Santa Clara University

Second Language

PURPOSE: The purpose of the requirement is to provide students with a level of proficiency in a second language sufficient to make basic communication genuinely possible. It also seeks to provide students with an introductory sensitivity to cultural differences as exhibited by language, the most fundamental artifact of any culture. The requirement seeks to introduce students to the complexities of cultural differences around the globe.

STUDENT OUTCOMES: The student should demonstrate skill in the uses of the modern or classical language as appropriate to the language and should demonstrate understanding of and sensitivity to cultural differences.

COURSES: Most students satisfy this requirement either by taking classes at the college level or by passing a proficiency exam supervised by the Department of Classics or the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

At Santa Clara, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers classes in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish; the Department of Classics offers classes in ancient Greek and Latin. To fulfill the language requirement by taking classes, students must complete the appropriate level course defined for their major program, or any higher-level course. They may begin a new language or continue one already studied. The language course in which a student should first enroll depends on their previous study and demonstrated proficiency, as described under PLACEMENT FORMULA or PLACEMENT TEST below.

Alternatively, students may fulfill the language requirement by passing a proficiency exam at the appropriate level defined for their degree program. Exams are offered in all the languages listed in the previous paragraph, and many more. While high school language study itself is not accepted as evidence of language proficiency, it may prepare a student to pass the proficiency exam, and students with three or four years of high school study in a single language are strongly encouraged to take the exam on entering the University. Contact the Department of Classics for information on proficiency exams for ancient Greek or Latin. Contact the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures for information on proficiency exams for other languages.

Students who have obtained at least the minimum specified score on certain examinations in a classical or modern foreign language have satisfied the second language requirement. The minimum acceptable scores for satisfying the second language requirement by this means are as follows:

Advanced Placement Examination: 4

International Baccalaureate Higher-Level Examination: 5

International A-Level Examination: C

Non-native speakers of English may satisfy this requirement by presenting professionally recognized documentation of proficiency in a language other than English to the chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the chair of the University Core Curriculum Committee.

ENGINEERING students are not specifically required to complete course work or pass a proficiency exam. It is advisable, however, to attain the proficiency level of at least the first college course in a second language.

BUSINESS students must successfully complete the second course of the first-year college-level sequence in a classical or modern foreign language or demonstrate an equivalent level of proficiency through examination.

ARTS AND SCIENCES students have different second language requirements depending on the area of their major.

Bachelor of Science students in the natural sciences and mathematics must successfully complete the second course of the first-year college-level sequence in a classical or modern foreign language or demonstrate an equivalent level of proficiency through examination.

Bachelor of Science students in the social sciences and Bachelor of Arts students must successfully complete the third course of the first-year college-level sequence in a classical or modern foreign language or demonstrate an equivalent level of proficiency through examination.

PLACEMENT FORMULA: Students who have never studied the language in which they wish to enroll, or who have studied that language for one year in high school, should register for Language 1. Those who wish to continue in a language which they have studied for two years in high school should enter Language 2. Students with three or more years of study in a single language, those who wish to continue language study beyond the second language requirement, or those who feel following the formula would place them in a higher level course than their background warrants, should consult a member of the appropriate language faculty for placement advice. In cases where their skills warrant, freshmen may enroll in upper-division language courses with the permission of the instructor and the chair of the appropriate department.

PLACEMENT TEST FOR FRENCH AND SPANISH: Free computer-based tests are available as an additional placement aid for students of elementary French or Spanish. These are self-paced exams that test a student’s knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and reading skills. Upon completion of the 15–to 20–minute test, each student receives a computer- generated score together with a list of recommended language classes. Testing is conducted in the computer labs during New Student Orientation, or in the E.L. Wiegand Learning Center during the rest of the academic year. It is strongly recommended that students who wish to continue the study of French or Spanish at Santa Clara take the exam.

It is important to note that these placement tests are not proficiency exams. A high score on the placement exam does not satisfy the second language requirement.

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