Arts and Sciences Logo

Language Placement Testing

Seton Hall Language Requirements

Demonstrated competency in a foreign language is a requirement at Seton Hall University. All Seton Hall University students are required to take a foreign language as part of their Core Curriculum; however, the language requirement differs depending on your school and major(s). Some degrees allow students to satisfy the Core Curriculum language requirement by placing into a certain level. These levels are different for each school and major—one size does not fit all!

Students must take a language placement test in order to determine their proficiency level in any language(s) they have prior experience with. "Prior experience" can mean you studied the language in elementary/high school or at another college before transferring to Seton Hall; perhaps you grew up surrounded by family members speaking their native language. In any case, students with any prior language experience must take the placement test in order to determine what course(s) they should register for in their chosen language.*

* Students who do not have a background in a foreign language—or those who wish to study a new ("novel") language in addition to any they already know—do not have to take the placement exam. They should just register for Elementary/Introductory 1 of that novel language.

Languages Taught at SHU

Students can take courses in Modern Standard Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish at SHU. Placement tests for these languages are available online and for free—instructions on how to access one of these tests are available here.

Students who speak languages other than those listed above can take a proficiency test through an offline service. These tests are not free; students can expect to pay around $165 to take one. The test consists of a phone interview with a native speaking proctor. Instructions on how to register for a proficiency test are available here.

We encourage students with prior experience or a native/near-native level of proficiency in any language to consider taking classes in another language. Bilingualism (or trilingualism!) is a huge benefit in any field of work. Not only does skill in other languages give you an advantage over other equally-qualified candidates in a job search, but studying other languages opens up the world to people.


Do I have to take a language placement test?

YES: A placement test is required to register for/study a foreign language at Seton Hall if:

  • You have previously studied a language formally—i.e.: lessons or courses in a language, where you learned to speak, read, and/or write.
  • You have experience with a language socially—i.e.: nonacademic experience in a language, such as speaking it at home, even if you don’t really read or write it.

NO: A placement test is not required if you plan to study a new ("novel") language that you have no prior experience with. You can register directly for Elementary/Intro 1.

When should I take the language placement test?
You need your placement results before you can register for any language classes, so it's best to take the placement test as soon as possible:

  • If you're starting in September, try to take it at least 2–3 weeks in advance of your Pirate Adventure in June.
  • If you're coming in during another semester, take it as soon as possible upon starting at Seton Hall.
  • If you did not take your placement test prior to the start of your Freshman year, you should go to your graduating class's Blackboard organization/community to access the instructions for your chosen language. (Refer to image below in How do I take the language placement test?)

Once you complete the test, it takes about a week (in business days) to get the results, so you can't take it and expect to know your placement the same or the next day. Plan ahead—getting an early start will enable you to complete the language requirement in a timely manner.

What if I think I've been placed into the wrong level course?
Students may not take the placement test again. If you really feel you're in the wrong level, first speak with your professor about your concerns, then the chair of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures or the coordinator for that language.*

* You may not register for a higher or lower level course than your placement test originally indicated unless you get approval from the professor and coordinator for that language or the department chair.

I heard that I can waive the language. Is that right?
Students are not allowed to "waive" the language requirement. Some degrees allow students to satisfy the Core Curriculum language requirement by placing into a certain level.* These levels differ between each school and major. Students who want to use their placement to satisfy the language requirement must request it from the Global Learning Center. We will confirm if it is possible or not depending on your school, major, and language placement test results.

* Students do not earn credits for using the placement test to satisfy the language requirement. Anyone who places out of the language requirement still has to meet their degree program’s minimum number of credits for graduation. Eligible courses depend on your major. Speak with your advisor to ensure you take the right courses to complete your degree requirements.

I have prior experience in a language not taught at Seton Hall. What should I do?
Seton Hall does not provide placement tests for languages not taught here.  However, students can take proficiency tests in a large variety of other languages—e.g., Polish, Urdu, Tagalog, Yoruba, etc.—at their own cost (around $165) and submit the results to the Global Learning Center. The results might allow you to fulfill your degree program's language requirement in the same way as students who place out of a language taught here. Follow these instructions to access the outside test for your preferred language.

How do I take the language placement test?
The placement tests for Modern Standard Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish are online. Instructions on how to access each language test can be accessed through your graduating class’s organization/community in BlackBoard (see image below) OR here.

* Arabic, Chinese, and Russian require in-person interviews after you complete the online test. The instructions for each of these languages explain how to arrange an interview with the relevant faculty members.
** The Latin test can only be taken online within the BlackBoard platform. (See image below.)

Placement Testing Example

How to Take the Language Placement Test

Once you have decided which language you want to study, you will find instructions on how to access the test on this page. If you have any questions, please contact the Director of the Global Learning Center for help.