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