World Languages & Literatures

The Second Language Requirement

For Students Matriculating Summer 2012 and Beyond

As a requirement of the new University Curriculum (UC), all students who matriculate summer 2012 and after must demonstrate proficiency in a second language. For the official UC wording on the Second Language Requirement, please click here.

Proficiency can be demonstrated in ONE of the following ways:

1. Having the equivalent of four (4) semesters of college-level second language proficiency prior to matriculating at SMU, demonstrated by:

  • A score of 4 or 5 on a language Advanced Placement (AP) exam
  • A score of 5, 6, or 7 on a HL International Baccalaureate (IB) exam
  • A score of 640 or above on the SAT II (Subject Test or Subject Test with Listening)
  • A score of Intermediate Mid or above on the ACTFL OPI examination in a language not taught at SMU
  • Placing beyond the fourth semester of a language taught at SMU via the placement exam, subject to additional testing. The placement exam may be taken only ONCE per language, prior to enrollment in language study at SMU. Placement exam results are valid for one year.
  • Native literacy in a language other than English (as determined by International Student Admissions or a placement exam in a language offered at SMU)
  • Transferring in two sequential terms of a second language taken prior to matriculation at any regionally accredited, post-secondary institution

2. Having the equivalent of three (3) semesters of college-level second language proficiency prior to beginning language classes at SMU (determined through a placement exam), and successfully completing one additional semester of that language at the fourth semester level.

3. Having one semester of language credit from another post-secondary institution (two-year or four-year) prior to matriculation at SMU, and successfully completing one additional semester of that language beyond the level of the transfer credit (unless that one transferred course is at the fourth semester level, in which case the transfer credit will have satisfied the SLR).

4. Successfully completing two semesters of a second language at SMU.

  • If you wish to enroll in a language you have studied in high school or elsewhere prior to enrolling at SMU, you must take the placement exam
  • You may take classes abroad (with prior approval) to satisfy the requirement

5. Successfully completing (with prior approval) an independent study program.

6. Taking two semesters of a second language at another institution during the summer.

  • Post-matriculation, this option requires the student to submit an Undergraduate Petition for Advance Approval of Transfer Work form through the Registrar's office. Please download the appropriate form below and attach a copy of the course syllabus of the course you wish to take. Have your academic advisor sign the form, then turn in the completed form and copy of the course syllabus to Donna Binkowski ( in Clements 339, or leave it in the main office (Clements 309).

Undergraduate Petition for Advance Approval of Transfer Work (GEC)

Undergraduate Petition for Advance Approval of Transfer Work (UC)

  • Post-matriculation, students are not permitted to receive credit by taking classes at a community college (although these courses can still be used to demonstrate proficiency to complete the SLR)

7. Taking two approved substitution courses as recommended to the student by the Disabilities Accomodations & Success Strategies (DASS) office.

  • This option requires advance approval by DASS
  • Students with a documented disability who think they may have trouble learning a second language may apply for a second language substitution. Students should review the guidelines on the DASS website before pursuing this accommodation.
  • Please click here to view the complete list of substitution courses available

To take a placement exam, email Elise Pflum, Director of the WLL Teaching and Technology Center at with 1) your SMU ID number and 2) the date of your first semester attending classes at SMU.

For questions regarding completing transfer work/transfer credit in order to fulfill the second language requirement, please contact Donna Binkowski, Director of the Language Program.


For any other concerns or information, please contact Rachel Hall, Senior Advisor, World Languages and Literatures.


Phone: 214-768-1448

Office: Clements Hall 230