Second-Language Requirement

Beginning with the graduating class of 2012, Trinity College is instituting a second-language foundational requirement. Its goal is to ensure that all students have knowledge of a language other than English. Some students will have attained the requisite degree of second-language knowledge prior to their enrollment at Trinity; others will have to take one or two college-level language courses.

Students will be credited with satisfying the requirement on the basis of pre-collegiate language learning if they:

  • demonstrate the requisite knowledge on the Trinity-administered foreign language placement examination that is given during New Student Orientation in late August and also in the fall and spring prior to Advising Week; or
  • provide the Registrar's Office with official certification that they attained the indicated score for a foreign language on any of the following standardized tests: SAT II (600 or above), Advanced Placement (4 or 5), International Baccalaureate Higher Level Examination (5, 6, or 7), or United Kingdom "A" Level General Certificate Examination (grade of A, B, or C); or
  • provide the Registrar's Office with official certification that they attained the indicated score in any subject on the French Baccalaureate (12 - 20), German Abitur (7 - 15), or Swiss Matura (5 or 6); or
  • completed successfully a minimum of one year of study at a secondary school where the language of instruction was a language other than English, as certified by an official transcript from the school (usually submitted as part of the student's application for admission to Trinity); or
  • are an international student whose primary language is other than English.

Students not satisfying the requirement in any of the above ways have two options:

  • If they prefer to meet the requirement by means of a language they studied in secondary school for more than one year, they will be required to take either one course in it (numbered 201, or in Latin, 203) or two courses (numbered 102 and 201, or in Latin, 203), depending on the results of the placement examination.

    Note: If a student has studied a language for three or more years in high school, then the student may not enroll at the 101 course level in that language without explicit permission from the language section head or chair of the Language and Culture Studies Department and, in the case of Latin, the chair of the Classics Department.

  • If they prefer to fulfill the requirement by means of a language they have not studied previously (or studied for at most one year in school), they will be required to take both halves of the introductory sequence in the language (numbered 101 and 102).

    Individualized Degree Program (IDP) students are not subject to the regular language placement policy. Their placement is decided by the Department chairperson in consultation with the Director of the IDP Program.

  • If they took the language in high school for more than one year and took the courses in high school more than 4 years before matriculating at Trinity, they can fulfill the second language requirement by completing 101 and 102 in that same language.

Only language courses in which the student receives a letter grade of at least C- may be counted toward satisfaction of this requirement. Students are strongly encouraged to attend to the requirement early in their college career. Meeting it is a condition for graduation.

To register to take a language placement test, please click the Language Placement Exams link on the left.