The Core Curriculum - Foreign Language

The key to every Columbia student’s liberal arts experience is a solid knowledge of at least one foreign language and culture. You may choose to acquire a new language or continue studying a language with which you already have some familiarity. Whether you plan simply to fulfill the Core foreign language requirement or to pursue a major in languages and literature, language acquisition opens new worlds of knowledge and new ways of thinking.

If you wish to continue studying a language you began learning in secondary school, then you must take a placement exam offered by the respective foreign language department in order to determine your appropriate course level at Columbia. Times and locations for departmental placement exams are announced during New Student Orientation. Students who can place themselves in an appropriate level based on AP or SAT scores do not have to take a Columbia placement test.

All language instruction courses must be taken for a letter grade.

What is required?

Class Outdoors in Front of UrisProficiency at the intermediate level of a foreign language, typically Intermediate Level II. You can find a list of languages below.

When?

Recommended in the first year if you are beginning or continuing a language.

Can I test out?

Yes. Exemption or placement level can be determined by AP scores, SAT II scores, or departmental placement tests. See below.

 

Foreign Language Requirement

The requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways:

  1. Satisfactory completion of the second term of an intermediate language sequence.

  2. Demonstration of an equivalent competence through the appropriate score on an SAT II Subject Test or Advanced Placement test.

  3. Demonstration of an equivalent competence through the College’s own placement tests. See below for departmental contact information.

  4. Successful completion of an advanced-level foreign language or literature course that requires 1202 or the equivalent as a prerequisite. This course must be taken for a letter grade.

  5. Students whose native language is not English are not required to take an additional foreign language or an achievement test if they have completed secondary school in their native language.

 

Also consider:

  1. All terms of a language sequence offered in satisfaction of the language requirement must be taken for a letter grade and in order.

  2. Students wishing to satisfy the requirement in a language not listed below should consult with their adviser.

  3. Equivalent language courses offered at Barnard College and in the School of General Studies may be used to satisfy the requirement, with a few important exceptions. Ask your adviser.

  4. Any student who wishes to submit a language course taken at another institution in fulfillment of the language requirement must pass a departmental placement examination.

Language Program Directors and Placement Policies

Akkadian:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Arabic:

Contact: Taoufik Ben-Amor
302 Knox, 212-854-2895
e-mail

Aramaic:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Armenian:

Contact: Charry Karamanoukian
311 Knox, 212-854-7083
e-mail

Bengali:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Cantonese:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Catalan:

Contact: Elsa Úbeda
Casa Hispánica B04, 212-854-4530
e-mail

Chinese:

Contact: Lening Liu
407 Kent Hall, 212-854-3604
e-mail

Czech:

Contact: Christopher Harwood
706 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-3941
e-mail

Dutch:

Contact: Wijnie de Groot
319 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-1856
e-mail

Finnish:

Contact: Tiina Haapakoski
319 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-7859
e-mail

French:

Contact: Pascale Hubert-Leibler
519 Philosophy Hall, 212-854-4819
e-mail

The French Department recognizes SAT II Subject Tests and AP scores as outlined below. All other students not submitting those scores but continuing French must take a departmental placement exam to be given during Orientation.

SAT II: Subject Test in French

Score

Course Placement


below 420


1101


420–499


1102


500–639


1201


640–779


1202


780+ satisfies language requirement

Advanced Placement Exam in French

A score of 5 on a French language or literature exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. Upon successful completion of a 3 point 3000-level (or above) course in French at Columbia, the French department will award 3 points of Advanced Placement credit, provided the grade in the course is a B or better.  A score of 4 on a French language or literature exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. No points are awarded.

German:

Contact: Richard Korb
311 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-2070
e-mail

The German Department recognizes SAT II Subject Tests and AP scores as outlined below but strongly encourages students with high school German to take the Columbia placement exam. All students continuing German without SAT II or AP results must take a departmental placement exam during Orientation.

SAT II: Subject Test in German

Score

Course Placement


below 400


1101


400–499


1102


500–569


1120


570–679


1201


680–779


1202


780+ satisfies language requirement

Advanced Placement Exam in German

A score of 5 on the German language exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. Upon successful completion of a 3 point 3000-level (or above) course in German at Columbia, the German department will award 3 points of Advanced Placement credit, provided the grade in the course is a B or better. A score of 4 on a German language exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. No points are awarded.

Greek (Ancient):

Contact: Marcus Folch
617 Hamilton Hall,212-854-3902
e-mail

Greek (Modern):

Contact: Evangelos Calotychos
606 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-6988
e-mail

Hebrew:

Contact: Rina Kreitman
413 Knox, 212-854-6519
e-mail

Students who have achieved a score of 700+ on the SAT II Subject Test in Hebrew and/or students who have passed the Jerusalem Examination have, upon receipt of official documentation, satisfied the foreign language requirement. Depending on their scores, students who passed the Jerusalem Examination may also receive credit for it. All students enrolling in Hebrew language courses must take a placement test prior to registration. Tests are available at the Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures, 401 Knox. Beginners who are not familiar with the Hebrew alphabet need not take a test but must sign up by sending an e-mail to the coordinator.

Hindi-Urdu:

Contact: Rakesh Ranjan
411 Knox, 212-854-4107
e-mail

Hungarian:

Contact: Carol Rounds
502B Hamilton Hall, 212-854-0746
e-mail

Indonesian:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Irish:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Italian:

Contact: Barbara Spinelli
501 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-2308
e-mail

A score of 5 on the AP Italian language exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. Upon successful completion of a 3-point 3000-level (or above) course in Italian at Columbia, the Italian Department will award 3 points of AP credit, provided the grade in the course is a B or better. A score of 4 on a Italian language exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. No points are awarded. The Italian Department recognizes the SAT II subject test, and a score of 780 satisfies the foreign language requirement. All students who are continuing their study of Italian must take a departmental placement exam during Orientation.

Japanese:

Contact: Fumiko Nazikian
407 Kent Hall, 212-854-8345
e-mail

Korean:

Contact: Carol Schulz
402 Kent Hall, 212-854-5037
e-mail

Latin:

Contact: Marcus Folch
617 Hamilton Hall,212-854-3902
e-mail

Students with a score of 5 on either AP Latin exam have satisfied the language requirement. Students may receive 3 points of credit upon successful completion (with a grade of B or higher) of a Latin class at the 3000-level or higher. No credit or placement is given for the SAT II test. All students wishing to continue Latin in the College should take the departmental placement test and/or see the program director prior to registration.

Lithuanian:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Persian:

Contact: Ghazzai Dabiri
313 Knox, 212-854-5037
e-mail

Polish:

Contact: Anna Frajlich-Zajac
706 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-4850
e-mail

Portuguese:

Contact: José Antonio Castellanos Pazos
Casa Hispánica 501, 212-854-0277
e-mail

Pulaar:

Contact: Mariame Sy
310 Knox, 212-854-2439
e-mail

Punjabi:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Romanian:

Contact: Mona Momescu
1225 IAB, 212-854-1554
e-mail

Russian:

Contact: Frank Miller
701 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-8155
e-mail

Sanskrit:

Contact: Guy Leavitt
311 Knox, 212-854-1304
e-mail

Serbian/Croatian:

Contact: Radmila Gorup
708 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-3941
e-mail

Spanish:

Contact: Diana Romero
Casa Hispánica 506, 212-854-8075
e-mail

The Spanish Department recognizes SAT II Subject Tests and AP scores as outlined below. All other students continuing Spanish must take a departmental placement exam during Orientation.

SAT II: Subject Test in Spanish

Score

Course Placement


below 420


1101


420–509


1102


510–569


1120


570–689


1201


690–779


1202


780+ satisfies language requirement

Advanced Placement in Spanish

A score of 5 on a Spanish language or literature exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. Upon successful completion of a 3 point 3200-level (or above) course in Spanish at Columbia, the Spanish department will award 3 points of Advanced Placement credit, provided the grade in the course is a B or better. A score of 4 on a Spanish language or literature exam satisfies the foreign language requirement. No points are awarded.

Swahili:

Contact: Mariame Sy
310 Knox, 212-854-2439
e-mail

Swedish:

Contact: Verne Moberg
319 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-4015
e-mail

Tagalog:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
e-mail

Tamil:

Contact: Samuel Sudanandha
309 Knox, 212-854-4702
e-mail

Telegu:

Contact: Stephane Charitos
353 IAB, 212-854-6341
sc758@columbia.edu

Tibetan:

Contact: Tenzin Norbu
304 Kent, 212-854-9875
e-mail

Turkish, Modern and Ottoman:

Contact: Zuleyha Colak
313 Knox, 212-854-0473
e-mail

Ukrainian:

Contact: Yuri Shevchuk
704 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-5339
e-mail

Uzbek:

Contact: Alan Timberlake
708 Hamilton, 212-854-3941
e-mail

Vietnamese:

Contact: James Lap
407 Kent, 212-854-5027
e-mail

Wolof:

Contact: Mariame Sy
310 Knox, 212-854-2439
e-mail

Yiddish:

Contact: Miriam Hoffman
409 Hamilton Hall, 212-854-8026
e-mail

Zulu:

Contact: Mariame Sy
310 Knox, 212-854-2439
e-mail

Center for Student Advising

Visit

403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2562

Office Hours
Monday–Friday
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Walk-in Hours
MondayThursday
3:00 p.m.4:30 p.m.