Foreign Language FAQs

Foreign Language FAQs

I took French [or German or Spanish] in high school. How do I know which language course to take first at Tech?

If you have never studied the language before and don’t already speak the language, you will start in the 1010 level of the language: FREN 1010, GERM 1010 or SPAN 1010.

If you already have substantial knowledge of French, German or Spanish, whether through high school classes or through life experience, you need to take a WebCAPE Placement Test to help determine where you should start. There is no fee for this test. This exam does not give credit, but it is possible to earn free “retrocredit” of up to 9 credit hours if you place into a level higher than 1010 and then go on to successfully complete one higher-level course in the language with a grade of "C" or better. Contact the Department of Foreign Languages if you think you might need to take the WebCAPE Placement Test.

What is “retrocredit?”

“Retrocredit” is an informal term for free credit you can earn if you begin at Tennessee Tech in a language course higher than 1010. For example: If you had Spanish in high school and want to continue studying Spanish at Tennessee Tech, you will take the WebCAPE Placement Test. Let’s say you place into Spanish 2010. Once you successfully complete SPAN 2010 at Tech, we can help you request “retrocredit” for SPAN 1010 and SPAN 1020. That means you actually earned 9 credit hours in a language after only taking one class!

I already know French [or German, or Spanish]. How can I get credit for the language?

If you already know one of the languages we offer, you can consider taking the CLEP exam to try to earn 6 or 12 credit hours in the language. For more information, search “CLEP” on the Tennessee Tech web site. An organization called the College Board administers CLEP exams nationwide. There is a fee for this exam.

What can I do with a foreign language degree?

A Foreign Language degree from Tennessee Tech can open many doors to a wide variety of careers. Many employers recognize that being proficient in a foreign language means a person has excellent critical thinking skills, is a quick learner and is more likely to easily learn new tasks and adapt to new situations. For a list of possible career paths and to read about our alumni, click here.

I’m an incoming Foreign Languages Major. Who will my advisor be?

When you come to SOAR (Student Registration & Orientation) or to Transfer Orientation, you will meet with the chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages for advisement for your first semester at Tech. During your first semester, you will be assigned to a faculty member in the language you are studying. He/she will be your advisor for the remainder of your undergraduate years at Tennessee Tech.

I’m thinking about a “double major.” Is that possible with Foreign Languages?

Foreign Languages is actually a great program to pair with another major or degree! The FL curriculum offers quite a few electives, giving you a way to fit in some of the classes in your other field. If you are earning a B.A. in English or History, you are considered a “double major” because both programs result in a B.A. degree. If you are working toward a B.S. in another discipline, you will actually earn two degrees: a B.A. and a B.S. If you are majoring in a STEM field, we have a “FL Option 2” program which you can follow. For more information, click here.

I’m not majoring in Foreign Languages, but I like studying another language. Is there a Foreign Language minor?

Yes! You can earn a minor in French, German or Spanish. For details, click here.

Can I only choose one language to major or minor in?

No. We have had several students earn a B.A. in Foreign Languages with concentrations in two languages. While this is challenging, it is certainly doable! You can also earn more than one FL minor, although you would have to complete 15 credit hours in each language.

What is IBAC?

International Business and Cultures, or IBAC, is a joint program between the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Business. Students can earn a B.S. degree with a heavy emphasis on a foreign language. For more information, click here.

I want to study abroad. When and how do I get started?

We strongly encourage all FL majors to study abroad at least once! Most of our students report great leaps in learning the language upon returning from their study abroad experience. The Department of Foreign Languages and The Study Abroad Office will help you through the process.

It’s important that you plan ahead for your study abroad trip. For more information, click here or go to Tennessee Tech’s Study Abroad web page.

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