A basic requirement for engaging with the world is the ability to speak in more than one language. For this reason, the Humanities program expects students to pass a second-language requirement. We require that students achieve at least an intermediate level of competence, such that they will be able to have meaningful social and cultural interaction in a language other than English.  Indeed, we believe that cultural differences and realities are deeply embedded in the structures and signifying practices of languages; learning a second language will therefore serve to strengthen the cultural competences of Bachelor of Humanities graduates.

Students in the Bachelor of Humanities, BHUM Bio and Bachelor of Humanities and Journalism  must satisfy the language requirement.  The language requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways:

  1. By course work: Students who lack second language skill upon entry, or who wish to learn a new language, can satisfy the language requirement by satisfactorily completing language instruction courses in a language other than English up to an intermediate level.  In most cases, this means completing the equivalent of two years (2.0 credits) of university-level language study.  Languages currently offered at Carleton include: American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, Japanese, KiSwahili, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish (see note below concerning languages less commonly offered).  French language courses are offered by the Department of French, while instruction in all other languages is offered through the School of Linguistics and Language Studies (SLALS)*.  Students who have some second language skills in one of these languages, though not enough to satisfy the requirement, will be expected to take a placement test in order to determine the appropriate language course for them.  The link below goes to a table which lists the specific Carleton language instruction courses which satisfy the BHUM language requirement.  Courses taken at other institutions may also be used to meet the language requirement, as long as they are accepted by the Department of French or the School of Linguistics and Language Studies as being equivalent to, or at a higher level than, the courses specified in the table.
    • Carleton language instruction courses which satisfy the BHUM language requirement
    • Note on languages less commonly offered: SLALS offers courses in a given language in response to student demand.  For some languages, experience in recent years has been that there is not enough student demand to offer instruction beyond the first year level.  Languages offered in recent years at the first year level, but not at higher levels, include Anishinaabemowin (Ojibway), Hungarian, Kiswahili and Kurdish.  Students choosing to study these languages may therefore have to find second year level language instruction at another institution.
  2. By demonstrating prior language proficiency: Students who already have intermediate or higher second language skills upon entry may be exempted from the requirement to take language courses.  Students who wish to be exempted from taking language courses in this way must apply for an exemption to the Program Advisor using the form linked below.  Each application will be treated on its merits, but the following general guidelines apply:
    1. Secondary school language of instruction: Students whose secondary school transcripts show that their primary language of instruction in secondary school was a language other than English may be exempted from taking language courses.
    2. French immersion: Students who have successfully completed Grade 12 French immersion or the equivalent at a Canadian high school may be exempted from taking language courses.  Grade 12 core French is not sufficient for an exemption.
    3. Proficient speakers: Students who do not qualify under either of the first two categories, but who nonetheless consider themselves proficient speakers of a language other than English, may be exempted from taking language courses.  For languages taught at Carleton, “proficiency” means a level at least equivalent to completion of one of the designated language courses linked above. For languages not taught at Carleton, “proficiency” means a level at least equivalent to two full years of university level language study. Proficiency may be demonstrated either through documentation (e.g. certification from a recognized language testing authority) or through testing.  For languages taught at Carleton, testing will be administered by the Department of French or the School of Linguistics and Language Studies.  For all other languages, availability of a test depends upon faculty resource availability.