Languages at KU
The University of Kansas is a national leader in the study of languages and is home to five regionally-focused centers that provide scholarships to cover tuition and living expenses for students who excel in learning languages. KU's Office of Study Abroad, which helps to send roughly a quarter of undergraduates abroad before graduation, offers scholarships to make an international experience possible for all students. KU is also home to over 2,000 international students from over 105 countries, who inform our understanding of world events and prepare us for today's increasingly globalized society.
Below is a comprehensive list of languages taught at the University of Kansas. Keep in mind, however, that some languages are offered intermittently and others are not offered for a full four semesters. Please consult with the department offering the language to be sure that it can be used to fulfill the B.A. language requirement in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
Languages at KU
Placement exams help to determine the course in which you should enroll if you are continuing your study of a language with which you have had previous experience. These exams focus on your abilities and knowledge of the language rather than the amount of prior coursework that you have had. While some of the exams are offered online, the process of determining the proper placement will include a conversation with a placement advisor about your language background.
Incoming students should complete placement exams one week prior to their arrival on campus for orientation. Students failing to do so may be unable to sign up for a foreign language course until the add/drop period at the beginning of the semester.
Continuing students (those already enrolled at KU) may take placement exams at their convenience. The results of these exams should be discussed with the department offering the language to determine proper course placement.
Access to the French, German, Russian and Spanish placement exams is provided through your KU Online ID. Please note that you can only take the placement exam once. Make sure that you are in a quiet location and have approximately 25 minutes to complete the exam. If you encounter a technical issue while taking the exam, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the exam you will be provided with a score and a suggested placement, and a copy of your score will also be provided to you at Orientation. Descriptions of all courses are provided in the KU Course Catalog. If you feel that your placement exam results do not reflect your current level of language study, please consult your academic advisor.
Note: In order to enroll in SPAN 212, SPAN 216, SPAN 322 or SPAN 324/328, you will need a permission code. If you are an incoming student, you will receive your permission code at Orientation. If you are a continuing student, please contact the Department of Spanish & Portuguese (email@example.com) to get the relevant permission code.
Access to the Chinese, Japanese and Korean placement exams is provided through your KU Online ID. Please note that you can only take the placement exam once. Make sure that you are in a quiet location and have approximately 60 minutes to complete the exam. If you encounter a technical issue while taking the exam, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the exam you will be given a preliminary placement, which you should use to register for a specific course. During the first week of classes, you will meet with an academic advisor to determine the accuracy of the placement. If it is determined that another course would be more appropriate, you will be allowed to transfer to that course.
For all other languages, please consult the department offering the language.
Proficiency exams allow undergraduate students to gain exemption from the Non-English Language Proficiency requirement in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by establishing that their ability in a second language is equivalent to that of someone who has studied that language for four semesters at the college level.
Proficiency exams are intended for students with knowledge of a second language that cannot be documented through academic transcripts. That knowledge may have been gained through time abroad, attending high school where the primary language of instruction was not English, or through regular contact with speakers of a second language at home or in the community at large. Proficiency exams require testing in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a second language.
If you are a native speaker of English and wish to prove proficiency in a second language, there are two paths:
- If you wish to claim proficiency in a language taught at KU, you should consult the department offering that language. If there is an online placement exam available for that language, you should take that exam first to get a sense of how your knowledge corresponds to the levels of instruction at KU. Completion of a course at the fourth semester of language study (or above) is also sufficient to fulfill the four-semester language requirement.
- If you wish to claim proficiency in a language not taught at KU, you should contact College Advising & Student Services.
If you are a native speaker of a language other than English, it is most likely that your proficiency in a second language can be proved through academic transcripts. This might be as simple as establishing that the language of instruction in your high school was a language other than English, that you have appropriate scores on standardized English tests, or that you have completed required coursework in the Applied English Center. For more information about requesting exemption from the four-semester requirement, you should contact College Advising & Student Services.
For information about language courses, interpreting placement exams, retroactive credit, and exemption from foreign language requirements, please consult with the department offering that language.