I take Contextos (SPAN3395) first and then Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392)?
No. Although both are 300-level courses, you must take Advanced Spanish (SPAN3395) before taking Contextos (SPAN3392).

Can I take Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) and Contextos (SPAN3395) simultaneously?
This is strongly discouraged. Because Contextos (SPAN3395) requires a high-level command of the written language and excellent reading and speaking skills, it is not recommended that students take both courses at the same time. You will perform better in Contextos (SPAN3395) after you successfully complete Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392), which is a language course with a special focus on writing, oral interaction and grammar review at an advanced level.

Can I take Contextos (SPAN3395) after CCR2 (SPAN2216)?
No. CCR2 (SPAN2216) does not qualify you to take Contextos. You must take Advanced Spanish (SPAN3392) before Contextos (SPAN3395).


Course Procedures

What if the language course I need to take is full?
You need to try to register in another section. After the add/drop period ends, you will not be able to add a language course.

What if I want to take an incomplete in my current Spanish language class and finish it later?
A final course grade of I (Incomplete) is rarely assigned in Spanish language courses and may only be considered an option in cases where an unexpected, extreme situation –such as a personal or medical emergency– prevents a student from completing the final major assignment(s) of the course. A student must be passing in order to be considered for an incomplete and the request must be made after the automatic “W” deadline has passed. A petition for an incomplete must be accompanied by appropriate and verifiable documentation. Incompletes are not issued due to chronic missed work or absences over the course of the semester; a withdrawal is more appropriate for such students.


Academic Support

What can I do if I am experiencing academic challenges in my current course?
Your instructor is required to hold office hours each week. Make a list of your questions and/or concerns before attending your instructor’s office hours. If these hours conflict with your class schedule, speak with him/her about arranging an alternate time to meet. Most instructors are flexible and will be willing to meet with you to discuss ways to improve your performance in the class and how to strengthen your skills.

Another resource is the Connors Family Learning Center (CFLC), which offers free tutoring services in Spanish for students who wish to improve their understanding or further challenge themselves. Please contact the Center to get more information about language tutoring services.

What should I do if I have a disability and would like to request accommodations for my course?
Students should contact either the Associate Director, Academic Support Services, of the Connors Family Learning Center (learning disabilities and ADHD) or the Assistant Dean for Students with Disabilities (all other disabilities) to make accommodations at least 7 days prior for coursework, tests, assessments, support, etc. Students should submit documentation to them at the beginning of the term.


Study Abroad

Do I have to take Spanish courses at BC in order to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country?
Regardless of their level of proficiency, students are recommended to take at least one language course at BC before studying abroad. Each study abroad program has different language requirements. Please contact the OIP (Office of International Programs) to learn more about specific language requirements for study abroad and make your academic plans accordingly.

Can I take language and literature courses after my study abroad?
Yes. The Hispanic Section (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures) offers a variety of language courses that can be chosen as electives. We strongly encourage students to continue studying Spanish after studying abroad in order to maintain and improve their proficiency, and to take literature courses in our Department as well. After studying abroad you may also want to consider the possibility of declaring a major or minor in Hispanic Studies.


Other Opportunities to Practice Spanish on Campus

Where can I practice my Spanish outside the classroom?
During the semester we offer an opportunity for Spanish conversation through our Café en español, which meets on a weekly basis. This is a unique opportunity for all students, whether or not they are enrolled in Spanish language courses, to practice and improve oral skills in a relaxed and informal environment with faculty, native speakers, and other students. The Café meets on Wednesdays from 1-1:50 pm in Welch Dining Room (aka “the Rat”) in the basement of Lyons.

Students interested in a more immersive program are encouraged to apply for housing in La Casa Hispánica. This special interest housing floor offers daily practice, and cultural experiences in an intimate community committed to speaking Spanish.

Am I eligible to apply for housing in La Casa Hispanica?
Students are invited to apply for residence atLa Casa Hispánica (Vouté Hall) in the Spring of their Freshman, Sophomore or Junior years. Applicants should have at least moderate proficiency in Spanish; native speakers will be considered, but preference is given to non-native speakers. Interested candidates are strongly encouraged to participate in house activities open to the public during the year before they apply.


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