In order to satisfy the RSEA language requirement, students must either satisfactorily complete at least a third-year East Asian language course at Harvard, or demonstrate the equivalent proficiency through the language placement tests administered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (EALC) before the beginning of classes each fall. With the exception of native speakers of an East Asian language, all students entering the RSEA program with some East Asian language background who have not previously taken language courses at Harvard are required to take these placement tests.  These tests are designed to assist the teachers of the language programs in placing students in the most appropriate course level. In the case of students who qualify to take courses at the fourth-year level or above, this placement may be used to demonstrate fulfillment of the RSEA language requirement.

Native speakers of an East Asian language who have a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree using their native language are exempt from the requirement to demonstrate proficiency, except in cases where the language of academic focus is not the student’s native language (e.g., a native speaker of Japanese whose academic field is in Chinese studies should take the Chinese language placement test).

 For further information about language study, see More Information on Language Study.