Spanish Basic Language Program

Our Spanish Basic Language Program for non-native speakers introduces students to the language and seeks to build students oral and basic writing competencies. Through its completion students fulfill the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences language requirement. Designed as a hybrid program, students get exposure to the language both in the classroom and through computer instruction.

Once done with the basic language series, students are encouraged to join our undergraduate program at the 200-level, where they can further expand their linguistic skills in courses such as SPAN 200/Spanish Conversation and Basic Writing and SPAN 202/Spanish Grammar in Practice.

Coordinator of Basic Language Program

Claudia Fernández
Claudia Fernández
(312) 996 - 0491
1714 UH

Placement in a Spanish Course
Information for Non-Native Speakers
Registration Information


The BLP consists of four multi-section courses (SPAN 101 – 104) taught by multiple instructors. Each course in the BLP is governed by the different policies and procedures. Please familiarize yourself with the policies for your course. If you have questions or concerns about your class, direct them first to your instructor. Any issue not resolved between the student and her instructor may be brought to the attention of Claudia Fernández,, the Basic Language Program Coordinator, 1714 UH / (312) 996-0491.

Placement in a Spanish course

Heritage/Native Speakers of Spanish

You may not take 101, 102, 103, or 104 if you are bilingual (native or heritage speaker). That is, if you learned Spanish in a "natural", non-academic environment (at home, during residence abroad, etc.), you must take the Spanish placement test. The majority of students in the heritage program were born and raised in Chicago by parents who emigrated from Spanish-speaking countries. Others learned Spanish from their grandparents or during periods of living in Latin America. The heritage track allows you to complete the LAS foreign language requirement in 1 or 2 semesters, instead of the required 4 semesters in the Spanish Basic Language Program.  If you are a heritage speaker, you are urged to take the placement test as soon as possible so that you have a chance to register in the proper course.  As a heritage speaker you cannot receive credit for courses in the Spanish Basic Language sequence (SPAN 101, 102, 103, 104).

All instructors are required to assess their students' linguistic background and to advise heritage speakers to take the heritage placement exam or to meet with Professor Kim Potowski, the Coordinator of the Spanish Program for Heritage Speakers,

For more information and placement guidelines, visit the page for the Heritage/Bilingual Basic Language Program.

Non-Native Speakers of Spanish

Non-native speakers have either never before taken a Spanish course or have been exposed formally to the language only in a classroom setting.  Non-native students must follow the chart below in order to determine the appropriate course level in which they need to register.

How to request and take the Spanish Placement exam: Log into On the Registration tab, request the Spanish Exam on the placement testing portlet.  Once approved, a link will be available to take the exam.  There is only one Spanish placement exam for all students.  

According to University policy, students will not receive credit for taking courses below the level at which they place. Our departmental placement guidelines are as follows:

If you have…

Then you must take… previous study1
…0-1 years of high school or equivalent
    (that is, completion of Spanish I)
…SPAN 101

...SPAN 101 at UIC

...SPAN 102
…transfer college from another institution2
…2 to 4 years of high school Spanish3

…either SPAN 101, 102, 103 or 104
    depending on the results of the
    Spanish Placement test
...SPAN 102 at UIC,
…SPAN 110 at UIC

...SPAN 103

...SPAN 103 at UIC

...SPAN 104

Non-native Speakers

1 If you have NEVER taken Spanish before, nor lived in a Spanish-speaking country, or with a Spanish-speaking family, you should sign up for Spanish 101.  Students who have had one year or less of high school Spanish are not required to take a placement exam. You should register for Spanish 101 as well. 
2College credit in Spanish: If you have college credit in Spanish you are required to take the placement test.
3 Two to four years of high school Spanish:  If you have had 2 to 4 years of high school Spanish you must take the placement test. Placement tests are administered by the Office of Testing Services (  You must enroll in the course indicated by your test results. According to University policy students will NOT receive credit for taking courses below the level at which they place.

Registration Information:

  1. No over-enrollments under any circumstances are allowed. No instructor, professor, secretary, or department head can change this rule, which is based on fire codes and room sizes.
  2. It is your responsibility (the student’s) to enroll and to attend the correct section. No one else can register you.
  3. Your name should be officially listed on the course roster by the end of the add/drop period, Friday of the second week of classes (consult the Timetable for the specific date). It is also your responsibility to drop a course if you stop attending class. No one else can drop you from the class. You are NOT automatically dropped if you stop attending. 
  4. No student may enroll in more than one SBLP course during the same semester.
  5. If you have questions about placement once you attend the first day of class, please talk to your instructor immediately and explain your concerns. 
  6. Auditing of this course is not allowed. 
  7. In order to receive an incomplete for this course you must have completed 70% of the course. Only medical reasons or very serious circumstances will be considered.