Loyola University Maryland

Modern Languages & Literatures

About Language Study

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The department offers a four-part series at the Introductory and Intermediate levels in each of the languages taught (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish).  For most languages there are more advanced courses in composition, conversation, literature and civilization.  In most languages, the first three courses form a unit. During those three semesters students complete a textbook which thoroughly covers the fundamentals of the language in all aspects, including culture. The final course, Intermediate II, is a capstone course which reviews and reinforces the crucial elements in all skill areas and gives students a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of their proficiency in the language. Our Intermediate II level differs from that of other universities due to a significantly increased emphasis on culture. The focus throughout the four-course sequence is to bring the student to a point where he or she actively assimilates the patterns through an intellectual process, not solely by memorization of paradigms, and to emphasize the use of language to obtain, impart, and process information. Moreover, the appreciation of another culture in a multi-cultural world is now an important element of any language class.

The five basic skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing (grammar is an integral part of each of the four skills and is not a separate item), and cultural awareness are taught at every level. Curricular materials and exams address each of the five skills in some way. Generally, students completing the intermediate level of a language at Loyola, and hence the language requirement, are expected to have attained the intermediate mid-level of proficiency in each of the skill areas of the ACTFL scale, a national standard.

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.

Placement Exam

Placement Exam Placement tests are available online in French, German, Italian, and 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 in the language in question. Please note that these guidelines pertain exclusively to initial placement into language courses.  First-year or transfer students arriving at Loyola who are interested in continuing with their Chinese studies must take a placement exam with the head of the Chinese language program. The Chinese placement exam will take place the day before classes begin, at 2 p.m. in the Language Learning Center, MH441. 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.

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 languages courses.

Core Requirements

For more information on core requirements, click here.


For more information on the languages and literatures curriculum, click here.


updated 10/2/12 ner