Course Placement


Are you thinking about taking Spanish classes or studying literature, film, and culture from the Spanish-speaking world? This page, containing narrative guidelines and a chart with prerequisites for every level, will help you decide where to begin!

If you’re interested in our language program, we want you to know that we recognize that proficiency is multifaceted, encompassing different types of knowledge and skills depending on students’ individual backgrounds and experiences. You will find a place in our Spanish program whether you have little or no familiarity with the language, took several years of it in high school, spoke Spanish at home but haven’t studied it formally, or otherwise have had extensive experience with Spanish outside of an academic setting. Please see the guidelines below for more details about language course levels.

All our courses, from HISP0100, encompass authentic Spanish-language texts, music, and films, though our primary literature and culture curriculum begins with HISP0650, “Advanced Spanish through Literature and Film,” and continues into the 700- and 1000-levels; prerequisites are indicated in the chart below, but please see our concentration requirements and overview of the curriculum for more on the differences between 700- and 1000-level courses.

These language placement guidelines will help you find the right class for your level and determine whether or not you need to take Brown’s Spanish placement exam, so please follow them closely:

  • If you have no experience with Spanish or knowledge of another Romance language, you should sign up for HISP 0100, Basic Spanish I.

  • Students who have an AP score of less than 3, whose AP or SAT II scores are older than 18 months, or who have no AP or SAT II scores should take the placement exam and pre-register or shop for the course indicated when they receive their scores. We realize that placement tests do not capture all aspects of proficiency and may not be fully accurate, but they provide an important baseline. 

  • If you have any familiarity with Spanish or other Romance languages and got a placement score between 240 and 340, you may be eligible to enroll in HISP 0110, Intensive Basic Spanish. 

  • If you have an AP Spanish score of 4 or 5, or an SAT II exam score, please see the chart below to determine your level.

  • If after reviewing this information you determine that a placement exam is required, please complete the placement exam online. Note that you must take this exam without outside help, in whatever form, as this may skew your results, and you might end up in the wrong course. 

  • If you’re not sure what category you fit in or have any questions or concerns regarding your placement, please contact our language faculty as follows:


Placement Chart

You place in

If you meet one of these requirements


Basic Spanish I

You have never taken Spanish (you do not need a placement test).

SAT II score: 300 - 390

Brown placement score: Below 240

Note that this course earns credit independently from completion of HISP0200. 

HISP0110 Intensive Basic Spanish (double credit)

You are familiar with Spanish or other Romance languages and have a Brown placement score under 340. If interested, contact Prof. Nidia Schuhmacher, [email protected]


Basic Spanish II

You have completed HISP0100

SAT II score: 400 - 450

Brown placement score: 241 - 340

Note that this course earns credit independently from completion of HISP0100. 


Intermediate Spanish I

You have completed HISP0200 or HISP110

SAT II score: 460 - 510

Brown placement score: 341 - 410


Intermediate Spanish II

You have completed HISP0300

SAT II score: 520 - 590

Brown placement score: 411 - 490


Spanish for Healthcare Prof


You have completed HISP0400

SAT II score: 600 - 660

AP score: 4 (language or literature)

Brown placement score: 491 - 570


Intermediate Spanish for Heritage  Speakers

Note that there is flexibility in placement in this course intended for speakers of Spanish who can understand and speak Spanish to some degree, but may not have had previous formal education in the language. If interested, please contact Prof. Eva Gómez García ([email protected]).


Advanced Spanish I

You have completed HISP0400 OR HISP0490

SAT II score: 600 - 660

AP score: 4 (language or literature)

Brown placement score: 491 - 570


Advanced Spanish II

You have completed HISP0500

SAT II score: 670 - 740

AP score: 5 (language) - note this could also place you in HISP650*

Brown placement score: 571 - 650


Advanced Spanish through Literature and Film

You have completed HISP0600

SAT II score: 750 & above

AP score: 5 (language)  - note this could also place you in HISP600*

Brown placement score: 651 & above

Note that this is a requirement for the concentration and for taking 1000-level courses, unless you earned a 5 in the AP Spanish literature exam.

HISP courses at the 700 level

You have completed HISP0600 or HISP0650, or with instructor’s permission

SAT II score: 750 & above

AP score: 5 (literature) 

Brown placement score: 651 & above

HSP courses at the 1000 level

You have completed HISP0650

AP score: 5 (literature) 


*If you got a 5 on the AP Spanish language exam and are unsure whether or not to enroll in HISP0600 or HISP0650, we strongly recommend that you take the Brown placement test, which can give a more refined indication of your level.