Introductory Language Programs

Spanish books

The Introductory Language Programs offer a suite of courses in French, Italian and Spanish, ranging from classes which require no previous instruction in the language and moving up through intermediate levels to prepare students for upper-level coursework and/or study abroad opportunities. 

Note that all language courses at all levels are taught in the target language.

Placement Guidelines

How to Choose a Course Level

  • FR 101-102ITA 101-102 and/or SPA 101-102: This is the introductory sequence for true beginners only. Students with no prior instruction in the language will take this 1-year (2 semesters) 10 credits sequence.
  • FR 104, ITA 104 or SPA 104: This one-semester course, 5 credits, is the starting elementary course for students who completed two years of high school language and/or passed a Regents examination or completed three years of the language but the course was primarily conducted in English.
  • FR 151ITA 151, or SPA 151:  This is the starting course for students who took three or more years of the language in a high school program in which the language was spoken often in class. Students will then continue with 152, the second semester course in the sequence.

Language Exams

  • AP, CLEP, DANTES: Students who took any of these examinations should visit the Transfer and Articulation Services site to check articulation of scores for French, Italian and Spanish courses before registering for courses.
  • IB language tests: Students who obtained scores of 3 or 4 in IB language tests should contact the respective language coordinator for placement information. 

Non-Traditional Students

  • Non-traditional students who studied French, Italian or Spanish in high school more than six years ago should start with the 101-102 sequence unless they have been using the language at home or at work regularly.

Native Speakers

  • Native speakers of French, Italian or Spanish are not allowed in introductory or intermediate courses if they were schooled in a country in which the language of instruction was the language in question. For placement in further language courses, please make an appointment with an undergraduate faculty advisor.

Heritage Learners

  • Heritage learners of French, Italian or Spanish, (students who grew up using one of these languages at home in the United States or elsewhere, but were not schooled in the language) should fill out the Placement Information Form. The specific language coordinator will respond with placement advice based on the information provided on the form.

Transfer Students

  • Students who have completed coursework in French, Italian or Spanish, either at UB or another college, will not be allowed to register in a proficiency level lower than that already completed. If the transferred courses are not articulated in the Transfer and Articulation Site (TAURUS), students must provide a copy of the full course(s) syllabus to the respective language coordinator. Syllabi can be sent via email or be dropped off in 910 Clemens Hall for evaluation by the coordinators.
  • Current UB students planning on taking a language course during winter or summer sessions at another college, should check the Transfer and Articulation Site (TAURUS) for articulated courses. If the courses are not articulated, the same process outlined above for transfer students applies.
  • Please note that the language programs at UB do not accept transferred foreign language courses as equivalent to UB’s language courses if they are offered fully online with no significant aural/oral practice or interaction among students as well as with the instructor.

Repeating a Course

  • Students repeating a course in which a failing or D grade was received must do so prior to registering in a higher-proficiency level course.

Special Circumstances

  • Students with circumstances that are not addressed in any of the categories mentioned above should fill out the Placement Information Form to receive proper placement advisement.

Improper Placement

  • If a student feels they been placed in a course that is too low or high for their previous level of knowledge, they should see the course director during drop/add. Before taking this step, the department advises the student takes a few days to grow accustomed to hearing the foreign language spoken again after some time away from it.
  • Please be aware that if a student misrepresents their previous knowledge of the language, they can and will be administratively deregistered from the course and if possible moved to the appropriate level. If there are no spaces available in other courses, or if it is too late in the semester to change, the student will have to take the course at a later date. Neither the department nor its representatives are responsible for any financial penalties or academic difficulties incurred due to misrepresentation of knowledge on the student’s part.