Language Placement

You may wish to continue studying a language that you began learning in high school or with which you are familiar, or you may choose to begin a new language. Below you will find relevant information about placement in the appropriate course level.

Continuing a Language

If you wish to continue studying a language that you began learning in high school or with which you are familiar:

Arabic, Hebrew, or Japanese
You will be placed into the appropriate course level according to the following number of years that you have studied this language:

  • 4 years of the language and a GPA >3.5 : enrollment in 1502
  • 4 years of the language and a GPA <3.5 : enrollment in 1501
  • 3 years of the language and a GPA >3.5 : enrollment in 1501
  • 1, 2, or 3 years of the language and a GPA <3.5 : enrollment in 1001 or 1002 (if available)
  • Less than 1 year of the language (or if 1002 is not available): enrollment in 1001


*If you have taken and passed a foreign language core course at Fordham, you must proceed to the next level of the core requirement. You must not skip a semester unless you receive proper evaluation and advice from a faculty member in the language of the department, and receive approval from the department's associate chair.

**If you feel that you have been incorrectly placed in a course, please proceed to the class you are enrolled in. During the add/drop period, at the beginning of each semester, your instructor will evaluate your proficiency in the language, and will make a recommendation to you and the department's associate chair in your college. The associate chair will help you adjust your schedule accordingly.

French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, or Spanish
You must take an online placement exam in order to determine your appropriate course level. The score on this exam will determine in which course you must enroll.

Online Placement Exam Guidelines

This exam is called a CAPE (Computer Adaptive Placement) exam and must be taken on a computer with Internet access and a web browser. It is designed for students of all levels, from beginning to advanced, and consists of a database of thousands of questions. You will answer only a few. This is not a test you pass or fail; it is a tool to aid us in finding the appropriate class for you. The exam is accessible 24 hours a day on the Internet, so you may take it at any time convenient to you, but only once, otherwise the result will be invalidated.

To take the exam, follow the instructions below at the test website:

  1. Go to and login with your Fordham credentials.
  2. New students: Click on "My Pages" and select "New Students", then click on "First Year Student Registration Surveys and Placement Exams". Continuing students: Click on "My Pages" and select "Students", click on "My Account" then "Language Placement Exam."
  3. There will be a pre-test survey. Please make sure to answer the questions about your previous experience with the language. This information is important, as you may be able to reduce the number of required semesters from a maximum of four to three or fewer.”
  4. A reminder: the purpose of this test is to help place you in the proper level thus ensuring that you will be neither too challenged nor too frustrated. Therefore, do not consult any material (dictionaries, books, class notes, friends, etc.) when taking this test, as it would skew your results and place you in a class that would be too difficult for you.
  5. Follow the instructions and take the exam without any outside help (see point #4 above). It should take approximately 15-20 minutes. If your computer crashes and/or your online connection is interrupted, your exam will be voided and you will need to take it over again from the beginning.
  6. When you have completed the examination, a box will appear with your score. SAVE and PRINT this page; you will need to reference it in the future. After printing the page, please click on the "FINISHED" button.
  7. The exam may be taken only once per semester. Do not take the exam again as your results will be invalidated.

To avoid technical difficulties:

  1. Clicking outside the exam window will interrupt the exam. If the window is still available, the exam can be continued. Otherwise, it will need to be restarted.
  2. At peak times, the server gets overloaded and the exam may start only with part of the page present. For example, the choices (A, B, C, D) may be visible, but no question is shown. The exam should be aborted by closing the window and trying again at a later time, if possible.
  3. The program uses pop-up windows for the exam and to send the report emails. You should turn off pop-up blocking browser features or add-on software. Alternately, if the software or browser has settings to allow pop-up windows for certain domains, adding the domain to the list may do the trick.
  4. This online exam does not work with AOL or the AOL browser.
  5. If you encounter technical difficulties, you may opt to take the exam at the Language Learning Center in Keating Hall B25 or in the department office on the 5th floor of Faber Hall on the Rose Hill campus; or at the Language Learning Center in Lowenstein 412 on the Lincoln Center campus.

For any other questions, please contact the secretary of Fordham's Department of Languages and Cultures at 718-817-2651.

Beginning a New Language

If you wish to learn a new language, you will be placed in the introductory intensive course, numbered 1001, of the language of your choice (i.e., ARAB 1001, FREN 1001, GERM 1001, ITAL 1001, JPAN 1001, MAND 1001, RUSS 1001 or SPAN 1001).

Fulfilling the Fordham College Language Core

In order to fulfill Fordham's foreign language core requirement in one of the languages offered in the department, you must pass the 2001-level course in this language (or SPAN 2301 for heritage speakers of Spanish), or demonstrate written and oral proficiency in the language above this level.

In order to fulfill the language core in a modern foreign language other than the ones offered in the department, you must submit to the department's associate chair in your college the equivalent of a high-school diploma from a non-English-speaking country where this language is the language of instruction or official certification that you have attained a B2 proficiency level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or that you have passed the 16-point exam at NYU with a score of 15 or higher. Read more.

Additional Information

What is Fordham’s language requirement?

  • All students pursuing a BA must complete a language course at the 2001, 2201, or 2301 level OR demonstrate equivalent proficiency. 
  • Depending on your initial proficiency level, you may need to take between 1 and 4 courses to reach 2001 (or its equivalent) and fulfill the requirement. 
  • Students pursuing a BFA may take either two semesters of language or, if they place into the 1001 level, just one semester. 
  • Students pursuing a BS (except non-pre-health BS students in psychology) are not required to complete a language course, but all students are encouraged to do so!

What languages can I study at Fordham?

  • You may select either Modern or a Classical language.
  • Modern languages taught by the Languages and Cultures department are:
    • Arabic
    • French
    • German
    • Hebrew (LC only)
    • Italian
    • Japanese (LC only)
    • Mandarin
    • Russian
    • Spanish
  • Classical languages taught by the Classics Department are:
    • Ancient Greek
    • Latin

How do I get started?

If you are interested in studying French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Russian, or Spanish, or seeking to demonstrate advanced proficiency in one of those languages, you will need to take Fordham’s online placement test. The online test should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, and should be completed in one session.

To access the test: go to > login > click on “My Pages” > select “New Student” from the drop-down menu > scroll down to select “Language Placement”

If you are interested in studying Arabic, Japanese, or Hebrew, please contact the Modern Languages and Literatures Department ([email protected]) for placement. If you are interested in studying Latin or Ancient Greek, please contact the Classics Department ([email protected]).

Students who demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language during the placement process can choose either to be exempted from the foreign language requirement or to continue studying that language beyond the 2001/2201/2301 level, which is the final requirement for the core. 

Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in a language not offered by Fordham should contact the Associate Chair of the Languages and Cultures Department in the campus they are based at. 

What if I want to register for a course more advanced than 2001/2201/2301?

Students who have a high score on the placement test can also choose to fulfill their language requirement with a more advanced course (through an exception/substitution); in Spanish or French, they should register for SPAN 2500 or FREN 2600; for any other program, they should contact the Associate Chairs of the Languages and Cultures department to determine which course is right for them; use the guidelines below to see if the score on the placement test is high enough to consider this option. 

Score to qualify for a course higher than 2001: 

French: 675  (FREN 2600)
Italian: 750
German: 600 
Mandarin: 650
Russian: 650
Spanish: 675  (SPAN 2500)

When should I plan to take my language course(s)?

You should begin planning as soon as possible. It is imperative that all incoming students have a plan to fulfill their language requirement and do not postpone the decision, as there have been several cases of students who did not meet graduation requirements in their senior year. Furthermore, planning language studies with intention is crucial for students who wish to study abroad. 

How do I know which language course I qualified for?

Once students complete the placement test, they receive a score and the system lets them know what level they have tested into. 

What language classes do heritage language learners place into?

Heritage speakers are those who have learned a language other than English at home with their families or in their ethnic neighborhoods and communities in the United States. Within this category, there are specific guidelines for heritage speakers of Spanish, heritage speakers of languages taught at Fordham other than Spanish, and for heritage speakers of languages not taught at Fordham. 

  • If, in the first year survey, students state that they speak Spanish at home, they are identified to us as possible heritage speakers; we reach out to them and determine which course is most appropriate for them. Heritage speakers of Spanish should be placed in SPAN 2301, which is a course that is pedagogically designed for the specific linguistic and cultural needs of these students. If the heritage speaker has studied Spanish formally in high school and can demonstrate that they are above the level of SPAN 2301, they can opt out of the language core requirement and/or take a higher level course if they so choose. 
  • Heritage speakers of a language taught at Fordham other than Spanish can try to place out of the language requirement by getting in touch with the department’s Associate Chairs, who will make the final decision to waive the requirement. 
  • Heritage speakers of a language not taught at Fordham who want to have their language requirement waived can try and take the NYU or Gallaudet University placement tests, whichever is appropriate (see the next section).

What language classes do native users of languages other than English place into?

International students who have been formally educated in a foreign language abroad, and who have passed the TOEFL (with a score of at least 90) or its equivalent (7.0 or above on the IELTS or 125 or above on the DET) as part of the Fordham admissions process, can be exempted from the language requirement if they wish. The department’s Associate Chairs will make the final decision to waive the requirement. However, we encourage international students to consider studying a new language, or continue studying a language at an advanced level, while at Fordham.

Native speakers of a language not taught at Fordham who have not been formally educated in that language abroad must receive a score of at least 15 on the NYU placement test (which costs $629 plus a $20 registration fee) to be exempted from the language requirement. They can also show a high school diploma from an institution where the primary language of instruction was not English, or submit official certification that they have attained a B2 proficiency level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Students who state they are proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) can place out of the language requirement by taking the Gallaudet University placement test (which costs $165) and scoring a 5 or above. 

Tips for students

  • Determine your placement prior to starting at Fordham 
  • Over the first class, your instructor will confirm your placement and, if needed, recommend switching to a different course during the add/drop period (roughly a week).
  • Have a multi-year plan for language study
  • If you fail to register in the first semester, in order to register you have to contact the Associate Chair (Banner would give an error message in the spring). 
  • Avoid gaps in language instruction; most students struggle after taking a break from language study
  • Once in a language program, have a regular study/practice schedule spread out through the week; take advantage of free tutoring; embrace your multilingual self!


Languages and Cultures

Chair: Dr. Carl Fischer, [email protected]

Associate Chair at FCLC: Dr. Audrey Evrard, [email protected]

Associate Chair / Assistant to the Chair at FCRH: Dr. Jenny Meyer, [email protected]

Language Coordinators:

Arabic Mohamed Alsiadi [email protected]

French Kari Evanson [email protected]

German Susanne Hafner [email protected]

Italian Alessia Valfredini [email protected]

Mandarin Xinran Dong [email protected]

Spanish FCRH Henry Borrero [email protected]

Spanish FCLC Esther Lomas-Sampedro [email protected]

Contact the Associate Chairs for the programs without a language coordinator.

Classical Languages

General correspondence may be directed to [email protected].

Inquiries for the department chair may be directed to [email protected]