Foreign Language

Foreign languages represent a traditional part of the liberal arts curriculum and one that is increasingly important in the interdependent global community of the 21st century. Knowledge of one or more foreign languages is a valuable asset for students considering graduate school or seeking employment in the international field.

The Department of Foreign Languages in The New School for Public Engagement offers courses in more than 14 languages open to all full-time and part-time students at the university. Designed to meet the needs of Lang degree students, courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Spanish are offered during the day. Lang students interested in studying American Sign Language, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Tibetan, Turkish, and Yiddish can take evening courses offered through the continuing education program of NSPE.

Undergraduate students from any college in the university can select a minor from among Lang’s offerings. Similarly, Lang students who are not majoring in Liberal Arts can select a minor from those offered within other divisions, provided they meet the prerequisites and related requirements. The following minors may be taken through The New School for Public Engagement: Chinese Studies, French Studies, Hispanic Studies, or Japanese Studies.

Placement at the appropriate level:

  • Students who have studied a language in high school or college can place themselves in the appropriate level by using the following formula: one year of high school foreign language equals one semester of foreign language study (i.e., one 4-credit course) at the college level. For example, a student who has completed four years of high school Spanish could enroll in Intermediate 2 or Advanced I, depending on previous instruction.
  • Students with a score of 4 on an Advanced Placement test in a foreign language should enroll in Advanced Level 1. Students with a 5 on an Advanced Placement test in a foreign language should enroll in either Advanced Level 1 or Advanced Level 2.
  • Students with questions or with reason to believe that this formula does not accurately measure their knowledge of a foreign language (e.g., it has been several years since they last studied the language) should either call (212.229.5676) or email ( the department office to set up an appointment to discuss alternative placement.