Course Options

NOTE: If you did 3 years at a foreign-language high school, click HERE.

Which CSUSM Courses meet the LOTER?
Which CSUSM Course do I enroll in?
How did my high school classes prepare me?
Which Non-CSUSM Courses meet the LOTER?
What do I need to do to get my documents processed?

1. Which CSUSM courses meet the LOTER?

  • Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, & MLAN 
  • 201, 210 or higher (except Spanish 205, 398, 399, and maybe 395)
  • Includes cross-listed classes, for example SPAN 421/TA 421
  • Winter Intersession Spanish 201 (through Extended Learning)
  • Spanish 201C "Intermediate Spanish for the Medical Field" (often offered online)
  • SPAN 250: Spanish for Native Speakers (in just one semester!)
  • Spanish-language study abroad with CSUSM in Summer, if placed into 201
  • Spanish-language study abroad with CSUSM in Winter Intersession, if placed into 201
  • Study Abroad for the semester of year! Contact the Office of Global Education
  • List of courses that meet the LOTER (at many schools)
  • Note: Online RN to BSN students cannot take any CSUSM classes to meet the LOTER. Check out Rio Salado Community College for a great online program with 8 and 14 week options.
  • If you are still not sure what to do, contact the LOTER Advisor.

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2. Which CSUSM course do I enroll in?
How did my high school classes prepare me?

(Note: If you are taking classes not at CSUSM, see your specific college for course numbers. The same sequence of three semesters will apply.)

  • See grid below.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES: If it has been more than 2 years since you took a language IN HIGH SCHOOL, you will be required to start at the beginning (101) OR - for Spanish - take the Spanish Placement Test. 
  • If it's been more than 2 years since you took a language in college/university, you may continue with the next class in the series. However, we HIGHLY recommend taking the Spanish Placement Test INSTEAD of guessing where you belong.
  • No high school class meets LOTER, but they DO meet the prerequisites to take classes that do meet the LOTER if it's been no more than 2 years (5 semesters total) since your last class.
  • Meet with your academic advisor before registering for classes.
  • College courses taken in high school can meet the LOTER ONLY if you did not use course for high-school units and/or diploma. If you did use it for high school, then we suggest taking the Proficiency Exam.
  • A general guide is that 1 year in high school equals a semester in college.
  • Guidlines on how to pick your course:
If you... Choose one...
want to learn a new language 101
speak Spanish at home and would like to learn written grammar SPAN 250 “Spanish for Native Speakers”

passed with a C or higher the 1st semester class at another college

102 (if you are very confident in your skills) 
or
Placement Exam (if you aren't sure where you fall)
or
Free Spanish 101 Review (if your class was over 2 years ago)

passed with a C or higher the 2nd semester at another college

201 (if you are very confident in your skills; meets LOTER) 
or
Placement Exam (if you aren't sure where you fall)
or
Free Spanish 101 Review (if your class was over 2 years ago)

passed with a C or higher the 3rd semester class at another college

202 (if you are confident in your skills; meets LOTER)
or 
Proficiency Exam (meets LOTER if passed) 
or
Placement Exam (if you aren't sure where you fall)

took 1-4 years in high school, more than 2 years ago 101
or
Placement Exam (to try to place into a higher class than 101)
or
Free Spanish 101 Review followed by Placement Exam
passed the 1st year of language in high school, less than 2 years ago 

102 (for new material)
or
101 (for review) 

passed the 2nd year of language in high school, less than 2 years ago 201 (for new material; meets LOTER) 
or
102 (for review)
passed the 3rd year of language in high school, less than 2 years ago

202 (for new material; meets LOTER. Note: French does not offer 202; go right to 311.) 
or
201 (for review; meets LOTER) 
or
Proficiency Exam (meets LOTER if passed)                               

passed the 4th year of language in high school, less than 2 years ago 300-level classes (for new material; meets LOTER; starts major/minor)
or 
202 (for review; meets LOTER. Note: French does not offer 202; go right to 311.)
or 
Proficiency Exam (meets LOTER if passed) 
took a Language AP Exam See "Advanced Placement (AP) Foreign Language Examination."

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3. Which NON-CSUSM meet the LOTER?

  • List of courses that meet the LOTER (at nearby schools)
  • Almost any language – including American Sign Language 
  • At least 3rd semester, intermediate course equal to or above CSUSM 201. (Note: Luiseno or Cupeno at Palomar must be 4th semester courses.)
  • At least 4th quarter, intermediate course of at least 4 units and equal to or above CSUSM 201.
  • Grade of “C”, “Credit”, or “Pass”. (Note: Courses taken elsewhere for Credit/No Credit can also meet Area C3. Courses taken at CSUSM must be taken for a grade in order to also meet Area C3.)
  • Courses do NOT meet it, if the name includes "conversation" or "listening" or "writing" or "reading"; if an ASL course name includes "fingerspelling" or "deaf culture"; or if it is less than 3 units; a language without written grammar rules (such as a a patois or computer).
  • From any regionally-accredited college or university – including study-abroad or online!
  • Study Abroad! Contact Office of Global Education. (Note: Study-abroad programs offered by other schools must be no shorter than 4 weeks and meet at least 4 hours/day, for a total of 20 hours/week and 80 hours total. Programs not already approved by Global Education are considered, but will need special approval.)
  • Spanish in Spain with CSUSM in Summer is equal to 101 & 102 combined OR 201. 
  • As of Fall 2010, online courses meet the LOTER.
  • One local choice is Spanish 201 online as part of the Accelerated Spanish path offered at CSUSM's Extended Learning.
  • Rio Salado Community College, which offers MANY languages - including ASL - for roughly $200/unit and has either an 8-week or 14-week option. No courses with title "Elementary" - unless it is in the list of approved courses or has been approved by the LOTER Advisor.
  • College courses taken in high school can meet the LOTER ONLY if you did not use course for high-school units and/or diploma. If you did use it for high school, then we suggest taking the Proficiency Exam.
  • Courses that earn credit through an exam process.  Normally in these cases the transcript will list the actual course with units and grade and then have the notation that it was earned through "Credit by exam".
  • SOME language insitutes MAY meet the requirement. Contact the LOTER Advisor for more information.

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4. What do I need to do to get documents processed?

  • If you took the course at CSUSM, nothing!
  • If your non-CSUSM transcript was part of your admissions packet to CSUSM, then Admissions checked the LOTER as MET.
  • If your non-CSUSM transcript was NOT part of your admissions packet, then have the university send an official transcript *and official translation, if needed*, directly to:
    Office of Admissions and Recruitment
    California State University San Marcos
    333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd.
    San Marcos, California 92096
  • If your non-CSUSM transcript has been sent and the LOTER is not yet checked as MET, please contact your primary academic advisor.
  • If you want to go or have gone to a 'language institute', speak to the LOTER Advisor.

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Completion of at least three years full-time at a high school or university where English was not the principal language of instruction

NOTE: This is NOT the same as having taken 3 years of a language. This means everything was in a language other than English: science, literature, gym, etc.

If your foreign-language high-school or college transcript was part of your admissions packet to CSUSM, Admissions noted in your student record that you fulfilled the requirement.

If this information was not given to CSUSM when you applied, send an original transcript and an official, certified translation to a certifying translation agency. The fee for translation by those companies runs about $150; the company will then send the original document and the official translation directly to the address you provide them (listed below). Unofficial photocopies or faxes are not accepted. Note that it might be easier, cheaper and faster to sit for the Proficiency Exam instead.
Office of Admissions & Recruitment
California State University San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096

If you attended high school in a country where official transcripts are not available, please contact the LOTER Advisor.

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