Course Placement

Placement Based on F-Cape, SAT II, AP, and International Baccalaureate Test Scores

Incoming first-year students are placed according to their UVA F-CAPE (computerized placement test), SAT II, AP, or Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores.  Students who have studied French before entering UVA, but have no French SAT II, AP, or International Baccalaureate score, are required to take the UVA F-CAPE placement exam online prior to enrolling in a French course.  After a student has received a placement test score, placement in French courses is made the schedule below. (Note that if a student has taken more than one type of exam, the French Department accepts the highest of the scores.)

  F-CAPE Scores  

  SAT II Scores  

Higher Level IB Scores

AP Scores


296 or below




FREN 1010***





FREN 1020

377 or below

530 or below



FREN 1050





FREN 2010





FREN 2020/2320

477 and above

660 and above

5 or above on French A1, A2, or French B

Language score
of 3

French Language
Requirement Fulfilled





FREN 2320 (suggested
butnot required) or 3031




Language score
of 3

FREN 3031






557 and above

760 and above

7 on French B or 5 or above on French A1 or A2:
consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies to
determine appropriate course placement

Language score
of 4 or 5

FREN 3032 or above


Students who place within the Required Courses Sequence (1010-2320) must select a course at a level which corresponds to their placement score or one level higher than the score indicates.

NOTE: If your score is lower than you expected for your background, we encourage you to try the next course in the sequence.  Challenge yourself and complete the required sequence more quickly.  Selection of a lower level course may be made only with the authorization of the Language Program Director.

***IMPORTANT: Students who have completed more than 2 years of high school French (grades 9-12) will not receive credit for FREN 1010, regardless of the placement score.  They should register for FREN 1050 , FREN 1020, or FREN 2010. 

Why?  French 1010 is for true beginners or students with very little previous exposure to French. It is difficult for beginners to keep up with students who have already had 3 or more years of French in high school and beyond. French 1050 is designed for students who have had more than 2 years of HS French, but who want to start over from the beginning.

Exceptions are possible for students with extenuating circumstances, such as diagnosed learning disability, or a lengthy gap of time (three years or more) between the last time the student took French in high school or at another college before enrolling at UVA . Contact the Language Program Director to request permission to take 1010 if the above circumstances apply to you.

The normal sequence is 1010, 1020, 2010, and 2020.  Once a student has placed into and completed one of these courses, s/he must complete the rest of the courses in the sequence in order to satisfy the language requirement.  Students may not skip courses in the sequence, so it is important to start at the highest appropriate level.  Please note the following:

  • one year of HS French is usually comparable to 1 semester of UVA French
  • French 1050 is designed as a refresher course for students who have had more than 2 years HS French.
  • You may not take two sequence courses simultaneously, and you may not skip courses in the sequence. You must proceed from 1050 to 2010, for example; you may not go from 1050 to 2020 or 2320; you may not fulfill the language requirement with only 1050 and 2320.
  • Students who have taken or tested into 3000-level courses may not take 1000- or 2000-level courses.
  • The college stipulates that all courses taken to fulfill area and competency requirements (such as foreign language) be taken for a grade option.

All courses are taught primarily in French, and emphasis is on the development of all four language skills (listening, reading, speaking, and writing), as well as cultural awareness and understanding.

FREN 2020 or FREN 2320?

If your score places you into either FREN 2020 or 2320, you have the choice between two slightly different upper-intermediate courses, both of which incorporate short films, contemporary media, cultural topics, and literary texts in activities designed to develop students' listening, speaking, reading and writing in French:

  • FREN 2020 is the second half of our intermediate sequence.  It uses the second half of the same textbook used in FREN 2010.  The course focuses on communication using the more complex grammatical forms and vocabulary in the second part of our two-semester intermediate curriculum.  Students can reivew on their own by using the resources in the first half of the text and corresponding online materials.
  • FREN 2320 offers a slightly more comprehensive review of the basics at the intermediate level and is designed for incoming students who place into the upper-intermediate level.  That means there is a little less time to practice any one particular grammatical structure, but the overview is beneficial for students with 4 or 5 years of high school French who need a quick, comprehensive review at the intermediate level before moving on to advanced courses.

Both courses ask students to review rules and forms at home in order to spend as much class time as posible practicing and using grammar and vocabulary lessons in context.  Class time is spent on practice and communicative activities .  2020 includes a little more explanaton and guided practice in class, whereas 2320 assumes students need similar practice, but need a little less help with the grammar review.

Completion of either 2020 and 2320 will satisfy the College foreign language requirement aNd prepare you for more advanced study of French and francophone civilization, literature, film and language, both on Grounds and abroad.

Placement of Transfer Students

Placement of students transferring to UVA from another post-secondary institution is made on the basis of the student’s previous coursework at the former institution. Placement is usually determined by the College and Registrar before the transfer student begins classes at UVA on the basis of a student's record at his/her former institution. Transfer students with placement questions should consult the French Language Program Director.

Note: The College does not grant transfer credits for the language requirement to matriculated students.

Satisfaction of the Language Requirement

The College Language Requirement can be satisfied in any of the following ways:

  • Completion of FREN 2020 or FREN 2320
  • A score of 477 or higher on the UVa F-CAPE Exam
  • A score of 660 or higher on the SAT II Exam
  • A score of 3 or higher on the AP Language Exam

Credit/No-Credit (Pass-Fail) Regulation

Students may not exercise the credit/no-credit grade option if they are taking a course to meet the Language Requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences.  They may exercise this option if they are taking any course in the department as an elective.  A grade of CR (credit) in a 1000 or 2000-level French course requires a final course grade average of C- or better.

Credit for SAT II, AP, and International Baccalaureate Test Scores

  • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Language Exam earns 3 credits (for FREN 3031)
  • A score of 5 or higher on the French A1 or A2 International Baccalaureate Exam earns 3 credits (for FREN 3031)
  • A score of 7 on the French B International Baccalaureate Exam earns 3 credits (for FREN 3031)

For more information on Competency Requirements in the College, see or the College's Foreign Language Requirement FAQ page, .

Placement in 3000-level French courses

Students who have fulfilled the language requirement, but who wish to continue studying French should consult the placement and AP credit chart above and view the descriptions of the advanced, 3000-level courses.



For questions regarding courses in the Required Courses Sequence (FREN 1010 - 2320), contact Karen James, the Language Program Director. For questions regarding courses beyond the Required Courses Sequence (courses above 2320), contact the French Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.