Students are encouraged to plan ahead regarding the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences language proficiency requirement. Non-fulfillment of the language proficiency requirement is a leading reason Seniors often fail to graduate on time. All Morrissey students must, prior to graduation, demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level in a modern foreign language or in a classical language. The Department Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies certifies fulfillment of the Morrissey language proficiency requirement in all the modern foreign languages and classical languages taught in the department. “Heritage” students “fluent” in their parents’ languages need to demonstrate ability to function at an academic Intermediate level in those languages, not merely a “colloquial” “familial” one. This means that students need to test successfully in all language skills (Reading, Speaking, Writing, Listening Comprehension, and Grammar.) If after taking the placement test students do not demonstrate proficiency at the Intermediate Level, they may be required to take the appropriate language course(s) for a letter grade, in order to fulfill the university language requirement.
Proficiency Requirements and Placement Exams
Chinese Language Placement/Proficiency Test Information
This test is required for students who:
- are from a Chinese heritage family
- OR have learned Chinese in middle and/or high school
- OR have stayed in China or Chinese-speaking countries/regions for significant amounts of time
Students who took the AP Chinese test or SATII subject test should still take this test regardless of your test score(s), in order to better determine the level at which you should begin your Chinese coursework at BC.
Students who have never studied Chinese or spoken Chinese at home do not need to take the Placement Test. Please enroll in EALC1121 Elementary Chinese I (Lecture + Practicum).
Students who scored a 4 or 5 on the Chinese language AP exam or over 700 on the SATII Chinese subject test have fulfilled the MCAS foreign language proficiency requirement. Please contact the Office of Student Services or Academic Advising Center for assistance in applying for an exemption based on your score.
Students must take this test prior to the beginning of the fall semester. To request an online placement test, send an email to Fang Lu, Coordinator of the Chinese Program, at email@example.com. In your email, provide your BC Eagle IDs and indicate the type of Chinese character you read (Simplified or Traditional). The online test will be available from August 24 to August 28, 2022.
The Chinese Placement Test consists of three parts: A. Listening Comprehension; B. Grammar & Reading Comprehension + Writing; C. Oral Interview.
- The sections of Listening Comprehension and Grammar & Reading Comprehension consist of multiple-choice questions online. Please make sure you have headphones for listening or a quiet place to play audio recordings from your computer.
- In the section of Writing, you will be asked to handwrite a very short composition. Please make sure that you have paper and pencil for writing. You also need a smartphone or other device to photograph and upload your writing sample.
- After finishing parts A and B, you will be contacted to set up a time for your Oral Interview, either on Zoom or in-person. The oral interview will most likely be on your first day of class.
Students who missed the test prior to the beginning of the fall semester and need to take it during the regular semester OR students who seek to satisfy the language requirement by proof of native proficiency, please contact Professor Fang Lu at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please sign up for the course suggested upon finishing the placement test.
German Language Proficiency Requirements
If you have never studied German, you do NOT need to take the German Placement Test. Enroll in GERM1001: Elementary German I.
If you have learned any German prior to enrolling at Boston College—e.g., in elementary, middle, or high school, at a foreign institution, during a stay abroad, or informally with your family—you MUST take the German Placement Test.
AP/SAT Subject Test: Students must take the German Placement Test unless they received a 4 or 5 on the AP German exam or higher than 700 on the SAT German subject test. Submit scores to Boston College to satisfy the MCAS foreign language proficiency requirement. Consult with Prof. Daniel Bowles for what topics course you can sign up for and to learn more about study/work abroad opportunities.
To take the German Placement Test, please enroll here with your Boston College log-in credentials: https://bostoncollege.instructure.com/enroll/FHNXDG
After students have completed the German Placement Test, Prof. Bowles will e-mail their proper registration assignment.
The German Studies program welcomes native speakers of German into our English-language courses on German literature and culture, but permission of the instructor is required for enrollment in higher-level literature and culture courses conducted in German.
Please contact Prof. Daniel Bowles, email@example.com
Japanese Language Placement/Proficiency Requirements
Students who have never studied Japanese or spoken Japanese at home DO NOT need to take the Placement Test. You can enroll in EALC1221 Elementary Japanese 1.
This test is required for students who either are from a Japanese heritage family AND/OR who have learned Japanese in middle and/or high school or stayed in Japan for significant amounts of time. Students who took the AP Japanese test or SATII subject test should still take this test regardless of your test score(s), to better determine the level at which you should begin your Japanese course work at BC.
Students who scored a 4 or 5 on the Japanese language AP exam or over 700 on the SATII Japanese subject test have fulfilled the MCAS foreign language proficiency requirement. Please contact the Office of Student Services or Academic Advising Center for assistance in applying for an exemption based on your score.
Students must take this test prior to the beginning of the fall semester. Please sign up for the course suggested upon finishing the test.
Students who missed the test prior to the beginning of the fall semester and need to take it during the regular semester OR students who seek to satisfy the language requirement by proof of native proficiency, please contact Ritsuko Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out about your appropriate placement in the Japanese language curriculum at BC, follow the Three-step process described below:
Step 1. Preliminary Self Sorting
The preliminary self-sorting can be helpful as a first step towards working out the entire Fall schedule for yourself.
The Japanese Language Placement Test at BC consists of a standardized test (Grammar, Reading and Writing) followed by an interview (Listening and Speaking). You will be able to change to a different course later after your placement has been finalized and during the add-and-drop period.
Step 2. Online Test
The Grammar and Reading section will be given in a standard multiple-choice format. You do not need to do any special preparatory study for the test. Depending on the level you are aiming at placing yourself into, the test can last anytime from half an hour to two hours. To take the test, please click on the link below.
Step 3. Interview during the First Week via Zoom
Your online test score will preliminarily place you into a likely level of Japanese course. Attend the first class of the recommended course on Monday, August 31, where the instructor will finalize your placement based on both the test score and an interview via zoom that week.
Language Requirement at Boston College: Korean
The Language Proficiency requirement of the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences (MCAS) encourages a holistic educational model for all undergraduate students, so that they can graduate with a global and cross-cultural perspective.
There are different ways to demonstrate proficiency in Korean:
- By successful completion of Intermediate Korean II (EALC2312), Accelerated Intermediate Korean (EALC2314), or a Korean course beyond the intermediate level (EALC4311, EALC4312).
- By achieving a score of 4 or higher on the AP Korean Language Exam.
- By achieving a score of 700 or higher on the SAT Subject Test in Korean.
Students are strongly encouraged to address the language requirement as early as possible in their academic career, i.e., in their first semester at Boston College. Non-fulfillment of the language requirement is one of the principal reasons why seniors are unable to graduate on time. Before graduation, all students in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences must demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level in a modern foreign language or a classical language. (Note: The Carroll School of Management, Lynch School of Education, and Connell School of Nursing do not have a language requirement.)
Please note that taking the placement test does not alone fulfill the BC foreign language proficiency requirement. Also, note that all courses taken to fulfill the language requirement must be taken for a letter grade, i.e., not Pass/Fail.
For further information on the language requirement in the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences and the various ways in which one may fulfill this requirement, please consult these pages from the BC Student Service's guide for incoming students.
This sheet contains useful information for incoming first-year students during summer orientation, as well as for all students and advisors throughout the academic year, in determining a course of language study. Registering for the right level course is crucial for success in studying a foreign language.
Despite quantitative exams and general guidelines, proper language placement is not an exact science. In some cases, placement might be determined by attending the first days of classes and consulting with your language instructor or language coordinator immediately. If you believe you fall into this category, i.e., the class seems too difficult or too basic, please contact your instructor before the end of the first week of the drop/add period. It is important to follow the professional advice of your instructors in this matter.
Our language curriculum is structured progressively, that is, one course builds on the previous one in helping to develop mastery of all the necessary skills—reading, listening, writing, speaking—in order to attain true language mastery. Experience has shown that, frequently, if you skip one of the courses in this carefully designed sequence, it is likely that you will not do well in a current course or, just as importantly, not reach a level of competence necessary to succeed in higher-level courses.
To find your appropriate placement in the Korean language curriculum at BC, follow this three-step process:
Step 1. Preliminary Self-Evaluation
If you have never studied Korean or if you studied the language in high school for one to two years, take EALC1311 Elementary Korean I.
If you studied Korean for 2-3 years in high school or one year at the college level, take EALC2311 Intermediate Korean I.
If you studied Korean for 3-4 years in high school or 2 years at the college level, take EALC4311 Advanced Korean I.
If you have received significant exposure to Korean language and culture, and thus have some listening and speaking skills, but haven’t had sufficient opportunity to develop knowledge of basic reading, writing, and grammar in Korean, take EALC1341 Accelerated Elementary Korean.
NB: Please note that you may be required to take the placement test during the add-and-drop period and be redirected to another course.
Step 2. Placement Testing
Students have the option to take the online placement test beginning the week of August 22. For the most part, the test has a standard multiple-choice format. You do not need to do any preparatory studying for the test. Depending on the level you’re aiming at placing into, the test can last anywhere from a half-hour to two hours.
Students who have NOT taken a Korean course at Boston College, the AP Language Exam, or the SAT Subject Test in Korean, but believe they have proficiency above the intermediate level, should take an in-person proficiency test. The dates and times for this exam in the fall are as follows: September 2 (F) 11-12:30 and November 16 (W) 11-12:30.
To access the appropriate placement test, please email Professor Kyung-Jin Rhee (email@example.com) as soon as possible.
Step 3. Interview before or during the First Week
All students who have taken the placement test will have a brief interview with an instructor via Zoom at a time mutually arranged on before the first week, after which the instructor will guide them to their final placement, based on the test score and Zoom interview. Alternatively, students can attend the first class on Monday, August 29, where the instructor will guide final placement, based on an interview and, if necessary, a placement test.
Students who seek to satisfy the language requirement by proving native proficiency, please contact Professor Seung Hee Jeon (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note, though, that most students who were born and raised in a Korean-American family or who moved from Korea to the U.S. during their childhood do not qualify for “native proficiency.”
For information, please contact:
Arabic Language Proficiency Requirements
- If you studied Modern Standard Arabic before coming to Boston College, you must take the Arabic Placement test prior to the beginning of the Fall semester.
If you have never studied Modern Standard Arabic, you must register in Elementary Arabic I and its co-requisite Elementary Arabic I Practicum.
If you have never studied Arabic but learned a variant (Syrian, Egyptian, Iraqi etc..) in a family setting (“heritage speaker,”) you must take the Modern Standard Arabic Placement test, and sign up for the course recommended after the test.
Please note that the Department of Eastern, Slavic, and German Studies welcomes “native speakers” of Arabic into English-language courses on Arabic and Near Eastern literature and culture courses, and in upper level language courses conducted in Arabic. Students with advanced knowledge of Modern Standard Arabic may not enroll in Arabic language courses designed for students still learning the language.
Russian Language Proficiency Requirements
Students who have never studied Russian or spoken Russian at home DO NOT need to take the placement test. Please enroll in SLAV1121, Introduction to Russian I.
The placement test is required for students who wish to take intermediate or above level of Russian. Generally, these are students who have studied Russian in secondary school and/or speak Russian at home.
If you are seeking to fulfill the MCAS foreign language proficiency requirement with Russian, you should sign up for the placement test. Please be advised that speaking Russian fluently alone is not enough. You will need do demonstrate intermediate proficiency not only in speaking and listening but also in writing and reading.
Students must take the placement test prior to the beginning of the fall semester. If you miss the test, please contact Professor Tony Lin at email@example.com for alternative arrangement.
The Russian placement test consists of: 1) a written test focusing on grammar, and 2) an oral interview.
For other Slavic languages (the Department offers Polish and Bulgarian), as well as to schedule a Language Placement test, please contact Professor Tony Lin at firstname.lastname@example.org.