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Frequently Asked Questions

 How do I satisfy my language requirement?

A language requirement can be fulfilled by taking language courses or proficiency tests.
Courses that meet the College two-year requirement (if passed with a grade of C- or better) include:

  • Chinese
    • ASIANLAN 202 (second semester of second year Chinese on the regular track)
    • ASIANLAN 203 (second year intensive Chinese)
    • ASIANLAN 204 (second year Chinese on the heritage track)
  • Filipino
    • ASIANLAN 212 (second semester of second year Filipino)
  • Hindi
    • ASIANLAN 216 (second semester of second year Hindi)
  • Indonesian
    • ASIANLAN 222 (second semester of second year Indonesian)
  • Japanese
    • ASIANLAN 226 (second semester of second year Japanese)
    • ASIANLAN 227 (second year intensive Japanese)
    • ASIANLAN 229/RCLANG 296 (second year intensive Japanese in the RC)
  • Korean
    • ASIANLAN 236 (second semester of second year Korean)
  • Punjabi
    • ASIANLAN 246 (second semester of second year Punjabi)
  • Sanskrit
    • ASIANLAN 252 (second semester of second year Sanskrit)
  • Thai
    • ASIANLAN 262 (second semester of second year Thai)
  • Tibetan
    • (classical) - ASIANLAN 468 (second semester of second year Classical Tibetan)
    • (modern) - ASIANLAN 266 (second semester of second year Colloquial Tibetan)
  • Urdu
    • ASIANLAN 272 (second semester of second year Urdu)
  • Vietnamese
    • ASIANLAN 276 (second semester of second year Vietnamese)

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 How can I predict when a course is typically offered (fall, winter, summer)?

Generally (but not strictly) in the Asian Languages division, courses whose numbers end in an odd number are offered in the Fall semester, and those whose numbers end in an even number are offered in the Winter semester.  ALC often offers language courses in Chinese, Japanese and Korean during the spring and summer terms. Students are strongly encouraged to refer to the LSA Course Guide or contact the relevant Language Director for more detailed information.

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 How do I transfer course credits to the University of Michigan from another school?

For this issue, you should contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and academic advisors in your own college or school. If they ask for verification, an assessment, or a recommendation from the a language instructor, you should contact the director for that Language Program. You may be expected to present the following to the director: program descriptions, course syllabi, instructional materials, official transcripts, instructors' letters, and other supporting documents or materials.

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 What is a proficiency test, and how do I take one?

If a student intends to "place-out" so that he or she does not have to take any language course on this campus (or at another university), he or she should take a proficiency test.  We then upload the student's score on his/her academic record within 3 business days. The general advisors or other officials of a student's school/college can view this result in Wolverine Access. Any questions about language waivers, exam credit, etc. should be directed towards a student's general advisor.

Dates and locations for tests will posted on the Placement & Proficiency Test section of the ALC website. Whether a test date is for "place-out" purposes will be noted with the test information.

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 What is a placement test, and how do I take one?

A placement test is for students with previous language experience who have the intention to continue their study and is alternately titled as a "place-in" exam. These students do not have the University of Michigan transcript credit that proves their ability and allows them to place into higher levels. After a student takes a placement exam, the score is uploaded onto his/her student record within 3 business days. Beginning in Winter 2014, the reporting of this score in Wolverine Access will then override the prerequisites for the course and allow a student to register or add him/herself to the waitlist. 

Dates and locations for tests will posted on the Placement & Proficiency Test section of the ALC website. Whether a test date is for "place-in" purposes will be noted with the test information.

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 How do I choose the language course that is best for me?

Decisions on course selection are generally done in consultation with your academic advisor.  Every student's situation is different, so please use the following as general guidelines.

If you are a true beginner, you should register for the first language course in the sequence.  These are generally courses at the 100-level, are odd-numbered courses, and are offered in the Fall semester.  There are no prerequisites for these courses.

If you have some existing knowledge of the language, you will need to take a placement test to determine which course will be best for you.  

If you have not taken a language course at UM in the past two years or if you have taken language in a study abroad program, you should take the placement test in order to confirm your correct placing.

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 The course I want to take has an enforced prerequisite, which I have not yet taken.  How can I register for the class?

If you have not taken an enforced prerequisite but feel like you would still qualify for the course, you should either take a placement test or email the instructor listed with the course. An override can be issued that will allow you to register. 

If you have taken an enforced prerequisite but took it "Not For Credit," Wolverine Access will not acknowledge at registration that you have met the prerequisite. In this instance, notify the instructor of the course so that an override may be issued for you to register. 

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 How do I get an override into a class?

If you need an override, you should either contact the instructor for the course or the relevant Language Program Director. Instructors are not required to give overrides into their courses and are allowed to exercise their own judgment on which students are admitted. 

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 I am an Ann Arbor high school student or a local resident.  How can I register for one of your classes? 

Ann Arbor high school students wanting to take UM classes for high school credit, should talk to their high school guidance counselor in order to get the necessary paperwork.  They should then talk with the appropriate Language Program Director in order to make arrangements regarding class scheduling and registration.

Students not enrolled in an Ann Arbor high school must be officially registered (either as degree students or as non-degree visiting students). The Office of Undergraduate Admissions should be contacted for more information about this. 

Registration priority for all language classes will be given to admitted UM students. 

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 What do I do if a course I want to take is cancelled?

We understand that language study is critical for most students' degree programs.  We try very hard not to cancel courses in the core language sequence.  Situations arise, however, that mean that on occasion courses have to be cancelled.  If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the instructor, the Curriculum Assistant, or the relevant Language Director for guidance on other possible options.

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 I didn't do very well in my language class last semester.  Should I repeat the class or move on?

Language acquisition is a step-by-step process and is cumulative. Your success in every future step hinges on your performance at the present step. If you take a foundation course but get a low grade (C or D), you have virtually missed a step and will inevitably experience greater and greater difficulties in your following studies. In this case, you are strongly urged to repeat the class rather than to continue on. This is especially important for students at the first and second-year levels, where a strong performance is critical to your future successes. Please know, however, that most language courses, if repeated, cannot be done so for credit.

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 Can I take a language class pass/fail?

Yes, you may elect any class pass/fail, but you should do so in careful consultation with an academic advisor. If the intention is to fulfill the LSA Language Requirement, fourth semester language classes must be taken for a grade. Also, language courses must be taken for a grade if you wish to use them towards major or minor requirements.

You do not need to notify your instructor of your decision to take the class pass/fail.  The instructor will review you coursework like any student and will submit a grade to the Registrar's Office.  The Registrar's Office will, in turn, convert the grade into a pass or fail if you have registered for the course with that designation.

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 I want to take a course, but I have a schedule conflict with the date/time that it is being offered.  What do I do?

Daily attendance is required in all language courses. While occasional absences for a legitimate reason can be excused, chronic absence is not acceptable. Generally, if the language course for which you wish to register conflicts with another course you want to take, you will have to make a choice between them.  That said, you should contact the instructor to talk about the issue.  If the class only has a small number of students, it is sometimes possible to reschedule the class to a time when everyone can attend.

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 I'm going to miss the first day or week of class.  What should I do?

Talk to the instructor immediately. Daily attendance is required in all language courses.

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 I'd like to hire a language tutor or set up a language partnership.  Help!

The Language Resource Center on campus supplies language tutors or helps to set up language partnerships. You should go to their website for more information or stop by their facilities in 1500 North Quad. 

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 I'd like to study abroad in Asia!  How do I get started?

The best place to start is the Center for Global and Intercultural Studies in G155 Angell Hall. Their office has area/country-specific advisors to help students choose the best programs for them. If your purpose is to do language study, emailing the relevant Language Director to set up an appointment for his/her opinion is also recommended. 

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 I'd like to take an independent study course.  How do I register for one?

Independent study courses provide highly motivated and capable students with the opportunity to pursue a rigorous course of study that is not accommodated elsewhere in the curriculum.  Students may not take an independent study in lieu of a course which is regularly offered.

For information on how to petition for an independent study, please contact the Curriculum Assistant at (734) 764-8286 or stop by the ALC Student Services office in 4111 South Thayer Building. 

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 I need a translation certified, can you help?

Unfortunately, the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures does not offer translation services. If you are looking for a translator or translation certification, we recommend that you use the Michigan Department of State Translators Resource List

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 How do I apply for a GSI (Graduate Student Instructor) position?

GSI position openings are posted on We usually hire GSIs for open positions in the Fall and Winter semesters only.  Please contact the Student Services Manager at (734) 764-0315 if you have specific questions.

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 How do I apply for a Lecturer/Instructor position?

The department occasionally has openings for Lecturer/Instuctor positions in our language programs.  These positions are posted on the UM Job Postings website. 

If you have specific questions about an opportunity, please contact the department's Key Administrator at (734) 764-8287.

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