Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

Core Language Requirement

All Loyola students are required to fulfill the core language requirement, either in a modern or a classical language (for fulfilling this requirement in a classical language, such as Latin or Greek, visit the Classics website).

Preparing for University-Level Language Study

The department strongly urges students interested in Loyola to complete four full years of foreign language before coming, preferably continuing through the senior year, so as to assure a reasonable recall of concepts and vocabulary. For those interested in continuing in foreign languages, this will enable their placement at a higher level; for those not interested in continuing in a foreign language, it will facilitate their completing the language requirement in the shortest amount of time possible and lessen the number of electives dedicated to language courses.

Four-Part Series

The department offers a four-part series at the Introductory and Intermediate levels in each of the languages taught (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish).  During these semesters, students acquire the fundamentals of the language in all aspects, including culture. 

The final course, Intermediate II, is a capstone course which reviews, reinforces and expands the crucial elements in all skill areas and gives students a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of their proficiency in the language.  Intermediate II emphasizes the cultural aspect  of the World-Readiness Standards for Language Learning (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, Communities).

Speaking, listening, reading, writing, and cultural awareness are taught at every level. Curricular materials and exams address each of these skills in some way. Generally, students completing the intermediate level of a language at Loyola, the language requirement, are expected to have attained the intermediate mid-level of proficiency in the target language, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) scale, a national standard.

Satisfying the Requirement

Most students satisfy the requirement by enrolling in a section of the language they studied in high school at the level determined by the placement exam and continuing until they satisfy the core requirement for languages. Some students opt to begin a new language, in which case they must take four semesters.

In modern languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish), the core language requirement may be fulfilled in the following ways:

  • by completing the second semester at the intermediate level (AB104, CI104, FR104, GR104, IT104 or SN104)
  • by completing a one-semester foreign literature course taught in the foreign language
  • by placing into and completing a 200-level language course

Introductory level courses (courses at the 101 and 102 levels) taken by students with no previous preparation in the language will fulfill part of the electives requirement.

Normally, students will complete the core language requirement by the end of the sophomore year at Loyola.

As is the case for all transfer courses, students seeking to fulfill the core language requirement at other accredited institutions must obtain prior permission from the chair of the department of modern languages and literatures and Academic Services and Support  Center (ASSC). Students must apply to take courses elsewhere for core credit through ASSC; ASSC then forwards the request to the department chair for evaluation. Only courses at accredited institutions will be accepted.

Placement Exam

Placement Exam tests are available online in Chinese [additional information below], French, German, and/or Spanish. No credit is awarded through these tests. The department encourages entering students to consider taking the advanced placement exam, if available, because a high score on that exam offers the possibility of both advanced placement and credit. Courses numbered 202 and above are normally open only to those who have already satisfied the language requirement for the language in question. Please note that these guidelines pertain exclusively to initial placement into language courses. 

Students tend to be unnecessarily worried about how well they will do on the test, but they should be reminded that it simply establishes a baseline. A low placement score initially is not always a reflection of deficiency but rather a lack of practice in the language.

Accessing Arabic, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish Placement Tests

The placement tests are not timed. The student must use their Loyola student ID number for this exam. This seven-digit number is listed in your Loyola username and password technology email that was sent to you.

  1. Enter the web address https://webcape.org into your browser;
  2. Select Loyola University Maryland from the drop-down box and click GO;
  3. At the login page, enter the password loyola4501;
  4. Select the language of the placement exam that you would like to take from the drop-down box and click the begin button;
  5. On the registration form, fill in your name, seven-digit Loyola student ID number, etc.;
  6. When the test is complete, your score and placement are displayed on the results page;
  7. Click 'finished.'

Placement results will be discussed by the student's advisor on the second day of summer orientation.

Arabic Placement Test Information

The Arabic online placement exam can be taken at this website https://www.esl-languages.com/en/study-abroad/online-tests/arabic-test/index.htm. When the student finds out the score, please email it to our Arabic professor, Dr. Inas Hassan.  She may ask the student to write a small paragraph or two on any topic and then schedule an oral interview.  With all these steps, she will determine where the student should be placed in the core.

Chinese Placement Test Information

The Chinese online placement exam is created by Brigham Young University “to function as a proficiency test as well as an achievement test.” It uses both simplified and traditional characters by design. “The lower level items have prompts in both types next to each other. As learners are pushed higher they are presented text prompts in one or the other form based on the idea that being an advanced learner means being able to handle texts wherever they are from.” For more information, please see the BYU Chinese Placement Test Information.

The Chinese program at Loyola gives students the opportunity to choose either version of Chinese characters they would like to start with at the beginning level. As most of our students choose simplified characters, we currently use the simplified version in our 100-level CI courses. However, we expose our students to both forms in the 200- and 300-level courses so that our students at the advanced level will be able to read texts from different places (such as Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.).

Self-Paced Foreign Language Refreshers (Not for credit)

These non-credit online language refreshers contain explanations and exercises to help students review the appropriate Introductory and/or Intermediate levels. Students can navigate through the refresher according to their level and desired goal.

The refreshers can assist students in preparation for the placement exam, so they place into the level of language most aligned with their skills.

Students can also review the language through these refreshers to boost their confidence before taking their first language class at Loyola, especially if they have not taken the language for a while.

All in all, these self-paced refreshers are offered to help students make a smooth transition to college language instruction and to have a great start towards the successful completion of Loyola’s language requirement. 

*Modules for Chinese (CI101, CI102, CI103, CI104), French (FR101, FR102, FR103, FR104), Italian (IT101 and IT102), and Spanish (SN101, SN102, SN103, SN104) are available. Modules for IT103 and IT104 will follow soon. Thank you for your patience.

Chinese (Mandarin) Online Non-Credit Refresher Course

French Online Non-Credit Refresher Course

Italian Online Non-Credit Refresher Course

Spanish Online Non-Credit Refresher Course

161 Course Option

The 161-level language courses (offered in French, German, Italian, and Spanish) are open to all students beginning a new language or those who place into either the 101 or 102 level. The 161 courses are review courses for students who have had three years of language study in high school or for students or wish to begin a second modern language. 

The material covered is essentially the same as for the 101-102 sequence, except that it is covered in one semester instead of two. This includes a thorough grounding in the five language skills: reading, understanding, speaking, writing, and cultural appreciation, as well as an understanding of the structure of the language, cultures and literatures of the countries that speak the language studied. Special emphasis is placed on preparing students to begin work at the intermediate language level.

Courses Offered

  • FR 161 - Comprehensive Beginning French
  • GR 161 - Comprehensive Beginning German
  • IT 161 - Comprehensive Beginning Italian
  • SN 161 - Comprehensive Beginning Spanish

Speak with your advisor or a professor within the department to determine if the 161 course option is appropriate for you.

NYU Proficiency Exam for Heritage Speakers of Languages not taught at Loyola who wish to receive an Exemption from the Language Requirement

Heritage speakers of languages not taught at Loyola that wish to have an exemption from the language requirement can take the NYU School of Professional Studies 16-Point Foreign language Proficiency Exam:


The 16-point NYU Proficiency exam tests three skills—listening, reading, and writing—that are necessary for everyday communicative tasks. Students are required to answer multiple-choice and short-answer questions, translate one passage into the target language, and respond to two audio sections. In addition, they must write both a short essay in response to a general topic and a more complex 350-word essay about abstract ideas in which they support an argument, hypothesize, and write in longer paragraphs. Students are given three hours to complete the 16-point exam. Dictionaries and other reference materials may not be used. The tests do not require knowledge of technical terms or specialized vocabulary. Results will be available to students who take the test eight weeks after the test date.

Keep in mind:

  • You must score at least 14 out of 16 points to be exempted from Loyola’s language requirement.
  • If your score is 13 or below, you must start a new language or continue a language you began in high school in order to satisfy the language requirement.
  • No credit is awarded for any score (including the highest score).
  • No placement in a higher or lower level course is given for any score.
  • Exemption from the foreign language core requirement may require that you take an additional free elective to ensure the 40 course minimum needed for graduation.

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Spring 2021 Course List

Virtual Office Hours - Fall 2020

Due to the Corona Virus, we are working remotely until further notice.

Ana Gómez-Pérez, Ph.D.

Ana Gómez-Pérez, Ph.D.

This associate professor of Spanish and department chair believes Loyola gives students an in-depth education

Modern Languages & Literatures