College Language Requirement

The requirements for the bachelor's degree from Harvard include a foreign language requirement. The complete terms of the requirement are given in the Handbook for Students. There are several ways to satisfy the requirement; this page outlines ways in which the classical languages (and modern Greek) may be used to fulfill the language requirement, but the information in the current Handbook for Students should be considered the most accurate and up-to-date.

Standardized tests

Students may satisfy the requirement prior to admission by taking SAT, AP, or IB (Higher Level) exams in Latin. The minimum scores needed are:

  • AP: 5
  • SAT: 700
  • IB (Higher Level): 7

Harvard placement exams

Earning a sufficiently high score on one of the placement exams offered by the Department of the Classics can also fulfill the requirement. Exams are offered in Latin, ancient Greek, and modern Greek. Please see "Placement Test" for details.

Taking the equivalent of a full year of coursework in a single language, at an appropriate level

If the language requirement is not satisfied by examination, then the student must take two courses (or equivalent) at an appropriate level, for a letter-grade. 

    • Jane Radcliffe has studied some ancient Greek. No AP or SAT exams exist, so she takes the Harvard placement exam during Freshman Week. Jane places into Greek Ax (Review and Reading). She takes Greek Ax in the fall and Greek 10 (Introduction to Greek Literature) in the spring to fulfill the requirement.
    • John Harvard has never studied Latin. He only decides to begin in the spring term and enrolls in the Accelerated Introduction to Latin (1x). The following fall, he completes the Accelerated Introductory sequence with Latin 2x to fulfill the requirement.
    • Joanna Charvarnt knows a bit of modern Greek, but not enough to place out of the language requirement. She decides to take the full-year introductory course, Modern Greek A, to fulfill her language requirement.