Before graduating from Macalester, a student must demonstrate proficiency in a second language equivalent to four semesters of college level study in a single language. There are several ways a student may meet this requirement.

AP/IB Credits

A score of 5 on the Chinese, German or Japanese Language AP exams; a score of 4 or 5 on the French or Spanish Language AP exams; or a score of 4 or 5 on the Spanish Literature AP exam; or a score of 7 on HL IB exams in Japanese and Chinese fulfills the language requirement.  If the student’s scores have been sent to the Registrar, the student’s DegreeWorks audit will reflect fulfillment of the language requirement. If not, the student must send an authorized copy of their scores to the Registrar.  Students also receive credit for these scores according to the decisions of the relevant language department as described on the Registrar’s website.


Taking and passing all classes through 204 in any of the languages offered at Macalester (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) fulfills the language requirement. Students who have studied a language in high school and wish to continue it in college should take the WebCape test (if French, German or Spanish) or consult the College Catalog or Advising Handbook to determine placement based on other measures (i.e, years studied, AP or IB exams). The instructions on how to access and take the WebCape exam are available from Academic Programs and Advising. Students wishing to start a new language should enroll themselves in the Elementary 1 course of that language. Students wishing to complete our language requirement in a language not offered at Macalester should consult with Academic Programs and Advising.

Multilingual Students

In order for multilingual students to have their language requirement marked as complete they must demonstrate Intermediate Level proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a language other than English. A high school transcript indicating the language of instruction was in the target language or that the student took courses in a native language in addition to English during high school is the most common way to demonstrate proficiency. An email from a high school official or a bilingual professional attesting to the student’s proficiency is also acceptable. The Director of Academic Programs and Advising is responsible for making these determinations.