Foreign Language Requirement
Why a foreign language?
For a long time Americans tended to think that knowing English was sufficient for all their needs. Fortunately, many business, political, and educational leaders are realizing the advantages of speaking a foreign language -- whether in a local, national or international setting.
A second language is now becoming a vital part of the basic preparation for an increasing number of careers. Even in those cases where the knowledge of a second language does not help graduates obtain a first job, many alumni report that their fluency in a foreign language enhanced their mobility and improved their chances for promotion. If nothing else, a recent Canadian research study has shown that people who regularly used two languages showed signs of dementia four years later than people who used only one language!!
Start or continue a foreign language at WSU Vancouver-Chinese, French, Spanish or Latin-to enrich your learning experience; to give you the skills to be able to speak the language when you travel or conduct business in this country and abroad; and to enhance your qualifications in the job market or in graduate school.
We also offer minors in Spanish, French or Latin American/Spanish Cultural Studies-a great asset for any career or graduate studies, or simply for personal enjoyment!
Criteria for Fulfilling the CLA, COS and COM Foreign Language Graduation Requirement (Eff. Fall 2011)
1. To satisfy the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement in the College of Liberal Arts, College of Sciences, and College of Communication, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in all four language skills, i.e. listening, speaking, writing and reading at a novice-mid level (e.g., SPAN 102) for European languages (such as French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish) or at a novice-low level for character-based languages (such as, Chinese, Japanese, Russian), according to ACTFL standards.
To demonstrate the required proficiency, students may submit proof of a variety of possible foreign language experiences to the academic advisor who will enter the appropriate ForL DARS code.
At present, the basic requirement is:
Two years of study at the High School level of the same Foreign Language (Transcript required. This includes ASL or NAL.).
Two college semesters (or two quarters) study of the same foreign language at the community college or university level (Transcript required).
Note: A FL course taken in eighth grade may satisfy one year of the requirement if the second year is completed in high school. If only one year is completed in high school, a WSU student must complete an additional semester or transfer an additional college-level quarter or semester in the same foreign language.
Foreign Language Proficiency not based on HS or college instruction. This last alternative involves submitting a petition, explanatory letter, plus documentation that proves one of the following:
- Residence abroad in a foreign language-speaking country for at least two consecutive years, during the last five years (Documentation required to prove residency in country where foreign language is spoken .).
- Study abroad in a foreign language country educational institution for at least a year (Transcript required, plus course descriptions, syllabi and number of contact hours).
- Heritage speakers who have taken at least 1 year of the language in HS, and who speak the language more or less fluently at home (Transcript & proficiency exam required.).
- Passing the Standards-based Measurement of Proficiency (STAMP) test with a minimum score of 2 or more in all three sections for European languages, or a minimum score of 1 in all sections for character-based languages. [NOTE: This test is currently not available on the WSU Vancouver campus. See footnote below.]
Non-accredited intensive language training will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
International students who have completed formal instruction in their primary language, as well as formal instruction in English as a Second Language in their secondary education, have met the intent of the foreign language requirement. Records indicating the successful completion of both languages, course descriptions and syllabi are required to document the foreign language requirement.
2. To petition to substitute the CLA, COS, or COMM Foreign Language Graduation Requirement with two approved culture-related courses (chosen from list below), students will be required to do one of the following:
- Submit a petition and an explanatory cover letter, plus a written
statement of accommodation from Disability Services, based on
documentation from an accredited healthcare professional
attesting to the learning disability and/or medical condition.
Please contact Disability Services with questions.
- Submit a petition and an explanatory cover letter, plus a written statement on university letterhead from the student’s foreign.
language course instructor whereby he/she certifies that the student
has made a best-faith effort to complete the language course but is
unable to complete the course successfully.
- Submit a petition and an explanatory letter, plus official documentation describing unsuccessful past classroom experiences (high school or secondary education) in foreign language learning.
Other extenuating circumstances that prevent students from completing courses in a foreign language, such as for transfer students age 25 or older, or those returning to higher education after five years away, may be the basis of a petition, will require documentation, and will be considered on a case by case basis.
Students in any of these categories, may want to consider taking LATIN 101 & 102, courses that are open to everyone, but which may suit some students, as there is no speaking component and it is ONLINE (99%, with procotored final exam).
Approval of a petition at any stage is not guaranteed but, if approval is granted, students may proceed to substitute two foreign language culture-related courses in lieu of language courses, as follows:
- Take TWO courses from Category A, OR
- Take ONE course each from Category A and from Category B, OR
- Transfer TWO equivalent courses from an accredited college.
CATEGORY A: FOR L 101, 110, 120, 130, 410
CATEGORY B: FA 302, HIST 331, 335; PHIL 314, 315; ASIA/ CHIN 111, 121, 131, 320; FREN 110, 120, 420, 430; GER 110; RUS 321; SPAN 110, 111, 120, 121, 420
All courses in both categories are taught in English. The list of courses may be reviewed and updated by the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts in consultation with the Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures.
3. The Petition Process:
- See advisor to determine if the foreign language requirement has been fulfilled by one of the approved accredited or non-accredited means, or if extenuating circumstances exist that would justify substitution of approved cultural classes in lieu of a foreign language class.
- Obtain the petition from the Academic Advisor or the Associate Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures (VCLS 208). Complete this form, then submit it to the advisor with an explanatory cover letter, plus all supporting documents. Incomplete petition packets will not be considered.
- The Academic Advisor will make a recommendation in the case, sign the form, and forward it to the Associate Chair, who, in turn, makes a recommendation and signs it.
- The petition packet is then forwarded to the Director of the college in which the student is based. A recommendation is made by the Director, who then forwards the petition to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for final adjudication.
- Notification letters will be issued to the Associate Chair, the Academic Advisor, and the student. The Academic Advisor will update the student's academic record via DARS as necessary.
 The Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) World Languages Program are collaborating on a series of “Washington World Language Assessment Days,” by offering the STAMP test on specific dates/ places, to support high school, and/or higher education students who may not have access to it in their school districts, colleges, or universities. The cost is $30 per language assessed (paid by check or credit card to WAFLT), and the languages assessed are Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese (Simplified or Traditional Characters). For more information on testing centers and dates, please visit this link or contact Dr. Michele Anciaux Aoki, World Languages Program Supervisor, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, firstname.lastname@example.org.