Tuesday, August 1, 2017

More Information on Barnard's Foreign Language Requirement

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Whether you want to continue studying a language you took in high school, gear up for a study abroad program, become fluent in a new language, or are just looking to fulfill the Foundations requirement: everyone has to take at least 2 semesters of a foreign language.

But what qualifies as a semester of a foreign language? For a class to count as a semester of a foreign language, it needs to be at least a 3-credit course. So a 3 credit course taken for at least 2 semesters results in at least 6 foreign language credits. The 2-semester foreign language requirement can also be thought of as a 6-credit foreign language requirement. Additionally, when we say “2 semesters of a foreign language”, we mean 2 semesters of the same language. So it can be 2 semesters of Spanish, French, Chinese, Zulu, or Arabic, but it can’t be 1 semester of Spanish and 1 semester of Arabic.


There are a couple different ways you can end up fulfilling the language requirement.
(Note: Options 2 and 3 are only applicable to students who are starting a new language)

Option 1: Take 2 Courses That Are At Least 3 Credits Each
Let’s say you take SPAN-UN1101 - Elementary Spanish I your fall semester and take SPAN-UN1102 - Elementary Spanish II your spring semester. Each of these courses is 4 credits. By completing both courses, you’ll have completed 8 credits of foreign language and would have fulfilled the requirement. This is true, regardless of level: if you're advanced, your two courses could be SPAN-UN3300 Advanced Language Through Content and SPAN-BC3481 Contemporary Latin American Short Fiction 

Option 2: Take an Accelerated Language Course, if it is 6 or more credits
A few languages offer accelerated language courses that fit two semesters of a language into a one-semester course. These are designed for students with some background in the language and/or a lot of background in a related language. For example, UN1105 - Accelerated Elementary French teaches both Elementary French I and Elementary French II in one semester. This is an intensive course, meeting 4 times a week for two hours each time. Because you meet so often and complete 2 semesters of French, this class is an 8-credit course. By taking this course, or similar ones, you’ll gain 8 credits of a foreign language and fulfill the requirement. Not all languages offer courses like this.
Word of warning: be sure to check the number of credits! Some intensive classes, like SPAN-UN1120 Comprehensive Beginning Spanish, are only 4 credits, so they count as only one semester of the language requirement even though they cover the Elementary I and II material. You can still take these courses if they're right for you, but you'll just need one more semester to complete the requirement.

Option 3: Take an Introductory Language A and B Course and Elementary II
Some languages, like Japanese and Korean, offer introductory A and B courses that spread Elementary I over 2 semesters. For example, Introductory Japanese A and Introductory Japanese B are each 2.5 credits and together result in 5 language credits. After you take Japanese A and B, you can take Japanese Elementary II for 4 credits and fulfill the language requirement. Please note that most Introductory Language A courses are only offered in the Spring Semester.


In the end, everyone at Barnard will have completed at least 6 credits of a foreign language. If you’re interested in studying abroad, there may be additional foreign language requirements depending on the program. During NSOP and throughout the academic year, the Office of International & Intercultural Student Programs will hold info sessions about study abroad where they will explain the foreign language requirement. If you are interested in study abroad it is recommended you start your foreign language your first semester, if possible. Check out the Study Abroad website for my info.