What you need to know about Arts and Sciences language requirements

By on June 15, 2015

By Dalen Barlow — 

If you plan on pursuing a degree within the college of Arts and Sciences, be prepared to study a foreign language.

The requirement states that anyone completing a bachelor of arts must complete an intermediate level of a single foreign language with an overall amount of 12 credit hours. Students completing a Bachelor of Science must complete only six to eight hours in a single language.

The department of classical and modern languages offers a wide array of languages. They span from the very difficult to the fairly easy to learn. The two largest language departments are French and Spanish, Spanish being the larger of the two.

Wendy Yoder, an instructor in the department of modern languages, says, “The language requirement gives A&S students the cultural and lexical enrichment that we feel they need to be successful with their degree.

“The French classes we offer give a well-balanced curriculum of culture and language. Students aren’t required to minor in a language, but we do encourage it.”

All languages of the classical and modern languages department offer beginner, intermediate and advanced courses. Many of the languages offer multiple beginner courses to keep the class size small. Some classes also offer extra enrichment outside of class online.

“Some of the French courses are counted as four hours. Students spend the normal three hours a week in the classroom and are then expected to complete at least on hour of work online. This work typically counts towards homework and participation for the class,” said Yoder.

Views on the requirement are a little mixed around the campus. The rule is not new, but it still leaves some students questioning the importance of learning a new language.

Joshua Kincer, a freshman political science student, said, “I don’t really get why I have to take language courses. That’s not what I’m going into. I get the cultural aspect of it, but it makes it harder to do well in a class you don’t really want to be in.”

Jade Van der Elst, a junior taking a French course at the university, disagreed.

“I completely understand why they would require a language program. My parents speak French and it helps them out a lot. Learning about another language and about different cultures makes you a more tolerant and well-rounded person.”

Although opinions of the requirement may differ, the rule remains the same.

There are many different ways to meet the College of Arts and Sciences’ requirement. Students have the option of either completing language courses, testing out of the requirement by taking the CLEP exam, or taking the AP or IB tests in high school.

For more information on language programs at the university and the different options offered, visit louisville.edu/artsandsciences.

About William Barlow


  1. David Graham

    June 16, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I fear that Mr. Kincer is being a bit short-sighted and unaware that proficiency in a language might just be a bit useful in the world of politics given that not all the rest of the world speaks English and that there are significant numbers of non-English speaking people in the United States. I hope he does not get a job in a US embassy somewhere.

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