World Languages and Literatures

315 Fariborz Maseeh Hall (FMH)

  • B.A.—Concentration in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish
  • Minor—Concentration in American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Spanish, or Turkish
  • Minor in Classical Studies
  • Certificate in Intercultural Competence for the Workplace
  • Certificate in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language
  • Certificate of Advanced Proficiency in Russian
  • Certificate in World Language Pedagogy
  • Secondary Education Program
  • M.A.—World Languages and Literatures: primary languages––German, Spanish; secondary languages— Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish (Please note, the MA in French has been suspended effective fall 2020, and no applications are being accepted at this time.)

Foreign Language Requirement

At Portland State University, all incoming students who graduate from an Oregon high school in 1997 or later must demonstrate proficiency in a second language as an admission requirement. And most BA or MA programs require students to achieve proficiency in a foreign language as a degree requirement.  Students may satisfy the foreign language requirements by taking courses offered through the Department of World Languages and Literatures, or as an alternative, by passing a language test.  Testing for language requirement equivalence is only available for languages listed on the WLL website.  If your language does not appear in the testing list, you must satisfy the language requirement through transcripted university or community college coursework.  If you have questions about any foreign language requirement, go to

Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) may be granted for first-year and second-year language sequences only. A student may be awarded credit by taking an exam through CPL for a maximum of one language sequence (12-15 credits). CPL is available only for those languages taught by the department. Credit received by examination is graded P/NP only.  

Students of French, German, or Spanish may receive credit for first- or second-year by taking a CLEP exam (administered by Testing Services). The amount of credit awarded will depend on the score received. Students of American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Modern Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norwegian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, or Vietnamese should contact the department for individual testing.

Native speakers (defined as students whose formal secondary education was completed in the foreign language) may not receive credit by examination for their native language.