Academic Regulations & Procedures

Language Requirement

The College expects all students to complete the language requirement. Students may meet the language requirement in one of four different ways: 

  1. by testing out with an appropriate score in the CEEB Advanced Placement examination, International Baccalaureate examination, or in another standardized examination selected by the faculty of a particular language in consultation with the Associate Dean of the College; or
  2. by satisfactory completion (grade of S, C-, or better) on the fourth-level courses (fifth-level in the case of Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese); or
  3. by passing a proficiency examination designed or selected by the faculty of the particular language in consultation with the Associate Dean of the College; or
  4. by passing a special examination with speaking and reading components (if a written language), prepared by an expert for those languages not taught at Carleton. Arrangements are made by the Associate Provost.

Language Progress

Students who receive advanced placement in a language and wish to use that language to satisfy the language requirement should begin with that level of placement when it becomes available in the first year, unless otherwise counseled by their academic adviser.

A student must begin to fulfill the language requirement before the fifth term at Carleton. In sequential language courses, a student must earn a C- or better to progress to the next course.

Exemption or Substitution Based on Language Learning Disability

Students with learning, speech, hearing, or other disabilities that impact the study of foreign language may petition the Language Requirement Exemption Committee, a subcommittee of the Academic Standing Committee (ASC), to request an exemption from, or substitution for, the foreign language requirement. Students seeking to petition based on a disability must be formally registered with the Office of Accessibility Resources, have sufficiently engaged in an interactive process with Accessibility Resources to explore potential reasonable accommodations (other than an exemption), and have provided to Accessibility Resources adequate supporting documentation from a qualified provider.

Students experiencing inordinate difficulty in mastering a language in the classroom, with no language-related disability, may also request exemption. In addition to evidence of difficulty in language study, attested by their faculty, the College expects students to have made a good faith effort, to have attended class regularly, and to have sought help from the various resources available at Carleton (i.e., instructors and tutors). More information on the exemption procedure.

For any student granted an exemption, the Language Requirement Exemption Committee has the authority to waive additional courses or require from one to three pre-approved alternate courses in linguistics, literature, and/or culture.

Last Revised: September 9, 2021

For: Students, Faculty

Last Reviewed: August 3, 2022

Maintained by: Office of the Provost