Languages… they are Mandatory at Yale

If you thought that high school Spanish would be the last of your language learning, you’re probably wrong. No matter how fluent you may be in a second language, ALL students are required to take at least one foreign language course during their time at Yale.

Before the course registration process, students have the option to take a placement test for a language they’ve already studied. You can also opt to begin studying a totally new langague. My placement test put me in L2 (ie. second semester) Spanish, but I opted for a different route and took L1 German instead.

Yale offers more than 50 foreign languages,  including Arabic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Korean, Russian, Yiddish, and more. If you feel like these languages are too limiting, students at Yale can also have the option of filling their language requirements elsewhere (hint, study abroad).

The language requirement at Yale can vary a lot based on students’ language levels. A summary of the language requirement is listed below: Students who start a language from L1 or L2 must take at least three semesters worth of that same language (up to L3 or L4). Meanwhile, students who place into L3 are required to take at least two semesters worth of that same language, and students who place into L4 must take at least one semester of that same language. If students wish to take a different language from the language level that they are placed into, they also have the option of learning a new language for a minimum of three semesters. Lastly, students who are placed into L5 or received a five on an AP language test can either complete at least a term of that same language or go up to L2 in a different language.

Finally, students can satisfy their language requirements by completing a study abroad program. While language learning is at a much faster pace when studying abroad, studying abroad allows students to fully immerse in a language as students typically live with a host family and can experience life in a different country.