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Placement in Spanish courses

Submitted by nnreimer on Thu, 12/01/2016 - 5:35pm

Not sure what level of Spanish is appropriate for you?

We want to ensure you are placed in a course appropriate to your level of ability. Native speakers or any students who are unsure of their level of competency are invited to browse the information below to learn more about placement in Spanish.

Written placement test deadlines *

  • Fall 2017: Wednesday, September 20

  • Winter 2018:  Wednesday, January 17

* Note

  • You do not have to wait until the deadlines to submit your placement test.

  • Placement tests submitted after the deadlines will incur a $25 late marking fee.

  • The School can refuse a student permission to remain in a particular language course if the instructor deems that the student's knowledge exceeds the level of that course. Students are advised that misrepresenting their level of knowledge in the language of the course constitutes academic dishonesty or misconduct.

Placement information and instructions

Please read this information carefully to avoid delays in appropriate placement.

High-school students from Alberta

Recent graduates from Spanish courses in high schools in Alberta are placed automatically by the Office of the Registrar.

If you have successfully completed You will normally be admitted to
Spanish 20 Spanish 201
Spanish 30 Spanish 203
IB Spanish 30 with a grade of "5" or above

Advanced credit equivalent to SPAN 201 and 203 (Official IB transcripts are required as part of the evaluation process).

SPAN 301 and/or 321.

AP course Spanish Literature and Culture Credit for SPAN 321

Students who present approved courses in Advanced Placement (AP) examinations will automatically receive credit for coursework completed with grades of 4 or higher.

Students from other provinces

Students from other provinces who have done high school Spanish should consult the Undergraduate advisor for appropriate placement. If it is difficult to accurately assess the equivalency, a placement test may be required.

Non-academically acquired Spanish

Students whose background is different from those indicated above and who have previous knowledge of Spanish should take a placement test.

Placement test instructions

You will need a University of Calgary username and password (UCID) to access the placement exams.

Don't have a UCID?
  • Please contact our main office (403-220-5300 or slllc@ucalgary.ca).
  • You will be provided with a temporary username and password which will enable you to log in and take the Placement Exam.
Already have a UCID?
  • Log in to the My UofC portal and click on Desire2Learn, under “Quick links” or go directly to http://d2l.ucalgary.ca/login and log in.
  • Click on My tools (red band at the top of the page). On the drop down menu, click on Self registration.
  • Under Course Offering Name, choose Spanish Placement Exams. Click on Register.
  • Fill out the registration form and Submit. (You can make the space to write your background in Spanish bigger by dragging the arrow at the bottom right of the square to the right).
  • Click on Finish
  • Click on Go to course offering Spanish Placement Exams. This will take you to the D2L Home Page of the Spanish Placement Exams.
  • Go to Assessments (red band at the top of the page) and click on Quizzes.
  • Select the exam you have chosen to take. Read the instructions on the page then go to the end and click on Start Quiz.
  • Finish and submit your exam. You will receive your grade immediately.

Exam Results

  • If your mark is 70% or over, please contact the Undergraduate Advisor for Spanish (spanadvs@ucalgary.ca) to obtain permission to register in the course. Please include your full name and your U of C ID number and specify the placement test you have submitted: for Span 203, 301 or 303. The advisor will let you know by email when the permission to register in the course has been posted.
  • If your grade is between 60% and 70%, please meet with the Undergraduate Advisor.
  • Permission to register will not be granted if your score is below 60%.

Placement test overview

Spanish 203

This course is intended for students who have had some exposure to Spanish and who can converse on a limited range of topics. Some possible reasons for the level of Spanish may include:

  • Hispanophone parent
  • short stay (less than three months) in a Spanish-speaking country
  • non-credit courses in Spanish through Continuing Education (Level 3 or higher)
  • other program


Spanish 301 and 321

This level is intended for students who have had some exposure to Spanish, who feel comfortable in basic conversation, who can read a variety of texts with few problems and who can write with a reasonable degree of grammatical accuracy. Some possible reasons for the level of Spanish may include:

  • Hispanophone parent, some Spanish spoken at home
  • extended stay (three months or more) in a Spanish-speaking country
  • non-credit courses in Spanish through Continuing Education (Level 6 or higher)
  •  other program


Spanish 303 and 323

This level is intended for students who have had extensive exposure to Spanish. In addition to feeling comfortable in conversations on a wide range of topics, they can read a variety of texts without use of a dictionary and are capable of writing accurately in an academic context. Some possible reasons for the level of Spanish may include:

  • Hispanophone parent, Spanish main language spoken at home
  • extended stay (three months or more) in a Spanish-speaking country
  • some formal education in a school in a Spanish-speaking country

Credit by Special Assessment

Credit by Special Assessment (CSA), means that students may obtain credit for a given course by examination only. Students wishing to consider taking a course by CSA should first of all consult with the Spanish Undergraduate Advisor.

CSA is generally limited to language courses. The School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures has ruled that "applications will normally be limited to students wishing to resolve problems of transfers of credit." That is, in instances where students are not granted credit by the Registrar's Office for courses taken elsewhere, they may consult with the School regarding eligibility for CSA.

Courses taken at institutions which do not have official university status often fall into this category. However, students must have documentation (records of attendance, certificates of courses completed, etc.) from the institute in question in order that a request for CSA be considered.

If granted, students will complete the form "Permission to Take Courses by Special Assessment" which is available from the Registrar's Office and have it signed by the School Director or designate. Deadlines and fees are the same as for registration in regular courses.

CSA students write the same final examination as regular students registered in the course. This examination is scheduled by the Registrar. In certain courses, students may also be required to take an oral examination. Students seeking credit in this manner should also consult regulations regarding CSA which are found in The University of Calgary Calendar.

Native speakers or those with advanced knowledge of the language are not eligible to take language courses by special assessment or to receive advanced credit for them.