How do I take an independent study (also called "Special Studies")?  (e.g. French 49, German 49, Italian 49, Spanish 49, etc.)

As the course name implies, independent study is just that – a project done independently, although overseen by an instructor.  You will need to ask an instructor of your target language to oversee your project.  You could  find an instructor who already knows you, since this falls outside of an instructor’s assigned schedule.  Then, you will need a project.  Consider the following criteria when developing a project:

  • The project must be something that is not replicated in the classroom.  In other words, you can’t say you’re going to study grammar on your own, since classes already exist that teach grammar. 
  • Independent study carries 1-3 units, with each unit representing 16 hours of work. 
  • The project must be such that the instructor can assign it a letter grade.
  • The project must be completed by the end of the semester.

Once you have a project, complete the required form and get signatures of approval from your supervising instructor, the Department Chair of World Languages, then the Dean of Language Arts.  The form will be sent to Admissions and Records.  You will be notified about enrolling in the designated section for you Special Studies

I have been trying to register for a class and the SRJC computer won’t let me do it.  What’s the deal?

There are two probable reasons.  First, the computer may think you don’t have the prerequisites to take a class.  If you’re trying to sign up for French 2, for example, and you took French 1 in high school or at another university, the computer obviously doesn't’t know you have the necessary prerequisites.  Similarly, if you grew up speaking Spanish in the home, you’re not going to want to start with Spanish 1.  So if for any reason you feel you are prepared to take a language class beyond what the computer thinks you should take, simply fill out a Prerequisite Challenge form and turn it in to Admissions and Records.  This form is available either online at or in the back of your printed schedule.  Once the form is turned in, you may provisionally enroll in the course and you may remain in that class pending Department Chair approval.

The other reason the computer may be booting you out is if you have taken the class before.  Students are usually not permitted to take a class they have already completed unless they didn't’t receive a passing grade.  There are some exceptions, such as the 58 High Intermediate Conversation courses, which can be taken up to four times.  You can petition to re-take a class if you feel there is a valid reason to do so.  Admissions and Records may permit this if a substantial amount of time has passed (e.g. over three years).  If all repeat possibilities have been exhausted, you may audit a coursed, with the instructor’s permission.  You cannot just sit in a class without being registered.

What is the difference between the 1, 2, 3, 4 series of language classes and the 50A, B, C series?  How do I know what I should take?

The 1-4 series is particularly designed to satisfy requirements for transfer to the CSU or UC systems.  While all classes are communicative, the 50 series typically concentrates on conversation skills, while the 1-4 series systematically builds speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills, preparing for transfer and, if desired, upper level study.  If you want to take a language purely for interest or because you’d like to be able to use it at work, the 50 series may well be for you.  On the other hand, if you are looking to use German, for example, to fulfill your language requirement, German 1 may be better suited to you.  Since language learning is a gradual process improved by repetition and practice, many students take both tracks, either concurrently or alternately.  Incidentally, you may notice special topics language classes such as French through Cuisine or Spanish for Health Occupations or Law Enforcement. 

I am fluent in another language.  Can I test out of the elementary levels of that language?

Many four year universities will allow students to test out of a language, meaning that, after being evaluated, they can be awarded language credits without having actually taken a class.  Students with high AP test results would be afforded a similar opportunity.  Santa Rosa Junior College is a two year institution and, as such does not offer the upper division language courses such a practice is designed to encourage.  Therefore, as with most community colleges, SRJC does not offer college credit for a class not taken, even if the student has proven abilities in that language.

I took a language in high school.  How do I know what class to take at SRJC?

Generally, one year of high school language is considered equivalent to one semester of college language instruction.  Many students, even with several years of high school language experience, think they should start again at the beginning.  This is usually not necessary and indeed may leave the student less motivated in a class which offers little challenge.  If you have doubts about which class to enroll in, take a look at the required text.  You can then assess where you feel reasonably prepared to begin.  Usually, within the first day or two of class, you will be able to spot a mismatch.  Don’t just sit there – move to a class more suited to you!

I grew up speaking Spanish at home.  What class do I take?

Presently, we encourage all “heritage speakers” of Spanish to enroll in a Spanish 3 section specifically designed for heritage speakers.  Your needs are quite different from those of a student learning Spanish as a second language and you will probably find yourself quite at home with other students comfortable speaking Spanish but with lots of grammar and spelling challenges.  We are working on expanding course offerings for heritage Spanish speakers in the near future.

I have already signed up for a language class and would like to get in touch with my instructor.  How do I do that?

If for whatever reason you wish to contact your instructor, there are a couple of ways to do it.  First, see if your instructor has a direct link from the World Languages "Contact" web page.  If not, all instructors have been asked to have a SRJC Outlook e-mail account .  The e-mail address is composed of the first letter of the first name followed by the last name and then finished off with  So, for example, Mai Nazif's e-mail address would be  Or, you can dial the Department at 707-521-6951 and follow the phone tree or Patty Warne, 707-527-4469 in the language lab would be happy to assist you.  Once class has begun, your instructor will give you further information on how and when to reach them.  Additionally, all instructors are available for face-to-face meetings during weekly office hours.