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Foreign Language and Study Abroad

There is a Modern Language Requirement (MLR) for the all College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences students earning a BA degree. For students who initially were admitted to DePaul to begin in fall 2007 or later, the modern language requirement may be met in any of the following ways:

  • completing the last course in a four-year high school sequence of a non-English language
  • completing the last course in the first-year college sequence of a non-English language
  • completing a college course beyond the first-year level in a non-English language
  • placing into the second year (or higher) on a DePaul Modern Language placement exam (e.g. receiving a score that would indicated placement into SPN 104 or higher) 
  • achieving a satisfactory rating in a language proficiency examination accepted by DePaul University
  • scoring a 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) test of a non-English language
  • scoring 5 or higher on the Language B assessment from a Standard or Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB) program in a non-English language
  • achieving a satisfactory score on the CLEP evaluation in a non-English language

Note: American Sign Language (ASL) qualifies as a modern language.

Note: Please see the Department of Modern Languages' guide to placement tests here.

Note: Transfer students will need to provide official high school transcripts in order to use high school coursework to meet the non-English language requirement. (For students who applied to DePaul as high school students, the university already has a copy of the high school transcript.) There is no separate foreign language requirement for the History Department.

Students who have met the modern language requirement and have also successfully completed an additional two to three courses (depending on the level) beyond what they used to satisfy the Modern Language Requirement are eligible for the MLO, which grants a waiver of two courses from the standard Liberal Studies curriculum. The LAS college office in consultation with the student, and, if appropriate, the student's major field advisor, makes the decision as to which courses are waived. Normally, students use the Modern Language option to reduce their requirements by one course in each of two of the following combinations of learning domains:

  • Philosophical Inquiry OR Religious Dimensions
  • Understanding the Past OR Social, Cultural, and Behavioral Inquiry
  • Arts and Literature OR Scientific Inquiry (cannot substitute for the lab science requirement)

Please note: All students must take a laboratory course in the "Scientific Inquiry" domain, and all students must take at least one course in each learning domain. So, for example, a student who is using the LSP 121 waiver to substitute for one of the two "Philosophical Inquiry" domain courses cannot also use an MLO waiver to substitute for the other required course in that domain.

Please see the Modern Language Department’s guide for taking placement tests here. If you are seeking to test in a language not regularly taught at DePaul, the Modern Languages Department offers some accommodations through other universities. 

Be aware that all languages are taught in sequence with the quarters, with 101/201 sections available in the Autumn Quarter, 102/202 in the Winter, and 103/203 in the Spring. It is thus important to plan carefully.

Even if you are comfortable speaking in a foreign language, you still need to have your language skills assessed. Heritage speakers of Spanish should take the “Heritage Spanish” examination, intended to assess students with a more in-depth knowledge of Spanish, either as a native speaker or as a result of using the language in everyday life. For all other languages, please see the Modern Languages Department for information about alternative forms of assessment.

If you plan carefully, studying abroad should not prevent a student from graduating in four years.  But it is advisable to begin researching programs early in order to make the best decisions. See the Study Abroad website at
DePaul students are eligible to participate in non-DePaul Study Abroad programs, but this will require arranging for the credit earned abroad to be transferred in from the sponsoring institution. See the “Transfer Credit” section of the Study Abroad website ( for details.