What is the language requirement?
As listed in the student handbook:
Simmons students, with the exception of Dix Scholars and international students from non-English speaking countries, are required to demonstrate language proficiency at the intermediate level. Students may take up to three semesters of a modern language (through 201) in order to fulfill the requirement. In addition, students can fulfill the requirement with a score of 3, 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement language exam, a score of 560 or above on an SAT II Language Test, or by passing a test given at Simmons indicating mastery of the third semester of a language. The Center for Academic Achievement will provide language placement tests to students for the purposes of placement and/or fulfillment of the language requirement.
How do I fulfill the language requirement?
You must take language courses or meet competency through the 201-level. Depending on your initial placement, you will take up to three courses. The language requirement can be fulfilled by:
a. a score of 3, 4, or 5 on an advanced placement language exam;
b. a score of 560 or above on an SAT Subject Test
c. placement results indicating that you have mastered the third semester (201) level of a language;
d. taking courses that bring you through the 201 level.
Can I fulfill the requirement taking on-line courses?
No on-line courses will be accepted for credit to fulfill the language requirement.
International Students and/or Speakers of a Second Language
Do international students need to take a language?
International students from non-English-speaking countries are exempt from the language requirement. International students from English-speaking countries will still have to fulfill the language requirement. The Center for Academic Achievement will notify advisors and the Registrar's Office whether students are exempted from the language requirement.
What if I am not an international student but I am fluent in or speak another language?
If you are not an international student but you speak another language at home, or are fluent for other reasons, and you have entered Simmons in the fall of 2005 or later, you will have to take an exam to prove your proficiency through the 201 intermediate level in order to be exempt. All exams are scheduled by the Center for Academic Achievement.
If you entered Simmons before fall 2005, please contact the Department of Modern Languages regarding the language requirement.
What if I am not an international student but I have lived abroad before?
If you are not an international student but lived abroad for at least one year and were schooled in another language, and if you can provide the Center for Academic Achievement with documentation such as a transcript, you will be exempted from the language requirement. You are not required to take an exam to be exempt, but you need to take a placement exam if you want to continue studying the language at Simmons College.
How do I take a placement exam for a language not taught at Simmons?
All exams for languages not taught at Simmons are offered only at fall orientation. Contact the Center for Academic Achievement for more information.
Can I take a class higher than 101 without taking a placement test?
No, the only way to move into a class higher than the 101 level is to pass the exam for that level. You may retake the exam to try to move into a higher level.
How do I know what level class I can take at Simmons?
Students take a placement test to determine what level class to take. Prior to coming to campus, students may take the placement test online in the languages taught at Simmons (Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish).
On-line placement tests are for placement purposes only. However, if students do not take the language in their Freshman year, they must retake the test prior to ensure that they can perform at the appropriate level.
Those students who wish to be exempted from the language requirement must take an additional test during the fall orientation.
Students who took the placement test on-line prior to coming to campus for one language, do not have to retake the placement test if they plan to begin a different language at Simmons.
Students who have taken three or more years of a language in high school will not be allowed to enroll in the 101-level of that language regardless of the results in the placement exam. Students who place into 101 through the placement exam will automatically be placed into the 102-level.
What if I get placed in a class that seems too easy for me?
You may retake the exam to try to move into a higher level. You may also speak with your instructor who, based on your performance in class, will assess whether she/he believes you should try a higher level.
Languages Not Offered at Simmons
What if I want to take a course in a language not offered at Simmons?
Students are welcome to take language classes at other institutions to fulfill the language requirement. You have two options: 1) you can complete the courses at another institution without receiving Simmons credit for them, and then take a placement test at Simmons in order to prove you are at a level equivalent to someone who has completed the 201 intermediate level; or 2) you can transfer credits for previously approved courses (101, 102, or 201) and fulfill the language requirement once you have completed 201 with a grade of C or better, without having to take an exam. It is important to know that the Department of Modern Languages will have to approve your courses, and there are restrictions on what courses you may receive credit for. For more information about these restrictions and how to request transfer credits, please see How can I get transfer credits from another school?
Where can I take classes in languages not offered at Simmons?
Other schools in the area that may offer languages that we do not offer include Boston University, UMass Boston, Tufts, Boston College, Harvard University, MIT, and Northeastern University. Please note that these institutions often are on different academic calendars and this may impact your ability to take their courses.
Exemption From Language Requirement
What if I took the AP or SAT in a language?
Students must have all test scores sent to the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA). The CAA will then notify student advisors and the Registrar's Office of the placements and credits received.
I. AP Test Scores:
3: EXEMPT from language requirement; student may take 245.
4: EXEMPT; student receives 4 general credits and may take 245.
5: EXEMPT; student receives 8 general credits and may take 245 or higher.
II. SAT Subject Test Scores: 560 or above EXEMPT; student may take 202.
Time to Complete The Requirement
Do I have to start taking a language my first semester at Simmons?
Although students are free to take their language classes whenever they choose, we encourage students to begin working towards fulfilling the language requirement as early as possible in order to avoid delays in graduation. It is up to the student and her advisor to ensure that the requirement is fulfilled by the time of graduation. No exceptions to the requirement will be made due to scheduling problems.
Please note: Honors students who plan to major in the sciences or Nursing cannot take a language in the fall of their Freshman year because they have a learning community (8 credits), biology (4 credits) and chemistry (4 credits). However, their schedules free up in spring so that they can take languages then.
Can I skip a level?
No, you are required to follow the sequence: 101, 102, 201. You cannot register in 102 if you did not pass 101 (or the placement test and place into 102), and you cannot register in 201 if you did not pass 102 (or the placement test and place into 201).
Can I retake the placement exam?
Yes, you may retake the language exam. Contact the Center for Academic Achievement to arrange to do so.
Transfer Credits From Other Institutions
How can I get transfer credits from language classes at another school?
Students can obtain a Petition for Transfer Credit form from the Registrar's Office, which must be signed by the Chair of the Modern Languages department. To receive approval for a course, it must meet the following criteria:
1) Be taken at an accredited institution of higher learning.
2) Meet at least 40 contact hours per semester for a minimum of four weeks.
Before taking the course, students should bring the following documentation to the Modern Languages department to receive approval.
1) Petition for Transfer Credit form
2) Course description
3) Course schedule indicating the length of the course (dates) and the number of contact hours per week (days and times)
If you successfully complete the equivalent of the 201 level with a grade of C or better, you fulfill the language requirement.
You should then request that the Registrar of that institution send an official transcript to the Registrar at Simmons.
If I am going to study abroad, how do I fulfill the language requirement?
If you plan to fulfill your language requirement by studying abroad, your language courses must be pre-approved by the Chair of the Modern Languages Department before you go.
What if I have a learning disability?
In some cases, the language requirement may be waived for students with a documented learning disability or other disability that affects one's ability to fulfill the language requirement. If you have a disability that affects your ability to fulfill the language requirement, please contact the Center for Academic Achievement.
Because the language requirement expresses, in part, the College's commitment to the curricular integration of global perspectives and cross-cultural understanding, these students must complete three courses in an area of study relating to global issues and perspectives, cross-cultural understanding, and interdisciplinary knowledge. Contact the Center for Academic Achievement for the list of approved courses.
Seniors and Transfers
What if I need a language class to graduate but it won't fit into my schedule?
Exceptions to the language requirement policy will not be made under any circumstances. We encourage students to begin working towards fulfilling the language requirement as early as possible in order to avoid delays in graduation.
What should I do if I'm a transfer student?
Transfer students should refer to the policies listed for all other students. However, if you have studied the language at your previous institution, you may register for the next level class without taking a placement exam.
Revised July 2009