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Online Languages Courses

Why Study Languages?


Much of the world's great literature, music, art, architecture and film originated outside of the United States. While English-speakers can enjoy these treasures in their translated form, a deeper appreciation and more personal interpretation can be found when these arts are viewed or heard in their original format.

International travel can be a more meaningful experience when viewed through a multi-lingual and multicultural lens. The level of interaction with people, landmarks, and foreign institutions is simply broader and deeper when you have baseline knowledge from which to operate.

There are more than 7,000 known languages around the world, some used only by small local tribes and others that are more popular and well-known. The world is full of possibilities for the student of languages – people to meet, countries to visit, books to read, business opportunities to embrace, TV programs to view and web sites to browse. Explore what you can do through our languages programs at UWM!

Read the January, 2012 New York Times editorial, "The World Has Changed." The editorialist argues that monolingualism is no longer an option in today's world.

Placement Tests

Placement tests are available for French, German and Spanish. For students who have previously taken courses in these areas, placement tests help identify which course the student can start with at UWM.

For languages other than French, German and Spanish, contact the language program directly for more information.

AP Credits

A score of 3, 4, or 5 on an AP test gives the student credit in a given course or courses. If the student wants retroactive credits, s/he must take the next level course and meet the language department's retroactive credit requirements in order to receive retro credits for courses preceding the one with which the AP score is associated.

Retro Credits

A student can receive retroactive credits by completing the course that he/she places into with a grade of B or better in French, German and Spanish. Retroactive credits award students with credits for previous courses in the language sequence. For example, 4 credits for 1st semester, plus 4 credits for 2nd semester, plus 3 credits for 3rd semester, plus 3 credits for 4th semester, with a maximum of 14 credits. Retroactive credits are only given in conjunction with the first language course taken at the university. Students should contact the appropriate foreign language department before the beginning of the semester to verify that the course that they are taking generates retroactive credits.

For languages other than French, German and Spanish, contact the language program directly for more information.

Degree Requirements

Under UWM's general education requirements, all students must take the equivalent of 1 year of college-level foreign language instruction in the same language in order to earn an undergraduate degree. This requirement can be met in a number of ways, such as having studied two years of the same language in high school, taking two semesters of the same language at UWM or placing in a higher level foreign language class at UWM and earning retro credits for preceding courses.

Some degrees, however, have greater foreign language requirements. For example, all of the Bachelor of Arts programs in the College of Letters and Science require, at a minimum, the equivalent of four semesters of the same language or three semesters of one language and two semesters of another.

Check with the individual program that you are interested in for details on its language requirement.


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In addition to the undergraduate languages programs, UWM has a number of related programs and services that may be of interest: