CSUN  Wordmark
Page Description

The following page is a three column layout with a header that contains a quicklinks jump menu and the search CSUN function. Page sections are identified with headers. The footer contains update, contact and emergency information.

Department of Modern and Classical Languages Banner







Revised March 2007


    1. Criteria Used for Placement of Students in Lower-Division Foreign Language Classes
    2. Advanced Placement
    3. Challenging a Class
    4. Individual Study
    5. Independent Study
    6. Concurrent Enrollment
    7. Loss of Right to Attend Class/Administrative Withdrawals
    1. Written Syllabi for all undergraduate courses.
    2. Student Absenteeism
    3. Language Lab Attendance
    4. Course Evaluation Procedures
    5. Policy on Plus/Minus Grading
    6. Student Dishonesty
    7. Period for Filing Changes of Program
    8. Guidelines for Approving or Denying Requests for Late Drops or Change of Status
    1. Office Hours
    2. Length of Instructional Period
    3. Evaluation of Student Performance


  1. Criteria Used for Placement of Students in Lower-Division Foreign Language Classes:
    1. Students entering from community colleges or other universities and continuing in the same language. Most community college courses have specific CSUN equivalencies. Articulation agreements for each community college are available in Sierra Tower 403. Generally, their 3rd semester equals our 201 (220A), and their 4th semester our 202, 204, 208 (or 220B). Unless there is significant time gap, or if preparation is especially weak, transfer students should be placed in the next higher CSUN course.
    2. Placement Recommendations for students entering from the high schools and continuing in the same language are as follows:
    Years of HS Foreign Language Placement at CSUN:
    More than 2 200 or 201 or 202
    or 204 or 208
    Spanish 210B or 220A
    or 220B

    2 Intermediate level courses
    Spanish 210A or 210B
    1 - 1 1/2 102
    Spanish 104
    0 - 1/2First semester courses

    French or Spanish students who are not sure where they should be placed should be encouraged to take the F-CAPE (French) or the S-CAPE (Spanish) in the Barbara Ann Ward Language Center (Jerome Richfield Hall 316).

  1. Advanced Placement:

    See page 551 of the 2006-2008 CSUN catalog for explanation of credit allowances and equivalencies.

    Please check your elementary and intermediate classes at the very beginning of the semester to see if you have any students who have already received credit for the class.

  2. Challenging a Class:

    If a student approaches you about the possibility of challenging a class, please bring the following restrictions to his/her attention. These restrictions are now part of the appropriate course description in the Catalog.

    1. Classes numbered 101, 101A, 102, 103, 104, 190, 200, 210A, 210B and 300 may not be challenged by any student.
    2. Classes numbered 201, 202, 204, 208, 220A and 220B may not be challenged by students whose principal schooling has been in the language.

    If the student is eligible to challenge the class, please make sure that the procedures outlined in the current Catalog are followed. In resume, these are:

    1. The student must complete the enrollment during the first three weeks.
    2. During the first three (-3-) weeks of class, the student is able to add by obtaining a permission number from the Instructor and is able to ADD / DROP via SOLAR.
    3. During the fourth week of class, 4th Week Change-of-Schedule Petitions must be filled out and signed by the Instructor and the Department Chair.
    4. Any change of schedule in subsequent weeks (Weeks 5-15), due to "serious and compelling reasons", must be done by petition to the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
  1. Individual Study:

    Individual Study courses may be taken only in substitution for approved courses which are not available during the semester of enrollment and which will probably not be offered before the student graduates. Enrollment in Individual Study is by permission of the Department Chair and consent of the Instructor to act as sponsor. Part-time instructors are not normally allowed to act as sponsors. Please refer to page 65 in the 2006-2008 CSUN Catalog for further information.

    Enrollment in Individual Study courses must be completed during the first three weeks of instruction. After the third week, enrollment will not be permitted. Students wishing to enroll in a course by Individual Study must follow the procedures listed below:

    1. Find an instructor who is willing to sponsor enrollment.
    2. During the first three weeks of instruction, obtain an Individual-Studies Contract from the Departmental Office, ST 405. When completed and signed, a permission number will be generated and registration can take place on SOLAR.
  1. Independent Study:

    Independent Study is only appropriate for a very small percentage of advanced senior students capable of working independently on a special project. It should be rarely used in our Department, as it is likely to take enrollment away from already low-enrolled upper-division classes.

    There has been some confusion the last few years about the use of 499's in the major. The maximum number of units of credit in 499 courses that may be counted toward the baccalaureate degree is six units in a major and three additional units outside the major. Please refer to page 65 in the 2006-2008 CSUN Catalog for further information.

    Enrollment in Independent Study courses must be completed during the first three weeks of instruction. After the third week, enrollment will not be permitted. Sutdents wishing to enroll in a course by Independent Study must follow the procedures listed below:

    1. Find an instructor who is willing to sponsor enrollment.
    2. During the first three weeks of instruction, obtain an Individual-Studies Contract from the Departmental Office, ST 405. When completed and signed, a permission number will be generated and registration can take place on SOLAR.
  2. Open University

    Students who are not regularly enrolled may request to add your class by Open University (Extension).

  3. Loss of Right to Attend Class / Administrative Withdrawals

    According to the 2006-2008 CSUN Catalog (page 528), "A student who is absent from the first two class meetings loses the right to remain on the class roll, UNLESS the Instructor is notified that the absence is temporary. The student who has lost the right to remain in the class must formally withdraw from the class, following University procedures and deadlines;

    1. Completion of prior coursework.
    2. Passing of qualifying examinations.
    3. Class year standing.
    4. Admission to, or special requirements of, special programs, such as Honors or Credentials.
    5. Completion of prior coursework with a required minimum credit.
    6. Consent of the Instructor.

      Such an Administrative Withdrawal may be initiated only by the Associate Dean of the College, upon recommendation of the Instructor."


  1. Written Syllabi for All Undergraduate Courses.

    To better inform students about the requirements, content, and methodology of the University's undergraduate curricula, all faculty teaching undergraduate courses will distribute a written syllabus to each student in the course and/or post it on-line no later than the second week of classes.

    The syllabus should contain the following information:

    1. Course objective(s).
    2. A brief list or summary of topics or projects covered
    3. Course requirements and methods of evaluation.
    4. Grading criteria, including whether or not the plus/minus system will be used.
    5. Contact information (Instructor's name, office hours, office location, and campus phone number).
    6. For a General Education course, the syllabus should describe how it meets the General Education section in which it resides.

    Please forward an electronic copy of your syllabus to the Departmental Office each semester.

  1. Student Absenteeism.

    Please include the following policy statement in your Syllabus, and read it in all classes:

    "At the discretion of the professor, a student's grade may be lowered one letter grade (A to B, B to C, etc.) for unexcused absences. This lowering can take place in a one-unit course after one unexcused absence, in a three-unit course after three, and in a four-unit course after four unexcused absences. Further lowering of the grade may be justified by using this scale for subsequent absences."

    PLEASE NOTE: This policy is not a University policy. If your syllabus contains such a reference, please delete it.

    This policy is based on the following assumptions:

    1. Contrary to the erroneous notion often held by students that the grade earned in a course is determined solely by scores on examinations, tests and quizzes, etc., the Department considers that class attendance is an important component of a course and plays an important role in learning.
    2. Students who attend regularly not only benefit from classroom instruction but also contribute to the learning experience of their peers through their contributions to the total classroom experience.
    3. Students who feel they are not challenged by classroom instruction and believe they can pass a course simply by taking the examinations given in that course, clearly do not belong in that course and should request transfer to a more appropriate one at a higher level.
  1. Language Lab (Barbara Ann Ward Language Center) Attendance
    1. Attendance in the Language Lab (JR 316) is considered very important and is required in all first-year language classes. This is, of course, in addition to regular class hours. Attendance may also be required in some second-year classes.
    2. Students' attendance will be verified by instructors. Because of the relative ease with which lab attendance records may be falsified, instructors should arrange to test on a regular basis the specific content of materials made available for lab use.
    3. There is no fixed amount of time that students should spend in the Lab. However, as tape/CD/DVD materials typically run 40-50 minutes per lesson, you may wish to consider having your students spend approximately an hour per week there. This will depend on individual needs. Additionally, for courses requiring specific media use, a class roster will be available in the BAWLC for students' check in and check out times.
    4. If resources permit, the Language Resources Center will duplicate lab materials for students unable to use the lab facilities during the hours it is open. Please check each semester on the availability and terms of this service.
  1. Course Evaluation Procedures
    • Please be sure to inform your students in advance of your evaluation procedures. Let them know (in writing), how much (approximately) you count for quizzes, midterm, final, term papers, homework and class participation. Explain what class participation means, that it is more than just sitting in class.
    • Please be sure you do not expect more from students whose families might be speaking the language at home. If they are in your 101 or 102, they need not perform any better than any other student in the class to receive an A or a B. Please be scrupulously fair and impartial!
    • If you give more weight to midterm and final (that is what is generally done), be sure your midterm and final are, indeed, cumulative and not merely slightly longer quizzes. Take-home exams are hardly acceptable for lower-division classes, unless they are given in addition to a sufficient number of exams given in class.
  1. Policy on Plus/Minus Grading

    Instructors may use either the "old" A,B,C,D,F grading system or the "new" A,A-,B+,B,B-,C+,C,C-,D+,D,D-,F system. Students must be informed at the beginning of the semester which system you will be using.

  2. Policy Statement on Student Dishonesty

    Students should be made aware that cheating in any form will not be tolerated and that ignorance of University policies is not to be used as a defense. The Academic Council has recommended that your syllabi include a general statement to this effect, and that your introductory remarks each semester include a discussion of the "Academic Dishonesty" sections of the current catalog (pages 536-538 of the 2006-2008 CSUN Catalog) and in the current printed version of the Schedule of Classes.

  3. Period for Filing Changes of Program

    All changes (drops, adds, and change-of-status) during the first three (-3-) weeks must be done via SOLAR. Fourth and fifth week changes need to be done on week-specific forms which can be found by the student at http://www.csun.edu/a&r/forms/

  4. Guidelines for Approving or Denying Requests for Late Drops or Change of Status

    As indicated in the Schedule of Classes each semester, changes of any kind are normally not permitted after the third week of classes. However, the University does allow students to drop or change status after the third week, if they can support their request with compelling reasons deemed acceptable by the University. If a student requests such a drop or change, please refer him/her to the printed Schedule of Classes, or to page 527 of the 2006-2008 CSUN Catalog for a list of acceptable and unacceptable reasons. Where documentation is required, please do not sign without having seen it. The Chair will want to see the letter from the doctor or employer when the student comes for her signature.

    Unacceptable reasons

    1. Student choose to work more hours.
    2. Student has encountered a situation which should have been anticipated. Examples of such situations are: need to have transportation, need to pay for ordinary living expenses, need for child care.
    3. Student is dissatisfied with the course material, instructor, instructional method, or class intensity.
    4. Student is failing the class or receiving less than the desired grade.
    5. Student's participation in extracurricular activities is taking too much of their time.
    6. Student is taking too many units and cannot keep up in all classes.

    Acceptable reasons

    1. A physical or emotional illness or accident has caused you to fall two or more weeks behind in class progress and now necessitates a reduction in your class load or your complete withdrawal from the University. Student must submit in writing documentation from their doctor or the Director of the Health Service attesting to the nature, severity, and dates of the illness or accident.
    2. Student's employer has insisted that he/she work more or different hours, producing a conflict with the student's current class schedule. The student must submit from the employer (ideally on company stationery) verification and effective date of the change in their work schedule. (Compare "a" under "Unacceptable Reasons".)
    3. Student now must work because of an unforeseeable financial problem. (Compare "b" under "Unacceptable Reasons".)
    4. Student's professor or adviser has recommended a change in the student's academic program, from an advanced to a less advanced course, or vice versa.
    5. There has been an error in the advisement that the student received. It must be established that the mistake was made by an instructor, adviser, administrator, or other employee of the University.


  1. Office Hours

    The Department has adopted (08 February 1985) the following policy on office hours:

    • Full-time and part-time faculty will schedule office hours at times when their students are likely to be available.
    • Full-time faculty will schedule a minimum of 3 hours a week. It is assumed that, except in unusual cases, the 3 hours will be scheduled on 3 different days.
    • Part-time faculty teaching 6 or more hours/units will schedule a minimum of 2 office hours a week; those teaching 3-5 hours/units will schedule a minimum of 1 office hour a week.
  2. Length of Instructional Period:
    • One unit equals 50 minutes of instructional time. Three- unit classes meeting MWF (50 minutes each day), MW/TTH (75 minutes each day) and four unit classes meeting daily require no break.
    • Four-unit classes meeting twice a week (100 minutes - 1 hour 40 minutes each day) may need a break. If you do take a break, remember to extend the class to include the required amount of teaching time. For example, a class beginning at 2:00 p.m. will run to 3:40 without break, to 3:50 with a 10 - minute break; a class beginning at 7:00 p.m. will run to 8:40 without a break, to 8:50 with break.


    Standardized breaks in classes:
    • Continuous lecture classes that last two or more hours should incorporate a break at a predetermined time based on any number of criteria, such as content of the lecture, length of the class, and physical demand placed upon support service personnel for deaf and disabled students. Laboratory classes or classes in which the student traditionally works independently may or may not require a break, depending on the judgment of the faculty.
    • Depending on the uniqueness of each class and the demands placed upon students (and support personnel), professors determine scheduled breaks by utilizing their own solution or one of the following options:
    1. Courses meeting two hours: one break of ten minutes between the first and second hours.
    2. Courses meeting three hours: one break of fifteen minutes during the middle of the class or two breaks of ten minutes.
  1. Evaluation of Student Performance:

    Student achievement shall be evaluated in all courses.

    Students shall be fully informed of the manner of their evaluation as well as the requirements and assignments at the start of each semester.

    Finals must be given on the day and at the time printed in the Schedule of Classes. They are not to be given before the official time.

    "In lecture courses, no final examination may be scheduled by an instructor prior to the regularly scheduled time. Any student who finds it impossible to take a final examination on the date scheduled must make arrangements in advance with the instructor either to take the examination at another time prior to the deadline for reporting grades, or request that a grade of incomplete be assigned, and must then follow the regulations concerning the removal of the incomplete. No exceptions will be made to these regulations without the written approval of the Instructor, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the college in which the course is offered."

    Final exams are important documents and must be handled with appropriate concern for their security. In the past, we have kept final exams for a year. Under the new policy approved in February 1988, they need only be retained for 1 semester as "...the deadline to request a grade correction is the end of the semester following that in which the grade was assigned." During this semester students may review their exams in your office and in your presence but the exams may not be given to your students.


Departmental Offices :
405 & 408 Sierra Tower
Phone: (818) 677-3467
Fax: (818) 677-5797