Policies

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Can I receive retroactive credits?

Please refer to the College of Letters & Science Undergraduate Guide to view the Credit By Course Examination/Retroactive Credit Policy (Credits –> Credit By Course Examination/Retroactive Credits).

How do I determine the number of retroactive credits I will receive?

There are two considerations you should make when determining the number of retrocredits you will receive upon earning a B or better in your first language course at UW-Madison:

  1. What language course did you place into?
  2. What are the prior UW-Madison courses (first semester, second semester, third semester, etc.) in the course sequence for that language, and how many credits are those courses worth?

Remember: Retrocredits can only be earned for the first four semesters/terms of a language sequence.

For example:

How do I find out what the prior courses are for the course that I place into?

To find prior coursework in the course sequence, admitted and current students can conduct a search through the Enroll App or the CourseGuide through MyUW. Prospective students should refer to the Public Class Search.

If you have further questions regarding retroactive credits, please contact advisor@languageinstitute.wisc.edu.

What are the foreign language requirements for admission to UW-Madison?

The minimum foreign language requirement for admission to UW-Madison is two sequential units of a foreign language (other than English) but most successful applicants have three or four (or more) units. A unit of language is defined as:

  • One semester of college OR
  • One year of high school OR
  • Two years of middle school

What are Madison's language requirements for graduation?

The foreign language requirement for graduation from UW-Madison varies by School or College:

School or College BA & BS Language Requirement
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences None
School of Business 3 units of the same language

  • High school and college units can be combined
School of Education None

  • Language courses may be used to fulfill Humanities requirement for certain majors.
  • Language Teaching Certification requires additional language coursework
College of Engineering None

  • Language courses can be used to fulfill 6 credits of Humanities required of all Engineering students.
School of Human Ecology None

  • Language courses can satisfy the additional Humanities requirement for certain majors.
College of Letters and Science Students may combine high school and college work to meet requirement. Students with prior language experience (formal/informal) may take a placement exam to begin in higher level coursework.

BA

  • Completion of fourth level of a single language

OR

  • Completion of second level of one language AND third level of a second language

BS

  • Completion of third level of a single language
School of Nursing None

  • Knowledge of another language is considered beneficial when applying to the professional program.
  • Foreign language courses may count toward Humanities requirement.
School of Pharmacy BS Pharmacology & Toxicology:None

  • Foreign language courses may count toward Humanities graduation requirement.

What are the foreign language requirements for the B.S. and B.A. degrees in the College of Letters & Science?

Foreign language requirements for the B.S. and B.A. degrees differ:

For the B.S. degree, the foreign language requirement may be met by completion of the third level of a single foreign language. The following are examples that fulfill the language requirement for the B.S.:

  • three years of a single language in high school
  • three college semesters of a single language
  • a combination of high school and college study of a single language (for example, two years of high school plus the third semester in college).

For the B.A. degree, the foreign language requirement may be met in one of two ways: (1) completion of the fourth level in one language, or (2) completion of the third level in one language and completion of the second level in another language. The following are examples that fulfill the language requirement for the B.A.:

  • four years of a single language in high school
  • four semesters of a single language in college
  • a combination of high school and college study of the same language, up to the fourth level (for example, two years of high school plus third- and fourth- semester of college)
  • three years of one language in high school plus two semesters of a different language in college
  • a combination of high school and college study of the same language, up to the third level, plus two semesters of a different language in college

Learn more: L&S Foreign Language Requirement

How can I earn college credit for language study while still in high school?

There are many ways that you can earn college credit for language study while still in high school:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) tests
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) tests
  • Dual enrollment programs (UW-Oshkosh CAPP, UM College in the Schools, etc.)
  • A language course taken at a college or university while still in high school

All of these options provide you with UW-Madison credit in different ways; you should work with your academic advisors at Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) to understand the credit you already have and how it affects your continuing language study at UW-Madison.

For placement purposes at SOAR, it is helpful to know the level and course number of the course taken for college credit at another institution.  You should request that transcripts or test scores be sent from the credit-granting institution to UW-Madison as soon as possible. If it’s not possible to have your transcripts or scores before you attend SOAR, be sure to bring as much information as you can (program information, web sites, etc.)

Some common dual enrollment programs

College Coursework and AP/CLEP/IB (UW-Madison Office of Admissions)

Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP), UW-Oshkosh

College Credit in High School, UW-Green Bay

Partners in Education (PIE), UW-Whitewater

College in the Schools (CIS), University of Minnesota