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Language Placement and Testing

Foreign Language Requirement
Placement in Asian Language Courses
Language Testing Schedules and Information

Foreign Language Requirement

"The faculty considers competence in a foreign language essential for an educated person. Studying language other than one's own helps students understand the dynamics of language, our fundamental intellectual tool, and enables students to understand another culture. The sooner a student acquires competence, the sooner it will be useful. Hence, work toward the foreign language requirement should be undertaken in the first two years."(Cornell University Courses of Study)

Courses in foreign languages and/or literature are taught in the College of Arts and Sciences by the following departments: Africana Studies & Research Center, Asian Studies, China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Classics, Comparative Literature, German Studies, Linguistics, Near Eastern Studies, and Romance Studies. Asian languages offered are Bengali, Burmese, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Nepali, Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhala, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

The language requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways:

Option 1: Passing (a) a nonintroductory foreign language course of 3 or more credits at Cornell at the 2000 level or above or (b)any other nonintroductory course at the 2000-level or above conducted in a foreign language at Cornell.

Option 2: Passing at least 11 credits of study in a single foreign language (taken in the appropriate sequence) at Cornell.

Any exceptions to these rules will be noted elsewhere in individual department descriptions. See the section on exemptions below.

Placement in Asian Language Courses

These scheduled placement tests are offered the week before classes begin; there is also a make-up exam a couple of days after classes begin for students who cannot make it to the initial exam. We encourage you to take the initial placement exam because the make-up is given after the first day of classes.

A Placement test IS NOT needed for:

  • Students with no background in the language at all. You may enroll directly in the elementary level (some exceptions may apply, so please check individual courses for more information)

A Placement test IS needed for:

  • Students who have had two or more years of high school study in the language.
  • Students who are bilingual or native speakers, or who have spoken the language at home.
  • Students who have been awarded credit for language work at another college or university and wish to continue with the language at Cornell.
  • The placement exam may have been taken in high school (SAT II, taken after the last course, or AP, if the score was 4 or 5) or at Cornell (LP Test). The instructors will still want to test you to judge which level will best suit you.


Posting: Placement test results are posted for your convenience and only with your permission; for which we would need to know your Cornell ID number. Please tell the instructor giving the exam if you want your results posted. The instructor will give you a permission slip to fill out. Placement test results cannot be posted if you do not fill out one of these slips.

For more information, please contact

Asian Studies Schedule of Language Placement Examinations

Placement tests are scheduled for Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese), Hindi, Japanese, and Korean at both basic and advanced levels. For testing in other languages, consult the contact for that language listed below.

Sign-up is not necessary for these tests, but please bring a #2 pencil. You will also need to know your Cornell ID #.

Scheduled Tests for Fall 2016

*All students with any knowledge of Korean are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. The placement test can be taken anywhere, anytime of the year on-line. Students can take the test once per semester only. Results from this test cannot be used to pass any college language requirement or to be exempted from that requirement. For exemption in Korean, you must take the Korean exemption test. Students who wish to be exempted from the Cornell language requirement should take an exemption test in Rockefeller 110 on 1/25/2016 @ 9am.

*All students with any knowledge of Japanese are required to take a placement test to determine the right course for them. The placement test can be taken anywhere, anytime of the year on-line. Students can take the test once per semester only.

Contact Information: It is recommended that e-mail be used to contact the appropriate faculty member to set up an appointment for testing in the languages listed below.

Bengali: Sreemati Mukherjee 303 Rockefeller 5-0718
Burmese: Yu Yu Khaing 302 Rockefeller 5-1340
Chinese-Mandarin: Stephanie Divo 387 Rockefeller 5-2813
Hindi/Urdu: Sujata Singh 309 Rockefeller 5-4358
Indonesian: Jolanda Pandin 306 Rockefeller 5-0685
Japanese: Misako Terashima Chapman 375 Rockefeller 5-0289
Khmer: Hannah Phan 301 Rockefeller 5-0642
Korean: Meejeong Song 388A Rockefeller 5-8498
Nepali: Shambhu Oja 339 Rockefeller 5-8447
Pali: Anne Blackburn 346 Rockefeller 4-6501
Sanskrit: Larry McCrea 347 Rockefeller Hall 4-6738
Sinhala: Bandara Herath 336 Rockefeller 5-8409
Tagalog: M. Theresa Savella 330 Rockefeller 5-7524
Thai: Ngampit Jagacinski 304 Rockefeller 5-3099
Vietnamese: Thuy Tranviet 335 Rockefeller 4-6715