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Getting Started

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Language courses

If you have never studied languages with us, you will need to take our Online Placement Test, available for learners interested in Arabic, Chinese, English as a second language, French and Spanish. You will receive your results between 24-48 hours after taking the test. Remember: be honest!

Your results will contain a recommended course pathway, in other words, which courses you should be taking and in what order. If you are a true beginner, you will take courses in the Language Series (from 101-601). If you have some knowledge of the language, you might be placed at a second level. Remember: course numbering has nothing to do with academic years; your level and the courses that you take are dependent on the level at which you enter. Some students in their first year take courses in the 501-601 series, others in their last year at Ryerson take 101-201 series courses. 

Depending on your needs, you may want to take Liberal Studies or Professionally-Related courses. Make sure you check your program tables to pick the right course for your academic needs. If you are an LIR student, please see details in the LIR Undergraduate Calendar where you can find details on Liberal Studies and Professionally-Related Table options for the major.

ESL/EAL Placement Test

LLC offers three courses that have been specifically designed for students whose first language is not English and who need to improve their reading and writing skills in English: LNG111 Language and Identity, LNG112 Language: Spoken and Written and LNG113 Language and Public Life. These are Lower Level Liberal Studies courses. Students can, however, only take two of them to fulfill their Lower Level Liberal study credit requirements. If you are interested in these courses, please note the following:

  • As a rule, students who have been in an English-medium educational system for 1-7 years are eligible to take LNG 111 and/or 112.
  • Those who have been in an English-medium educational system in Canada or elsewhere for 7-10 years are eligible to take only LNG 113, after which they are deemed able to take any other Lower Level Liberal Studies course that their program allows.

Students may not enroll themselves in these courses. Instead, they are placed in the above three courses by one of the following means:

  1. The online placement test
  2. A recent English Proficiency Test score
  3. A post-admissions writing assessment administered to all students in FEAS, some programs in FCS and TRSM
  4. A placement interview

For further information, students should contact Marju Toomsalu.

Literature and Culture courses

Most of our literature and culture courses are taught in the language, which means that French culture and literature courses are taught in French, Spanish literature courses in Spanish, etc. Therefore, students interested in those courses need to have a fairly good grasp on the language, which means that they have to have completed courses in the 501-601 series, or be placed at that level through their placement tests.

Courses taught in English

If you wish to take literature and culture courses but have yet to achieve the appropriate level of fluency, don't despair: we have a small selection of courses taught in English. Just look for courses coded FRS or SPS. Also, if you're interested in how humans communicate using signs, analogy, metaphors and symbolism, our courses on Semiotics (SEM101 and SEM201) are for you. Those courses are interesting for all students, but especially for those in Marketing, Graphic Design, Visual Arts and Professional Communication programs.

Course for Native Speakers

Native speakers of French and Spanish will normally be placed at a level where they will be able to enjoy literature, culture, business communication or translation courses that help them maintain and develop their language skills. Native speakers of French also benefit greatly from our courses on Effective Writing, while heritage speakers of Spanish who have never studied the language formally will find what they are looking for in our courses focused on Spanish Grammar for Native Speakers.

Other courses

In addition to our language and culture courses, we offer a number of courses for advanced students with a focus on business communication and translation.

As you can see, there's something for everyone. Still confused? Just drop us a line or drop by our department, and we'll be more than happy to help.


Curriculum Overview for LIR BA Program

The Bachelor of Arts in Language and Intercultural Relations shares a common one-year foundation with programs in Criminology, Environment and Urban Sustainability, English, Geographic Analysis, History, Philosophy, Politics and Governance, Psychology, and Sociology. In all programs, your first year offers basic knowledge of theories, methods, and practices of a broad range of social sciences and humanities, with specialized study in Language and Intercultural Relations in the final three years.

Year 1

In the first year, you are introduced to Language and Intercultural Relations through the first language course in your stream of choice, and through LIR100 – Global Models in Intercultural Relations, which will expose you to the concepts of world-view as expressed via differences and similarities between systems of communication. You will also develop the necessary emotional competence and intercultural sensitivity to understand the complexities of intercultural communication. It is in February of your first year at Ryerson that you can apply for a transfer to another program on the common platform of the Faculty of Arts. During that first year, students are also exposed to other disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and they begin acquiring new skills in academic writing and critical thinking.

Year 2

The second year is when students begin to explore a concentration, in either Language and Cognition, Translation, or Organizational Behaviour. Students also take LIR200 – Critical Practices in Intercultural Relations, and LIR300 – Intercultural Negotiation, which are core courses of this program, in addition to three further language and culture courses.

Year 3

Typically, it is in Year 3 that students would choose to be away to do a year abroad, at one of our partner universities. Currently, we have agreements with France and Spain, and planned partnerships with Mexico. In Year 3, students take LIR400 – Ethnographic Practices, acquiring the necessary tools to analyze and understand how groups are defined by their cultural and social practices, including ways in which they communicate differently, based on these characteristics.

Year 4

It is in their fourth and last year that students take LIR800, a capstone course in which students interested in graduate studies can prepare a thesis, or an extensive intercultural relation project. During this fourth year, students also hone their skills in formal presentations. Students also have an opportunity to complete a Directed Reading directly related to their concentration.


As part of your program of study, you have an opportunity to earn a Minor in an area -such as Psychology, Sociology, Law, Human Resources Management, or Politics and Governance- that complements your professional studies and broadens your career preparation. For a complete list and description of available Minors, please see the Minors Policy in the current Undergraduate Calendar for Minors.