Waiver of the Foreign Language Requirement

Students pursuing a BA in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences must demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language. The web page Foreign Language Requirement explains how students can fulfill this requirement through coursework at Mason.

However, students who can demonstrate an intermediate level of proficiency through means other than completing coursework can apply for a foreign language waiver. Additional information regarding the policies and procedures for these requests can be found below. 

Requesting a Foreign Language Waiver Through Documentation

  1. Review all policies pertaining to the Waiver of Foreign Language Requirement.
  2. Fill out the Foreign Language Waiver Request Form.
  3. Submit the request form to the Undergraduate Academic Affairs office along with translated academic transcripts.

If you are granted the waiver, you will be contacted and your degree audit in Patriot Web will show that the requirement has been waived.

Foreign Language Waiver Policies

Students may be eligible for a waiver of the foreign language requirement if they can demonstrate language proficiency through documentation of previous language experience. Students who are granted a waiver do not receive credit.

  • Students will automatically receive a waiver of the foreign language requirement if they:
    • Provide qualifying scores on the Advanced Placement Exam, the International Baccalaureate, the SAT Subject Test, or others, submitted with the application to Mason. See the web page Academic Credit by Exam for details. Students cannot take these exams for credit once they have matriculated at George Mason University.
    • Place into a 300-level class on the placement exam administered by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages
    • Demonstrate intermediate proficiency in American Sign Language by receiving a score of intermediate level or higher on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview: American Sign Language offered by the Division of Special Education
  • Students who can document proficiency in the following ways may request a waiver of the requirement by submitting the Foreign Language Waiver Request Form to the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs along with the required official supporting documentation.
    • A qualifying TOEFL score submitted with their application to Mason. No other documentation is required.
    • Attendance at a high school (or equivalent institution) in which the language of instruction is not English. Students must have attended the institution for at least four years or have graduated. An official transcript showing dates of attendance and/or degrees received is required.
    • Certification of language proficiency from another accredited institution. An official transcript showing the certification and any additional information available about the testing or credit awarded by the other institution is required.
  • Students who have studied or are proficient in languages not taught at Mason and cannot obtain the documentation required above may request a waiver of the foreign language requirement based on assessment by a qualified professional.
    • The student is responsible for locating an acceptable authority in the relevant language who is willing to administer an exam. An authority is someone who is affiliated with an accredited institution or embassy and who is familiar with language-level designations at U.S. universities.  Often these are instructors at another institution who teach the language.
    • Certification of language proficiency through a test certified by the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Official test results in a sealed envelope are required.
    • The student must provide the examiner with a Modern and Classical Languages Foreign Language Waiver Form.
    • Following the proficiency assessment, the examiner should return to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages these two completed forms along with a detailed description of the examination (on institution or embassy letterhead) and any written work completed by the student as part of the examination.
      • It is recommended that students provide a stamped envelope for the examiner addressed to: Department of Modern and Classical Languages 4400 University Drive, MS 3E5 Fairfax, VA 22030.
      • Alternatively, the examiner may give the forms directly to the student in a sealed envelope that has been signed by the examiner across the seal. The student must deliver the evaluation forms to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages in the sealed envelope.

Students have the right to appeal denial of a request. Information on submitting an appeal can be found at the bottom of the page