Trinity’s second-language foundational requirement supports the College’s learning goal of ensuring that all students “become effective communicators…across various contexts, languages, and media.” The language requirement enables students to gain basic writing, listening, speaking, and reading skills in a language other than English. Language classes help you structure and maintain a daily routine, which is useful during your hectic first year. They can also anchor your place in college by building close relationships with both the instructor and your classmates. Language skills open new doors, prepare you for study-away opportunities, give you an advantage in a competitive job market, and expose you to new cultural mindsets.

For students who pursue a language they began in secondary school, we require successful completion of an intermediate-level course (201). Alternatively, we encourage you to try a language you may have never encountered before, as a way of expanding your linguistic and cultural horizons. In recognition of the challenges of acquiring a brand-new language, students who start a language at Trinity can fulfill the language requirement by successfully completing the beginner sequence (101-102). Regardless of what you choose, make sure to plan your language courses early in your college career to avoid time conflicts with other courses required for your major at a later stage. Students are encouraged to pursue language study regardless of the requirement.

Some students fulfill the language requirement before arriving at Trinity if they have already had significant experience in a language other than English. If you think that might be the case for you, click here.

To fulfill your language requirement by taking classes at Trinity, you have two options.

Option 1: Start a new language.

If you decide to take a language you have not studied previously or studied for one year or less, you will be required to take two introductory courses in the language (numbered 101 and 102) in which you receive a minimum grade of a C-.

Option 2: Take the placement test and continue with a previously studied language.

  1. If you prefer to take a language you studied in secondary school for more than one year, should start at the level recommended by the placement exam you took just before your first semester at Trinity. The placement exam is used to determine your appropriate level.
    • Starting in 2022, placement exams will take place only in the summer, prior to a student’s first year. For information about the placement test, click here.
  2. Once placed in the appropriate course level, you will be required to complete study in that language through the 201 level to fulfill the language requirement (receiving a minimum grade of C-). These are the most likely scenarios:
    • If you are placed into 101:
      • Take 101, 102, and 201 if you have taken fewer than 3 years of that language in secondary school.
      • Take 102 and 201 if you have taken 3 or more years of a language in secondary school, unless you receive explicit permission from the language section head or chair of the Language and Culture Studies Department. (If your language experience was 4 or more years ago, you may qualify for this exception.)
    • If you are placed in 102, then you must complete 102 and 201.
    • If you are placed into 201, then you can fulfill your requirement by taking 201.
    • If you are placed into 202 or above, you have successfully completed the language requirement. You can elect to continue your language studies by taking the appropriate language course.

If you prefer to fulfill your language requirement through Latin or Greek courses administered through the Department of Classical Studies, see their webpage or contact their chairperson.

Languages taught at Trinity in AY 2022-23: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, and Spanish.



Do you think you may have already met this requirement before enrolling at Trinity?

This is the case if you:

  • You placed into a level of 202 or higher on the Trinity College’s Language Placement Exam*
  • Are an international student whose primary language is not English;
  • Completed a minimum of one year of study at a secondary school at which 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);
  • Provide the Registrar’s Office with official certification that you have 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)
      • United Kingdom “A” Level General Certificate Examination (grade of A, B, or C)
    • Any subject on the French Baccalaureate (12-20), German Abitur (7-15), or Swiss Matura (5 or 6)
  • Are a transfer or IDP student who has taken the appropriate college-level courses in a language other than English as an undergraduate student at another institution. The Registrar’s Office will review the course(s) and grade(s) on your official transcript and determine if you have fulfilled the second language requirement in consultation with the chairperson of the Department of Language and Culture Studies.

*Note: The Department of Language and Culture studies encourages you to continue to study that language or start learning a new language


Contact information:

Arabic Kifah Hanna Seabury Hall S-004 [email protected]
Chinese Grace Wang Seabury Hall S-101 [email protected]
French Sara Kippur Seabury Hall S-116 [email protected]
​German Julia Assaiante / Jason Doerre
Seabury Hall S-102 / Seabury Hall S-006 [email protected] / [email protected]
Hebrew Adi Katz Seabury Hall S-012 [email protected]
Italian ​Dario Del Puppo Seabury Hall S-112 [email protected]
Japanese Katsuya Izumi Seabury Hall S-003 [email protected]
Latin ​Martha Risser Seabury Tower 212 [email protected]
Ancient Greek Vincent Tomasso Seabury Tower 213 [email protected]
Russian Katherine Lahti Seabury Hall S-005 [email protected]
Spanish Aidalí Aponte-Avilés Seabury Hall S-016 [email protected]