Foreign Language Requirement

Davidson College requires the study of foreign language because we believe it provides a foundation for an international education and because it helps students understand how language works, both as a mode of human communication and as a way of constructing the world. For these reasons, every student whose primary language is English must take a foreign language through the third semester (which equates to the 201 level at Davidson College), or demonstrate equivalent proficiency.

To fulfill the language requirement, students follow these paths:

  • Most students complete a course equal to or higher than 201 in any language.
  • Some students use a transfer course or a qualifying score on an AP or IB exam supplemented by a placement test (which may include an oral interview) to place into a course above 201, thereby satisfying the language requirement.
  • Students whose primary language is not English may receive a waiver of the foreign language requirement.

What do I need to do?

  • Start a New Language - if you are planning to start a new language (one you have never studied), select the 101 course in that language when you make your course selections. If you are a strong language student, and would like to accelerate your study of a new language in a class that covers two semesters’ worth of material, counts for two courses, and meets every day, you may wish to select a 103 course.
  • Continue Studying a Foreign Language - if you are planning to continue studying a foreign language that you’ve already started learning, you must take a placement test. You may not enroll in a level below your placement.
    • French, German, Latin, Spanish: complete online placement test (below) before June 22
    • Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Russian: email the placement contact (below) before June 22
  • Use a Test Score or Transfer Course - if you hope to use a test score or transfer course to complete the requirement, you must have your score or transcript sent to the registrar and take a placement test. If you place into a course above 201, you have satisfied the foreign language requirement.
  • English is not your Primary Language - complete a Language Waiver Request form at the Registrar’s office after you arrive on campus.

Placement Contacts & Exam Information

LanguageCoordinatorPlacement Information
FrenchProf. Florin BescheaPlacement Test Instructions
(password is wildcat1)
GermanProf. Scott DenhamPlacement Test Instructions
LatinProf. Jeanne NeumannPlacement Test Instructions
SpanishProf. Rosalba ScottPlacement Test Instructions
ArabicProf. Rebecca JoubinEmail Coordinator
ChineseProf. Shelley RiggerEmail Coordinator
GreekProf. Jeanne NeumannEmail Coordinator
RussianProf. Amanda EwingtonEmail Coordinator