Foreign Language Requirements

College of Arts & Sciences Language Requirement

  • Option 1: Passing a 2000 level (or above) course in a foreign language at Cornell or
  • Option 2: Passing at least eleven credits of study in a single foreign language at Cornell (usually an introductory sequence)

The Arts and Sciences language requirement can only be fulfilled by courses taken at Cornell.

This is a College, not a department, policy. Please take this into account as you plan your work at Cornell and elsewhere. For more information about the Arts & Sciences requirement, and the college policy on exemptions please visit the College site.

The program offers courses in two languages which can fulfill the college language requirement: Modern Hebrew and Yiddish.

Language Placement

Students who plan to study a language at Cornell must take a language placement test to determine the correct level for enrollment. You cannot take this exam for credit in a language. 

To schedule a placement exam in Hebrew, contact Shalom Shoer. 

Modern Hebrew

Whether you are preparing for travel abroad or are passionate about achieving fluency in a language that is important to you, when studying Hebrew at Cornell you will be part of a close knit group of students and faculty. Courses are built to enhance not only contemporary communication skills, but also to give students a window through which to understand the past. So, join us in learning about the many aspects of Jewish and Israeli culture, society, literature and history!

Contact Shalom Shoer with questions about Hebrew courses at Cornell.

Hebrew courses include:

  • HEBRW 1101 - Elementary Modern Hebrew I
  • HEBRW 1102 - Elementary Modern Hebrew II
  • HEBRW 1103 - Elementary Modern Hebrew III
  • HEBREW 1110 - Beginning Biblical Hebrew
  • HEBRW 2100 - Intermediate Modern Hebrew
  • HEBRW 2222- Hebrew Conversation
  • HEBRW 3101 - Advanced Modern Hebrew I
  • HEBRW 3102 - Advanced Modern Hebrew II
  • HEBRW 4102 - Topics in Biblical Hebrew Prose


The everyday spoken language of Ashkenazi Jews for most of the last thousand years, Yiddish also gave birth to an extraordinary modern literature over a very short time. Weakened by assimilation and by great historical cataclysms, it nonetheless remains a living language. Its vocabulary contains the record of contradictions-- of homey warmth and uncompromising ideologies; of separatism and dialog with non-Jewish neighbors; of a deep textual tradition treated with both reverence and irony. Yiddish embodies the laughter and solidarity that have enabled Jews to survive and thrive, often as an oppressed minority, in Europe and elsewhere.

This three-course sequence fulfills the college language requirement. 

Contact David Forman with questions about Yiddish courses at Cornell.

Yiddish courses include:

  • YIDSH 1776 - Elementary Yiddish I (Fall)
  • YIDSH 1777 - Elementary Yiddish II (Spring)
  • YIDSH 1880 - Intermediate Yiddish I


The Judeo-Arabic language and culture was employed as the mother tongue and literary language of Jews of Arabic speaking lands for centuries during the pre-modern period.

Contact Ross Brann about Judeo-Arabic courses at Cornell.

Judeo-Arabic classes do not fulfill the college's language requirement.

Judeo-Arabic classes include:

  • JUARA 6221- Judeo-Arabic