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).  For those who wish to advance their studies further, most languages offer 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.

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 the Center for Academic Services and Support (CASS). Students must apply to take courses elsewhere for core credit through CASS; CASS 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 http://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.).

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.

Thomas Ward

Thomas Ward, Ph.D.

A long-time proponent of service-learning, Dr. Ward's students connect with language and community through work with a Peruvian cooperative in Baltimore

Modern Languages & Literatures