L&S Retrocredit Requirements and Information

The following section explains the requirements for an L&S undergraduate at UW-Madison to earn retrocredits in a foreign language.

The College of Letters & Science (L&S) will award degree credit for foreign language work if the L&S undergraduate student demonstrates proficiency by completing a UW-Madison foreign language course beyond the first unit, with a grade of B or better, within their first year or first 30 credits.   Please note that the retroactive credit (retrocredit) policy is a UW-Madison policy that applies to all UW-Madison students.   Non-L&S degree-seeking students at UW-Madison need to speak with their academic dean's unit to determine if/how retrocredits will help them satisfy their major/degree requirements.

A student DOES NOT earn retroactive credits (retrocredits) by merely taking a placement test or other exam.  A student must place into the appropriate retrocredit-eligible course AND successfully complete the class with a grade of B or higher prior to earning 30 degree credits at the university level in order to earn retrocredits.

**Please refer to "can I still earn retroactive credits for the foreign language class I am taking with a grade of SD" at  disruption grading option for detailed information on how the SD (Satisfactory-Disruption) and UD (Unsatisfactory-Disruption) grades will impact students in spring 2020 and spring 2021.
Students who qualify for retroactive credits (retrocredits) after completing the appropriate language course on the UW-Madison campus will automatically receive retrocredits approximately two to three months after all grades have been posted for all students. This benefit is available to first-year students, and can be exercised when the following conditions are met:


Please note:

For more information, please refer to the L&S Policies and Regulations tab in the Guide under the Credit section that addresses Credit By Course Examination/Retroactive Credits.   

Contacts for Additional Questions:

 L&S Student Academic Affairs:(608) 262-0617, lsdeans@saa.ls.wisc.edu
Office of Admissions and Recruitment: (608) 262-3961, onwisconsin@admissions.wisc.edu
UW Language Institute (Foreign Language Credits Only): (608) 265-8753, advisor@languageinstitute.wisc.edu

In some cases, students are advised to take an approved course at a more appropriate level (higher or lower level) in order to earn retrocredits.  In these instances, a student is still eligible to earn retrocredits as long as:

1. The language course is the student's first college course in the language post high school graduation, and

2. The course is taken before a student has earned 30 post high school graduation degree credits, and

3. The course is designated as appropriate for earning retroactive credits (not all language courses are eligible for earning retrocredits), and

4. The student earns a grade of B or higher

Students who have AP credit or college-level credit for a foreign language from high school who take a lower level course at UW-Madison should be aware that they will earn fewer retrocredits and will not be able to earn credit for a course they have already received credit for on their transcript.  For example, a student who has earned college-level credit for 4th semester Spanish (Spanish 204) in high school and decides to retake Spanish 204 at UW-Madison for the purpose of earning retrocredits will not earn degree credit again for the repeated course.

UW System retroactive credit for high school foreign language study information can be found at UWSystemRetroactiveCreditPolicy.pdf.