1. Every undergraduate student who has successfully completed three years of one language in high school and passed the Regents Level 3 Exam has satisfied the Brooklyn College language requirement.
2. A student wishing to continue a language studied in high school must complete Level 3 of that language at Brooklyn College with a passing grade.
3. A student who has studied a language in high school for at least two years and wants to study a different language in college must complete a minimum of two semesters of the new language to fulfill the requirement.
4. A student whose native language is not English may be exempted from the language requirement by passing a competency exam administered by the department. (For more information about specific department policy, please consult the sections on Exemption from the language requirement and Placement.)
5. Neither blanket or equivalent credits will be given for introductory foreign languages courses from which a student has been exempted by examination.
Additional details are supplied in the sections related to the Foreign language requirement, Exemption from the language requirement, and Placement, in this booklet.
Q. Does Brooklyn College have a language requirement?
A. Yes. The foreign language requirement, summarized on the inside front cover of this booklet, is part of the core curriculum.
Q. What does it consist of?
A. In principle, every undergraduate student who has not ssuccessfully completed three years of one language in high school and passed the Regents Level 3 Exam must complete Level 3 of a language at Brooklyn College with a passing grade.
Q. Does that mean that every student who has not passed the Regents Exam in high school has to study a language at Brooklyn College?
A. No. There are a number of exceptions. Please consult the section Exemption from the language requirement.
Q. Do I have to complete the entire Language 1 - 3 sequence, starting at the beginning?
A. No. A student may enter the Language 1 - 3 sequence (Elementary I and II and Intermediate I) at whatever level is appropriate. For details, please see the section on Placement.
Q. Will the Intensive Elementary and Intermediate Spanish 1.2 & 3.2 sequence fulfill the requirement?
A. Yes, but you should be aware of certain important details regarding this language sequence: it meets five hours a week, for four credits, and is intended to prepare students for Spanish 4. Also, any student choosing to switch to Spanish 2 after completing Spanish 1.2 will only receive two credits for that course. This sequence will be scheduled at the same hours during the fall and spring semester.
Q. What happens if I don't wish to continue with the language I studied in high school or at another college?
A. In this case--if you choose to begin the study of another foreign language at Brooklyn College--you may not have to complete it through Level 3. For example, if you passed two years of Spanish in high school and you decide to study French at Brooklyn, you would only have to complete Elementary French I and II to fulfill the language requirement. If you wish to change to a different language from that studied at another college you should see a department counselor.
Q. Are languages other than modern foreign languages acceptable?
A. Of course. The two languages taught in the Department of Classics (Ancient Greek and Latin) also fulfill the language requirement. A student choosing this option should consult with a counselor in that department as well as in the Department of Modern Languages. Languages not taught at Brooklyn College and studied elsewhere are also acceptable. In such a case, you must see a department counselor and bring with you an official description of the course.
Q. If I am not exempt from the language requirement, when should I take the language courses I need to fulfill the requirement?
A. Don't wait! Especially if you are continuing in a foreign language you studied in high school or at a community college. The longer you are away from the language, the more problems can arise. If you choose to continue a language studied elsewhere, you should try to do so in your first year at Brooklyn College. Also, students who wait until the last minute sometimes find that, due to circumstances beyond their control (such as scheduling), they are prevented from graduating on time because they haven't finished their required language courses. Remember, the sooner you fulfill the language requirement, the better.
Q. What if I am returning to college after many years?
A. Coming back to college after time away can be difficult, especially when it comes to the study of a foreign language (please see the section on Placement). Department counselors are ready to assist you.
Exemption from the language requirement
Q. I studied a language in high school. Do I need to take a language at Brooklyn College?
A. That depends on a number of factors such as where you studied the language, what level you reached, and any official examinations you may have passed.
Q. I took the Regents Level 3 exam in high school. Does that fulfill the Brooklyn College language requirement?
A. If you passed the Regents exam, you have satisfied the foreign language requirement. If you did not pass it, you must study a language at Brooklyn College.
Q. What if I studied a language for two or more years in high school, without taking the Regents exam?
A. You may either continue with your study of the language (please see the section on Placement), or you may complete a minimum of two semesters of a new language at the college to fulfill the requirement.
Q. I attended a high school that does not adminster the Regents exam. What should I do?
A. You should see a department counselor, with your high school transcript.
Q. I attended high school in the Caribbean. How do I know whether I am exempt from the college language requirement?
A. If you have a passing score on an O-Level exam in a foreign language, you are exempt from the language requirement.
Q. My native language is not English. Do I need to study a foreign language at Brooklyn College to fulfill the language requirement?
A. If you have completed through grade 10 in a non English-speaking country, or in a high school where courses are taught in a language other than English, it is department policy to exempt from the language requirement (you must see a department counselor, and bring proof of your high school education).
Q. I don't fit into any of the categories above, but I have both reading and writing skills in a foreign language.
A. You may be exempted from the language requirement if you pass a competency exam administered by the department. This exam carries no college credit. Please see a department counselor for more information.
Q. Will I get college credit for Language 1 - 4 if I pass the CLEP exam?
A. No. Brooklyn College does not grant college credit for the CLEP exam.
Q. What if I have doubts about my own particular case?
A. You should consult a department counselor at scheduled office hours. Please be sure to bring your transcript(s) and any other relevant records.
PlacementQ. How do I know which language course I should register for?
A. This is not a simple matter. Correct placement is determined by a set of guidelines, summarized in the following questions and answers, to which there are certain exceptions that take into consideration the individual student's past experience. Details are given on page 191 of the 1994-1997 Brooklyn College Bulletin.
Q. Who should register for Language 1 (Elementary I) courses?
A. These courses are designed for students with no prior experience in the language, or who have completed one year or less in high school.
Q. Who should register for Language 2 (Elementary II) courses?
A. Students who have completed Level 1 of the language at Brooklyn College, a senior or community college, or who have completed two years in high school.
Q. Who should register for Language 3 (Intermediate I) courses?
A. Students who have completed Level 2 of the language at Brooklyn College, a senior or community college, or who have completed three years in high school without passing the Regents exam.
Q. I took one or two semesters of a language at another college, but I don't think I can continue at Brooklyn College at the level indicated by the above guidelines.
A. If you were granted transfer credit for this, you may not repeat the course(s) for credit at Brooklyn College. If you have questions, please see a department counselor.
Q. I passed the Regents exam and want to go on in the language. What course should I register for?
A. Probably, Language 4. If you have doubts, please consult a department counselor.
Q. I took four years of a language in high school and want to continue. What should I register for?
A. Once again, Language 4 is your best bet. A department counselor will be glad to advise you.
Q. I have been away from the study of the language for a number of years. May I begin at a lower level than stated above?
A. This is possible only if you receive the written recommendation of a department counselor at the beginning of the semester. Without such a recommendation, you will be denied credit for the course by the Office of Student Records when it is time for you to graduate.
Q. I registered for a language course following the placement guidelines, and after a few classes I found it to be too difficult. What should I do?
A Speak to your instructor immediately, and ask him or her for a written recommendation placing you where you would feel more comfortable. Bring this recommendation to a department counselor, who will take care of the necessary paper work and insure that you are able to make the switch without having to pay an extra fee.
Q. I already speak the language I want to study. What courses may I take?
A. This depends greatly on your past experience. Language 4 and above (except for 4.5) are possibilities for you. You will not receive credit for Language 1, 2, and 3 without written permission. Please consult a department counselor.
Q. Do I have to be a major in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures to take advanced elective courses?
A. Not at all! Students majoring in other disciplines are welcome in our courses. Indeed, many native speakers and ESL students feel at home in our advanced electives. It is also possible to minor in a number of languages (please see The minor).