Foreign Language Placement Testing

The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offers language placement tests in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian, Russian, and Spanish. The department administers these tests to determine placement into the most appropriate course. Students who have prior experience with a foreign language in their high school and plan to register for courses in that language at George Mason should take the test before registering.  Students transferring foreign language courses from other higher education institutions may not need to take the placement test. 

Tests are free, they do not require advance registration, and are administered in the Modern and Classical Languages Lab in Aquia 346. If you wish to take the Italian Placement Test, please contact Professor Olson at

Please note: If placed into the 300 level, three credits may be awarded (depending on the student's degree program) - The process to award credits may take up to 7 weeks or longer - The process cannot be sped up.  Please give ample time for credits to appear on Patriotweb.

Important Message

It is very important that you take the placement exam PRIOR to the first day of classes in a new semester!  Note: If you wish to take a beginning language course (110), you do not need to take the placement test.

Placement Test hours:

*No Placement Tests : March 12th(Mon), April 4th(Wed), and May 9th(Wed).

Wednesday and Friday. (When the fall semester starts, we will also test on Mondays)

12:30 - 2:00pm.

(Please arrive within the time-frame)

About the Placement Test

Most of the tests are multiple-choice tests covering listening comprehension and reading. Students can only take the test once per language.

  • The test determines readiness for 110, 115, 210, 250 or 300-level in any of the languages offered. The test in Latin determines placement in the sequence 101, 102, 201, 202.
  • Students who place into 110, 115, or 210 (or 202 for Latin) do not receive credit.
  • Students who place into 250 or 300-level in any of the languages receive a waiver of the foreign language requirement.
  • Students who place out of 250 (and into the 300-level) are awarded 3 credits for 250.

Using SAT, AP, or IB Scores to Determine Placement

Students who submit scores on the College Board Achievement (SAT II), Advanced Placement (AP), or International Baccalaurate (IB) with their application to George Mason may use those scores to determine placement. See Academic Credit by Exam (below) for details. Students may not take tests and use them for placement or credit after matriculation at George Mason.

The Foreign Language Requirement

Students pursuing a BA degree in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Science must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language. (Details below.) Students who have prior experience with a foreign language and seek a waiver of the foreign language requirement should take the placement test to demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency. They will be granted a waiver of the foreign language requirement if their test score places them beyond a course numbered 210 (202 for Latin). Students who are granted a waiver for proficiency at this level do not receive credit.


Students may be eligible for a waiver of the foreign language requirement if they can demonstrate language proficiency through documentation of previous language experience, including a qualifying TOEFL score with their application to George Mason. See Waiver of the Foreign Language Requirement (below) for more information. Students who are granted a waiver do not receive credit. Students should address questions about waivers of the foreign language requirement to the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Foreign Language Waiver

Foreign Language Waivers for students pursuing a B.A. degree


Students who are native speakers of a language other than English may be eligible to waive their GMU foreign language requirement. A waiver simply means that the student has already fulfilled this particular requirement and, as such, need not take any additional coursework in foreign languages. The waiver DOES NOT grant credit and it DOES NOT exempt the student from completing the necessary 120 credit hours for graduation. If a waiver is granted, the student may replace the designated hours of foreign language coursework with elective courses to complete the total minimum requirement for graduation.


What does one need to produce in order to request a waiver?

Students requesting a waiver must come to the department of Modern & Classical Languages office IN PERSON, fill out the waiver request form on the reverse of this information sheet and submit it along with the following documentation:


Test Results

Students may present language test results as evidence of foreign language ability. With some of the more common foreign languages, the student should be able to locate an already established placement exam at one of the area universities. Students can also use testing services provided by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and similar institutions. For languages that are less common, it is the student’s responsibility to locate an acceptable authority in the language that is willing to administer an exam. An authority is someone who is affiliated with an accredited institution or embassy, and who is familiar with language-level designations at U.S. universities. This may include:


  1. an instructor of another institution (preferably college-level) who teaches this language;
  2. a George Mason university instructor of any subject who is fluent in the student’s native language;
  3. an authority at the local embassy or consulate;


The Department of Modern and Classical Languages will not accept language exams administered by someone with whom they have a personal relationship, such as a family member.


If the student opts to take a foreign language exam, he or she must provide the Department of Modern and Classical Languages with test results. The authority who administered and graded the exam should attach a letter on their institutional letterhead describing the exam. In order to qualify for a waiver, the student must provide evidence that they read, write and speak the language at or above the intermediate level.


All Foreign Language Waiver requests must be provided to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at least one semester prior to the student’s intended semester of graduation.

This policy ensures that there will be adequate time to process requests and submit them to the relevant office(s) on campus. It also gives students time to plan accordingly if their waiver is not approved. After a four-week period, the student should check their degree evaluation in Patriot Web to see if the waiver has been approved and applied.



Students who wish to submit transcripts as evidence that they attended four or more years in an institution (High school and above) located outside of the United States where the primary language of instruction was other than English may do so through the office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs (Robinson Hall, Room A255, phone 703-993-8725).




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