Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to take a placement exam?
2. Can I get credit for my AP, CLEP, IB, or SAT II scores?
3. How do I know what classes to take when I study abroad?
4. If I take summer courses at another university, can I get credit for them?
5. Who do I talk to about majoring or minoring in RGSLL?
6. Can I audit a language or a literature course?
7. I am a graduate or law school student. Can I enroll in one of your courses?
8. Are the classes you want full? (Updated for Spring 13' Registration)
9. Advising during the winter and summer holidays?

1. Do I need to take a placement exam?

If you have ever studied French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, you need to take the placement exam if you wish to continue studying the language at GW. This also applies to heritage speakers - those who speak the language at home but have never had formal training.

Most languages have switched to an online written exam, while Portuguese continues to use the paper format. In some cases an oral exam is also required, and students must make an appointment with one of the language faculty. These oral exams are offered each semester in the weeks prior to registration and during Colonial Inauguration for incoming freshmen. These are the ONLY opportunities when the oral exams will be available. Placement exam scores will not be finalized until ALL components of the exam have been completed, so please plan on taking the placement exam prior to registration. See information on the right to find the most up-to-date information on the placement exams.

2. Can I get credit for my AP, CLEP, IB, or SAT II scores?

High school students have the opportunity to take several foreign language exams for potential college credit. At this time, GW offers credit for the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams.

Credit transfer policies are subject to change, so please consult the Undergraduate Admissions website for the most up-to-date information.

GW does not accept credit for the CLEP and SAT II exams.

3. How do I know what course to take when I study abroad?

We require that you get all study abroad courses pre-approved BEFORE you leave on your program. You will need a Course Approval Form and the syllabi for the courses you wish to take. Bring this information to one of our advisors.

Important note: Many of our advisors do not teach during the summer sessions. Because these faculty are the only ones who can approve courses, please plan ahead to make an appointment before the spring semester ends.

Just as you would request credit for a study abroad course, you will need fill out the Transfer of Credit Form (available from the Dean's Office of your individual school, such as ESIA) and provide the syllabi of the courses. The list of professors who approve transfer credit is identical to the one listed above for study abroad credit. As with study abroad transfer credit, you need to get your courses pre-approved BEFORE you take the courses.

4. If I take summer courses at another university, can I get credit for them?

NOTE: Transfer credit is approved provided that the course you want to take covers (approximately) the same topics at the same level of difficulty of the equivalent course at GW. It is unusual for courses at two-year institutions, such as community colleges, or distance learning courses, such as online classes, to match with our courses. Again, check with your transfer credit advisor before enrolling to make sure that you will get credit.

5. Who do I talk to about majoring or minoring in RGSLL?

Thank you for considering majoring or minoring in RGSLL. First of all, fill out the Declaration of Major/Minor form, available in the CCAS Dean's Office. Then, set up an appointment with your major/minor advisor.

Important note: Many of our advisors do not teach during the summer sessions. Please plan ahead to make an appointment with your advisor before the spring semester ends.

6. Can I audit a language or literature course?

Due to the extremely high demand for our language courses, it is against our department's policy to allow auditors in these classes. Literature course may be audited, provided there is room in the class and the instructor gives their permission. For these courses, interested students should contact the individual instructors for permission to audit.

If you are not a current or former GW student and you wish to audit one of our literature courses, you must be admitted and registered through the Office of University Students.

If you are a GW alumnus or alumna, you can enroll in one of our literature courses through the Alumni Course Audit Program.

7. I am a graduate or law school student. Can I enroll in one of your courses?

The rules for graduate and law school students vary from program to program. We are in the process of compiling the exact policies for each school, but in the meantime, please consult with your academic advisor.

In general, graduate and law school students may enroll in our language and literature courses provided that they can take the course for credit (no auditors) and there are seats available. You cannot be registered through the online registration system, however. You must fill out a Registration Transaction Form and have it signed either by the language program coordinator (language courses) or the instructor (literature courses). Because classes fill up very quickly, it is important that you get permission from the appropriate coordinator/instructor and turn in the Registration Transaction Form to the Registrar's Office on your priority registration day.

If your program does not allow you to take undergraduate courses for credit, you will not be allowed to enroll in language courses.

8. Are the classes you want full? (Updated for Spring 14' Registration)

Here at RGSLL we do our best to accommodate as many students as possible into our language, literature, and film courses. However, there will invariably be students every semester - particularly freshmen and sophomores - who discover that the courses they need are full. For French courses levels 1001-2006, we are using an online waitlist. You can sign up for the waitlist through GWeb. This system is a little confusing, so it is very important that you click here to read the instructions for using these waitlists.

If you are stuck trying to get into a course in our other languages, please e-mail the department to see if there is a waitlist for the course you are interested in taking.

9. Advising during the winter and summer holidays?

Please be advised that faculty are not available for advising during the summer/winter holidays for any of our language programs. Advising will resume at the start of the fall/spring semester.

You may have to wait until the start of the fall semester for these advising issues, so please plan accordingly.