Placement in French

Bienvenue au Département de Français à l'Université de Virginie

We are glad you will be learning French with us. New students who have studied French before coming to UVA will determine their placement in the appropriate course level at UVA based on one of the diagnostic measures outlined below.

Diagnostics and Scores for Placement:

  • Students who have previously studied French and choose to continue with French at UVA must take the online placement diagnostic (now called PLACE).
  • Students who have taken the AP, SAT II, or Higher Level IB tests in French may use those scores for placement.
    • Students who do not “place out” of the FREN 2020 level with an AP or Higher Level IB score in French, however, must take the online PLACE diagnostic to determine their placement in a 1000 or 2000-level course.
    • If you will not have your AP/SAT II/IB score before you register for classes, you may take the PLACE diagnostic to estimate your placement until your other score is available.
    • If a student has more than one score, we use the highest placement indicated by their scores. 

Beginning May 1, 2022: new online language placement diagnostic (PLACE)

  • The online PLACE diagnostic will be used beginning May 1, 2022, to determine course placement in French of students with previous study of the language.
  • The PLACE diagnostic assesses writing, reading, and speaking skills, as well as contextualized grammar knowledge, and takes about 30-60 minutes to complete.
  • The PLACE diagnostic should be completed at least 10 days in advance of course enrollment. New students should be sure to complete the diagnostic by the date sent to new students in the May welcome letter. Your score will appear in SIS under Academics > Test Scores when it is available.

  • For information on HOW TO COMPLETE the PLACE diagnostic, click here.
  • For information on HOW TO INTERPRET YOUR SCORES, see the chart below.

    Please note:
  • Students who took the earlier UVA French language diagnostic prior to May 1, 2022 (called F-CAPE or WebCAPE), do NOT need to take the new diagnostic. To retrieve your score from the earlier placement test, log in to the previous diagnostic portal (Emmersion). You will be able to reset your password if you have forgotten it. Verify your placement based on your score in the chart below.
  • Students with no previous experience with the language should enroll in 1010 and will not take the diagnostic.

Diagnostic and Placement Chart

Online PLACE
Diagnostic score
F-CAPE / WebCAPE score
(online diagnostic in use prior to May 2022)
AP score
IB score (higher-level exams)
SAT II score
296 or below
440 or below
FREN 1010* – Elementary French I
FREN 1010 is designed for true or near beginners.
*Students with more than 2 years of previous French study in high school may not take FREN 1010 for credit, regardless of diagnostic score.
(Students with PLACE scores below 2 who have had > 2 years of previous French study should enroll in FREN 1050.)
FREN 1020Elementary French II
FREN 1020 is designed for students who have completed FREN 1010 at UVA or who have received equivalent transfer credit.
377 or below
FREN 1050 – Accelerated Elementary French
This course is designed for students with about 3 years of previous French study in high school and incorporates review of all the basics from the beginning.
FREN 2010 – Intermediate French I
French B:
5 or 6
FREN 2020 – Intermediate French II
5.25 and higher
Language score of 3
French B: 7
French A1 or A2: 5 or higher
Satisfaction of the World Language Competency Requirement
Placement into FREN 3031
557 and above
Language score of 4 or 5
French A2 or A2: 7 (Consult with DUP)
750 +
Placement into FREN 3032
(Satisfaction of the World Language Competency Requirement)

Please note these important points about requirements at UVA:

  • It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the College of Arts & Sciences Degree Requirements, the World Language Requirement, and Departmental policies on placement and enrollment.
  • In keeping with the policies of the College of Arts & Sciences for all degree requirements, courses taken to fulfill the World Language Requirement:
    • Must be taken for credit and a letter grade.
    • Must be fulfilled only at UVA or at a UVA-approved study abroad program. (The College will NOT allow courses to transfer from other U.S. colleges/universities to fulfill the World Language Requirement.)


  • If you have questions about your placement in elementary or intermediate-level French (FREN 1010-2020), please contact the Language Program Director, Karen James (
  • Please consult the Director of Undergraduate Programs in French ( with questions about placement at the 3000 level.
  • For more information about the College's World Language Requirement, see this helpful FAQ page,

Important information about your placement (FAQ):

What if I am new to French?

  • Students with no previous experience with French should enroll in FREN 1010 and do not need to take the placement diagnostic.
  • Students starting French with advanced proficiency in another romance language may opt to take FREN 1050 rather than 1010.

What courses do I need to take to satisfy the World Language Competency Requirement in the College?

  • The normal sequence for beginners is FREN 1010 > FREN 1020 > FREN 2010 > FREN 2020.
  • The sequence for students with previous French study who don’t place into the 2000 level is FREN 1050 > FREN 2010 > FREN 2020. (In other words, students who start French at UVA in FREN 1050 will complete the world language competency requirement in three semesters and may then take advanced courses by the 4th semester if they wish.)
  • Students with 4 or more years of French study in high school will often place into the 2000-level courses. Placement beyond the FREN 2020 level satisfies the world language requirement and indicates students are prepared to take courses at the 3000 level.

I took French for 3 years in high school, but I didn’t take French in my senior year. My PLACE diagnostic score indicates placement in French 1010. Should I start over in French?

  • No. Students with more than 2 years of previous French study in high school may not take FREN 1010 for credit, regardless of placement diagnostic score, nor should they, as 1010 is designed for true or near beginners. Students with more than 2 years of French in high school who place into the 1010 level should enroll in 1050, the elementary French course designed for students with your background who need a review from the very beginning.

Can I skip over a course in the sequence to complete the requirement more quickly?  

  • No. Once students have placed into and completed one of these courses, they must complete the rest of the courses in the sequence (through 2020) in order to satisfy the language requirement. 
  • Students may not take two courses in the sequence simultaneously and may not skip courses in the sequence. It is important to start in the right level, so please pay close attention to the information on this page and consult the Language Program Director in French if you have any questions.

May I take a course at a level other than what my PLACE or other diagnostic scores indicate?

  • Students who place into the sequence of courses taken for the world language requirement must select a course at a level which corresponds to their diagnostic score or one level higher than the score indicates. 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 and/or move up to advanced classes and study abroad more quickly.  Selection of a lower-level course than the score indicates, however, is rarely appropriate and may be made only with the written authorization of the Language Program Director.

How do I enroll in a language course once I have my score?

  • Access your placement score in SIS under Academics > Test Scores. (It will be available within 10 days.) Please plan accordingly by taking the diagnostic 10 days before your course registration.
  • Use the French Placement Chart above to identify your appropriate course level. Note: if you have other scores (AP, etc) for this language, use the HIGHER of your scores to determine your placement.
  • Taking the placement diagnostic does not guarantee you a spot in a language course. Space is limited in some sections. If you are unable to secure a space, you can join the waitlist for the relevant course level and section(s) that fit into your schedule.

Do I need to bring printed evidence of my score to class?

  • Students can take a screenshot of their score in SIS under Academics > Test Scores and upload it to Collab > FileDrop or print and bring it to class.

I placed into FREN 3031 with my AP score of 3, but I didn’t take French in my senior year, and I think I’ve forgotten a lot. Can I just take FREN 2010 or 2020 instead?

  • Students who have taken or placed into 3000-level courses may not take 1000- or 2000-level courses for credit without permission of the Director of Undergraduate Programs. (Most students at this level quickly remember what they’ve forgotten once they’re back in a French class, but you can contact us if you do have concerns.)

I placed into FREN 3032 and received credit for FREN 3031 with my AP score of 4 (or 5), but I haven’t taken French for a year (two years), and I think I’ve forgotten a lot. Can I take FREN 3031 instead for review?

  • We have found AP scores of 4 or 5 to be a reliable predictor of student success in 3032. If you have concerns, you may contact the DUP in French. Please be aware, however, that if your circumstances warrant permission to take 3031 instead of 3032, you will give up your AP credits for FREN 3031, since you can’t receive credits twice for the same course.

I’m a transfer student and took French at my previous institution. How do I determine my placement in French at UVA?

  • 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.
  • Transfer students with placement questions should consult the French Language Program Director. 

I took the UVA language diagnostic in French before May 2022. Do I need to take it again?

  • If you completed the UVA world language diagnostic in French prior to May 2022, you do not need to retake the diagnostic. Log in to the previous Diagnostic portal (Emmersion) to access and take a screenshot of or print your score. You will be able to reset your password if you have forgotten it. Determine your placement by consulting the French placement chart above. 

Can I take my language class on a pass/fail (Credit/No credit) grade basis?

  • The College stipulates that all courses taken to fulfill area and competency requirements (such as world language) be taken for a letter grade.

  • If you have satisfied the world language requirement in another language or you are not enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences and are taking French as an elective, you have the option of taking the course for a letter grade or for credit/no-credit. (Be sure to double check with your advisor if you have any questions about those options.) Students who choose the CR/NC option should be aware that a grade of CR (credit) in a 1000 or 2000-level French course requires a final course grade average of C or better.

Can I take elementary or intermediate French at another school over the summer and transfer that credit to UVA?

  • No. The College does not grant transfer credits to matriculated students for courses to satisfy any of the area or competency requirements, including the world language competency requirement. The exception is credit for courses taken in approved study abroad programs at institutions in countries where the language is spoken.

I did poorly in my French class but did pass with a D. What should I do?

  • In order to proceed to the next class in the sequence, students must have completed the previous class with a final course grade of C or better. This rule exists to ensure students enter the new class with a reasonable chance to succeed and that all students are adequately prepared to contribute positively to the collaborative learning process at the appropriate level.
  • If you earn a grade of C- or lower in your FREN class at the 1000 or 2000 level, please contact the Language Program Director to discuss your plan for the necessary review and remedial work before taking the next course. In order to have permission to enroll in the next course level, you will need to present documentation to the Language Program Director before the start of the next term of the work you have completed in the intervening time since the last class and evidence of the necessary progress. This may be in the form of a transcript and work completed in a relevant course taken for review over the summer at a local community college, evidence of review work completed in a course you have audited, work completed with a tutor over the break, etc.  

I’ve placed out of FREN 2020 and satisfied the language requirement. What should I do now?

  • A score beyond the level of the required course sequence on the PLACE language diagnostic will be reported to the A&S Registrar by the end of the semester. No action is needed on the part of the student to report the score.
  • Students who satisfy the world language competency requirement in the College by completion of FREN 2020 or equivalent diagnostic scores as noted above are strongly urged to continue their study of the language and to consider making study and/or an internship abroad part of their UVA experience. Descriptions of our 3000 and 4000-level FREN courses are available on our website. Please contact the DUP in French for more information.

Satisfaction of the World Language Requirement

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

  • Completion of FREN 2020 (or FREN 2320) at UVA
  • A score of 5.25 or higher on the PLACE diagnostic
  • A score of 477 or higher on the F-CAPE (WebCAPE) online diagnostic in use prior to 5/1/22
  • A score of 3 or higher on the AP Language Exam
  • A score of 660 or higher on the SAT II Exam
  • Higher Level IB scores, as follows:
    • Score of 5 or higher on French A1 or A2; Score of 7 on French B.

UVA CREDITS for AP and Higher-Level International Baccalaureate Test Scores

  • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP French Language Exam earns 3 credits for FREN 3031 (with placement into FREN 3032).
  • Credits for Higher Level IB scores, as follows:
    • A score of 5 or 6 on the French B exam earns 3 credits for FREN 2010 (with placement into FREN 2020.
    • A score of 7 on the French B exam likewise earns 6 credits for FREN 2010 and 2020 (with placement into 3031).
    • A score of 5 or higher on the French A1 or A2 exam earns 6 credits for FREN 2010 and 2020 (with placement into FREN 3031).


  • Please contact the Language Program Director in French, Karen James (, if you have any questions about your placement.
  • For questions about courses and placement at the 3000 and 4000 levels, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Programs in French (