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Placement Policies

There is no placement exam required for students wishing to study Chinese, French, German, or Japanese at the University of Northern Colorado. Students planning to study Spanish for the European Languages and Cultures degree should refer to the Spanish Placement Exam information from the Department of Hispanic Studies. 

Students with no experience in the language they plan to study should just sign up for the 101 Elementary I course in that language.

Course options:

Students with some previous experience in the language they plan to study should contact the following faculty members:


Michelle Low

(970) 351-1366


Don Holman

(970) 351-3698


Sumiko Gibson

(970) 351-2240

Faculty members will ask about the previous language courses you have taken and whether you have traveled or lived in an area that spoke the language and will make a recommendatation of which course to take. 

Receiving Credit for Previous Language Study

Transfer Credits

For courses previously taken at another college institution, transfer credit may be available. Please visit the Office of the Registrar for information about transferring college credit.

Retroactive Credits

Please note that placement in a given class does not establish credit in a previous UNC language class. Instead, a student may receive retroactive credits, provided a grade of “B” (3.0) is earned in the student’s first UNC course above the 101 level in a particular language (Chinese, French, German, or Japanese).

To be awarded retroactive credits, students submit a petition to the Registrar’s office, after they have successfully completed their first UNC language course (above the 101 level). Petition forms are available in the World Languages and Cultures Department office or from language professors.

How does Retroactive Credit work? Here are some examples:

  • Take an Elementary Language II (102) course, and you can earn 5 retroactive credits (101) plus 5 course credits (102) for a total of 10.
  • Take an Intermediate Language I (201) course and you can earn 10 retroactive credits (101/102) plus 3 course credits (201) for a total of 13.
  • Take an Intermediate Language II (202) course and you can earn 13 retroactive credits (101/102, 201) plus 3 course credits for a total of 16.
  • Take any advanced language course (300 and above) and you can earn 16 retroactive credits (101/102, 201/202) plus 3 course credits for a total of 19.

AP/IB Credits

Students may qualify for University credit in a World Languages and Cultures course (and thus may exempt one or more courses) through superior performance on an Advance Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate exam (IB). Consult the Office of the Registrar for specific AP/IB test score requirements.

College-Level Examination Program

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers another opportunity to earn credit through demonstration of superior performance in subject matter examinations. CLEP credit is offered only for French and German 101 and 102 courses (for a cost of $105 per test). Contact the Office of Career Services for more information.