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Placement and Requirements

Placement Tests

The UW-Milwaukee Testing Center offers placement tests for French, German and Spanish. For students who have previously taken courses in these areas, placement tests help identify which course the student can start with at UWM. For all other languages, please contact the program directly to set up an individual appointment for a placement test.

Retro Credits

In many languages, a student can receive retroactive credits by completing the course that he/she places into with a grade of B or better. Retroactive credits award students with credits for previous courses in the language sequence. For example, a student who completed a 5th semester French course with a grade of B or better could also earn 4 credits for 1st semester, 4 credits for 2nd semester, 3 credits for 3rd semester, and 3 credits for 4th semester French. Students can earn a maximum of 16 retro credits. Retroactive credits are only given in conjunction with the first language course taken at the university. Students should contact the appropriate foreign language program before the beginning of the semester to verify that the course that they are taking generates retroactive credits.

AP Credits

A score of 3, 4, or 5 on an AP test gives the student credit in a given course or courses. If the student wants retroactive credits, s/he must take the next level course and meet the language department’s retroactive credit requirements in order to receive retro credits for courses preceding the one with which the AP score is associated.

Degree Requirements

Under UWM’s general education requirements, all undergraduate students must take the equivalent of 1 year of college-level foreign language instruction in the same language in order to earn an undergraduate degree. This requirement can be met in a number of ways, such as having studied two years of the same language in high school, taking two semesters of the same language at UWM, or placing in a higher level foreign language class at UWM and earning retro credits for preceding courses.

Some degrees, however, have greater foreign language requirements. For example, all of the Bachelor of Arts programs in the College of Letters and Science require, at a minimum, the equivalent of four semesters of the same language or three semesters of one language and two semesters of another.

Check with the individual program that you are interested in for details on its language requirement.

Graduate Program Requirements

Many graduate programs require students to demonstrate reading knowledge in a language other than English. Some language programs at UWM offer reading knowledge courses to satisfy this requirement. Some language programs may also offer reading knowledge exams. Contact the language program directly for more information.