Language proficiency & requirements

Candidates for a B.A. degree in the College of Arts and Sciences must demonstrate competency in a foreign language equivalent to four semesters of study of a single foreign language, up to and including S250. A student normally earns between 10 and 14 credits to satisfy this requirement, depending on their initial placement, which is determined by the placement test.

Candidates for a B.S. degree in the College must demonstrate proficiency through the third semester (S200). Students from other schools (such as Business, Education, Journalism, and Music) should consult with their academic advisor about language requirements.

There are three ways for you to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish in order to meet the IU General World Education World Languages requirement and/or the College's Foreign Language requirement:

  • Complete of the final course in the sequence (the requirement varies according to which degree you are working towards).
  • Show appropriate official documentation stating that you have proficiency via formal education in a language other than English. This documentation must be from an accredited international institution which is considered appropriate by both the relevant department and the College of Arts and Sciences. Such documentation generally indicates satisfactory completion of a secondary education in a language other than English – i.e., a transcript.
  • Test out of the requirement by virtue of appropriate performance on AP and/or IB exams.

The placement test is not a means for demonstrating proficiency.

It is possible to satisfy the Foreign Language requirement for a B.A. in the College of Arts and Sciences by receiving a score of 5 on the AP exam. All incoming freshmen and many transfer students are required to take the IUB Spanish placement exam. Most students who have taken several years of Spanish place into the intermediate level of the language program. The placement exam may not be used to demonstrate proficiency or meet the Foreign Language requirement.

Placement exam + credit transfers

All freshmen who have studied Spanish language in high school are required to take the IUB Spanish language placement exam to determine what level of Spanish they should register for.

Learn more about required exams

No. Credits for coursework below your current level are called special credits. Special credit for S200 and/or S250 may be earned by taking the upper level class you placed into and completing it with a C or better. Here are some examples:

  • If you place into S250 and pass it with a C or better, you earn course credit for S200.
  • If you place into S280 or a S300-level course and pass the course with a C or better, you earn course credits for S200 and S250. Special credit is not given for S280 (note: if you plan to major or minor in Spanish, you must replace S280 with another course at the 300 or 400 level even if you test out of S280 or into a 300-level course).

For more comprehensive information about special credits, visit our Placement and Special Credit web page. If you already qualify for Spanish special credits, you can claim them on that page. Native speakers of Spanish or Portuguese should consult the department for testing, course placement options, special credit eligibility, and restrictions on course work in the major and minor.

The placement exam is offered online. Incoming freshman are expected to take the placement exam prior to freshman orientation.

Incoming freshmen will register at orientation. All other students should refer to the Schedule of Classes at the Registrar’s web page. Click on Calendars and Schedules for active class numbers, times and days for this semester.

This will depend on how your credit transfers and appears on your transcript. Most transfer students need to take the placement exam. If you are in doubt as to whether you need to take the exam, please call or visit the main office of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Global International Studies Building 2169; phone: 812-855-8612.

It is the policy of the College that students whose native language is not English may not earn credit for courses at the 100- or 200-level in their native language. In most cases, students whose native language is not English are exempted from the foreign language requirement.

The basic guideline used by the University in implementing this policy is that if the student has graduated from a high school abroad where instruction is not delivered in English, they are exempt from the foreign language requirement. Puerto Rican students, however, are not subject to this policy and thus are eligible for language credit at any level.

If you are a native speaker of Spanish and are interested in taking courses in the Department at the 300-level and above, you should make an appointment to speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies by calling 812-855-8612 or visiting Global International Studies Building 2169.

Course information

S100 and S105 are both introductory Spanish courses. Enrollment in S100 is restricted to students who are true beginners or have less than 2 years of high school study. Consent from the department is needed prior to registration. S105 is designed for students with two or more years of high school study and covers the essential grammar and vocabulary of first-year Spanish.

If you are placed on a waiting list for a course in the language program, you will be notified automatically via your IUB email account if you have been added to the course. The Computer Schedule Adjustment runs through Thursday of the first week of classes. The waiting list for the language program courses is managed exclusively by Computer Schedule Adjustment during this period, not by individual instructors.

After the Computer Schedule Adjustment is finished, you will not be able to add a language program course. If your waitlist request is not satisfied by the end of the Computer Schedule Adjustment period, you will need to register for the course the following semester.

There is a fairly substantial homework load for the basic language classes. The courses in the language program are supported by Proyecto Ancla, an interactive web-based program designed specifically for the Spanish courses offered in the language program at IU to integrate technology in the classroom. Homework consists of vocabulary, grammar, and listening/reading comprehension exercises. You will be permitted to access the Ancla website once you have registered for your Spanish class.