Foreign Language Competency

You may fulfill SPU’s Foreign Language Competency requirement through various means, as outlined below:

  • Attain a minimum grade of C (2.0) or “pass” in the third quarter of the elementary level of an SPU foreign language course, or a higher level course, in a language other than modern English.
  • Show by your high school transcript that you have completed a third year of a single foreign language (during grades 9–12) with an average grade of C (2.0) in the final year or a C (2.0) or better in the final course.
  • Show a Seal of Biliteracy on your official high school transcript from a Washington state school. (Students with the Seal of Biliteracy on an official transcript from a high school in a state other than Washington may request review by contacting lcl@spu.edu).
  • Receive SPU credit for a foreign language exam through Advanced Placement, Cambridge International, or International Baccalaureate, in accordance with the AP, Cambridge International, and IB Transfer Charts.
  • Earn an approved direct transfer degree from a Washington, Oregon, or California community college prior to matriculation at SPU. A degree earned in California must be accompanied by full completion of the IGETC curriculum.
  • Transfer a non-English language course equivalent to or more advanced than one of SPU’s third quarter elementary-level language courses. The course must have been taken at an accredited post-secondary institution whose credits are accepted for transfer by SPU. The grade in the transferred course must be C (2.0) or better, or a “pass,” provided the institution’s minimum achievement level for a “pass” grade is a C (2.0) or higher. 
  • Complete at least 15 credits of American Sign Language (ASL) coursework. The course must have been taken at an accredited post-secondary institution whose credits are accepted for transfer by SPU. The grade in the transferred course must be C (2.0) or better (or a “pass,” provided the institution’s minimum achievement level for a “pass” grade is a C (2.0) or higher). No other forms of sign language satisfy the requirement. 
  • Provide evidence that you are a native or near-native speaker of a language other than English by:
    • Gaining admission to SPU as a student required to submit proof of English language proficiency along with your admission application (through completion of a TOEFL exam or IELTS, for instance).
    • Setting up an appointment for an oral assessment of your language skills, if your language is one in which SPU faculty members have expertise. To set up an oral assessment, contact the Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics Department chair at lcl@spu.edu.
    • Submitting a letter attesting to your proficiency from a non-family member who uses that language in his or her professional life. Such letters should specify the relationship between your attester and you, and should include information about the context in which you have used the language, and your level of proficiency in the language. Letters may be submitted electronically to lcl@spu.edu or via regular mail to the LCL Department, 3307 Third Ave W., Suite 109, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA 98119-1922.
  • Earn a sufficiently high score on a CLEP test in a language other than English. Attaining a score equal to or above the minimum score recommended by CLEP for awarding credit for the exam will fulfill the Foreign Language Competency requirement; however, no credit will be awarded for CLEP foreign language exams. 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in a language by taking an oral proficiency (not placement) test administered by a qualified testing center and achieving a ranking equivalent to ACTFL Intermediate-Low or better. Such test results may be submitted electronically to lcl@spu.edu or via regular mail to: LCL Department, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue W, Suite 109, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA 98119-1922.
  • Complete a 10-week minimum quarter- or semester-long intensive language immersion program that includes a minimum of 8 semester or 12 quarter credits of the foreign language through the 1103 or A2 level (Common European Framework of Reference) with a minimum grade of C. A homestay is encouraged in a country whose primary language is not English.

Foreign language substitution policy for documented disability

Qualified students with current professional documentation that specifically certifies the student possesses a disability, and clearly indicates the inability to successfully complete the study of a foreign language, may be able to utilize the Foreign Language Substitution Policy as the means to satisfy the general education Foreign Language Competency requirement. For more information, contact Disability Support Services in the Center for Learning.

Graduation checklist

The 2021–22 graduation requirements checklists

Refer to your 2021–22 checklist to ensure that you’re taking the required courses and credits you need to earn your degree in a timely manner.

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