College of Arts & Sciences Second Language Requirement

The College of Arts and Sciences requires that all degree candidates demonstrate proficiency at an advanced level in a second language. See

Courses in many languages are offered for fulfillment of this requirement -- through Romance Studies, World Languages and Literatures, Classical Studies, African Studies, and Deaf Studies. For a complete list of languages taught at BU, see Languages include:

  • Akan Twi CAS-African Studies
  • American Sign Language SED-Deaf Studies
  • Amharic CAS-African Studies
  • Arabic CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Chinese CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • French CAS-Romance Studies
  • German CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Greek-Ancient CAS-Classical Studies
  • Greek-Modern CAS-Classical Studies
  • Hausa CAS-African Studies
  • Hebrew CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Hindi-Urdu CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Igbo CAS-African Studies
  • Italian CAS-Romance Studies
  • Japanese CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Korean CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Latin CAS-Classical Studies
  • Persian (Farsi) CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Portuguese CAS-Romance Studies
  • Russian CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Spanish CAS-Romance Studies
  • Swahili (Kiswahili) CAS-African Studies
  • Turkish CAS-World Languages & Literatures
  • Wolof CAS-African Studies
  • Xhosa CAS-African Studies
  • Zulu CAS-African Studies

Students are encouraged to choose a language that will complement their current interests, fields of study, and future career plans.

In some languages, there is a choice between a four-skills approach and a reading sequence. The sequence emphasizing all four skills--reading, writing, listening and speaking--is taught in the language being studied. The reading sequence courses are taught in English using a traditional grammar and translation approach enhanced by the study of texts from a wide variety of authentic sources: literature, advertising, the press, and cinema. Both sequences contain civilization and culture components. Because of the intrinsic differences between the two sequences, students are allowed to transfer from one sequence to the other only after either the first or second semester. Students are encouraged to read the complete descriptions of the courses in the bulletin. Students who would like to do this should contact the Deaf Studies Program for further information.

Students who have previously studied a language outside of Boston University must take a placement exam, so that they can be placed at an appropriate level.

Recent change in policy: Note that courses in American Sign Language (ASL) are offered at Boston University through the Deaf Studies Program. Students may now also use ASL to fulfill the CAS Second Language Requirement. Completing 4th semester ASL will satisfy the requirement in the same way as completing the 4th semester course in any other foreign language. Students who would like further information about ASL courses should contact the Deaf Studies Program.

See this page for more information about learning languages at BU.

Placement Test Information and Interpretation of AP Scores

If you are continuing study in Chinese, German, Hebrew, or Japanese, please see instructions for the on-line placement tests here:

If you are continuing study in French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish, please seen instructions for the online placement tests here:

For information about placement in Latin, Ancient Greek, or Modern Greek, see

For placement in other languages, please contact the sponsoring unit: