The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures requires that students with any prior knowledge of Chinese, and who plan to enroll in our language classes, take a placement test prior to registering. Please click here to be directed to the schedule of tests and instructions for registering.

Where to start?

Language Beginning Students Students with Prior Experience



Enroll in E ASIAN 101: First Semester Chinese or E ASIAN 121: Elementary Chinese I Take a placement test through the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Retroactive credits

Retroactive credits (aka ‘retrocredits’) are credits granted in recognition of previous language study. Retroactive credits earned at UW-Madison do correspond to particular courses, but the credits are not graded and do not factor into your GPA. Consult complete retrocredit policy for more information.


Retrocactive credits by course, if other requirements are met


Retroactive credits

122: Elementary Chinese 3
102: Second Semester Chinese
214: Second Semester Heritage Chinese
201: Third Semester Chinese 12
202: Fourth Semester Chinese 18
301: Fifth Semester Chinese
302: Sixth Semester Chinese
401: Seventh Semester Chinese

Background Questionnaire

If you are a student with prior experience in an Asian language (e.g., self-taught, learned in elementary, middle or high school, or learned from family, relatives or friends, etc.), and seek advice about foreign language requirements, retroactive credits, or continuing with the language of your heritage please fill out the department’s Background Questionnaire in order to receive appropriate advising or guidance.