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Placement Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in taking a French or Italian language course, but I do not know which level is appropriate for me. What should I do?

If you would like to register for a French course but are unsure of which French course or level you should select, we recommend that you complete the self-assessment to guide you in selecting the appropriate course. The self-assessment takes about 10 minutes to complete and will guide you through the process of selecting a French-language course based on your past experience and can-do statements. Once you have completed it, you may simply sign up for a recommended course. If you are meeting with an advisor in the Advising Center for enrollment, you should complete the self-assessment before your appointment and bring the course number for which you will register to the advisement meeting. 

Should you have questions after doing the self-assessment, please contact the French Language Program Coordinator Prof. Brett Wells (

The Italian Program has an online placement assessment which can be accessed here. More information is available in the placement assessment. 

Please contact the Italian Language Program Coordinator, Lorraine Denman (, with any placement questions you may have.

I placed into French 0103 (Intermediate French I), but I am worried that the course might be difficult, so I am thinking of going back to French 0101 just to solidify my knowledge of French. Is this a good idea?

No. While some students choose to do this every year, we do not recommend this for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, you will not be engaged in a learning environment where you are surrounded by beginning-level learners who have no knowledge of the language. Typically students in the situation of repeating the elementary-level courses instead of placing into the appropriate, more advanced class tend to be absent more often and less interested in the course material. Everyone in more advanced classes is reviewing material to some extent : Perfect mastery of previously-learned material is not expected, but a willingness to work on continued accuracy is!

I have recently received my final grade for a language course in French or Italian, but I am certain that some error has occurred. What should I do?

Contact your instructor if possible. If you are unable to contact him or her (please allow a few days during holidays since not all instructors have internet access and some may be out of the country), you should contact the Language Coordinator for French 0101–0104 or Italian 0101–0103 courses.

I want to get into a language class, but that particular section is full. What should I do?

For French 0101-0104 or Italian 0101-0103 courses, please contact the Language Program Coordinators (Brett Wells for French, Lorraine Denman for Italian) regarding permissions. For all other undergraduate classes, you should contact the Directors of Undergraduate Studies in the respective program (James Coleman for Italian, Brett Wells for French) within the Department of French and Italian, who will assist you in contacting the appropriate person for securing a permission number.

I am a graduate student at Pitt in a different department, and I want to informally audit an undergraduate language class. Is it OK if I ask the instructor’s permission to do so before the semester begins?

No. You cannot obtain permission to sit in on a class informally before the semester begins. You can, however, audit as a registered student by obtaining the Audit Option Form, having it signed by your instructor, and returning it to 140 Thackeray Hall.

I am not a degree-seeking student, but I would like to officially register for a credited course in the Department of French and Italian. How should I do this?

You should contact the College of General Studies. Information on Credit Courses can be found through the College of General Studies.

How much does it cost to register for a course in the Department of French and Italian?

This information can be found on the University of Pittsburgh Tuition and Fees website.

I have just gone to my classroom for a language class, but no one is there. Where could they be?

Unless the class has been officially cancelled due to extenuating circumstances or bad weather, it is possible that your class is either at the Language Media Center (CL G-17) or, in the case of face-to-face oral exams, your instructor may be found in CL 1317, in the French TA/TF Office (CL 1333), or in the Italian TA Office (also in CL 1317).

Can I call the Department of French and Italian for my language instructor’s home phone number?

Unless the instructor has provided you with his or her phone number, we are sorry that we cannot provide this information to you.

Do you offer distance learning courses in French and Italian?

We do not offer distance learning courses in French and Italian at this time.

I am a student at a different Pittsburgh university or college. How do I cross-register for a course in your department?

You should contact your advisor at your own institution. Should the course section that you are interested in be closed, contact the course instructor (or in the case of French and Italian 0001-0004, the Language Program Coordinator) to secure a Special Permission to enter a closed section. However, if enrollments are already above capacity, it may not be possible to secure such permission.

Does the Department of French and Italian offer non-credit courses?

No we do not. However, you are able to go through the College of General Studies or through the Alliance Française as possible options for informal study of French or Italian. You can view information on Continuing Education through the College of General Studies.  The Alliance Française can be contacted at The phone number is 412-624-6259.

I am a student in the Center for Lifetime Learning. How do I register for a course in the Department of French and Italian?

You will need to obtain paperwork from the Center for Lifetime Learning and have the course instructor sign it to indicate that you have received permission to attend his or her course. However, it is important to note that it is best to wait until just before the semester begins when course assignments have been finalized.