Foreign Languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Russian, Spanish)
Many students will elect to start a new language at Davidson, possibly one not available in high school or one reflecting interests in study abroad, usefulness to possible major, or curiosity about another language and about the culture or cultures it reflects. For a beginning student, the first course in each language is numbered 101; some departments (French, German, Spanish) also offer on occasion an intensive, double course numbered 103 that combines for beginners the first two semesters and counts as two courses.
Others will wish to continue study of a language they already have studied, building on present skills to achieve new ones and to be able more comfortably to use the language in all proficiency areas: speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Language departments work to help students enter each language program at a level appropriate to their current stage of proficiency and expect students to follow guidelines, often including placement tests, to achieve that goal. Each department has its own procedures; see below. Placement test scores (other than through the AP program) do not yield course credit. Note that a placement test score suggesting that the student should pursue the language at a level higher than 201 does not in itself satisfy the language requirement. The student with such a score who does not wish to take further courses in the language should consult the chair of the appropriate department about possibly placing out of the requirement. Such consultation is most appropriate after you arrive, since an interview in the language generally will be expected. (Passing a course at Davidson above the 201 level does satisfy the requirement.)
Advanced Placement program: in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish, an AP score of 4 or 5 yields not only placement, but also credit for the 201 level, which both satisfies the foreign language requirement and qualifies the student to take courses above that level. In Latin, an AP score of 4 or 5 yields a LAT 199 credit, which does not satisfy the language requirement; performance on the web-based Latin placement test may, however, result in converting that credit for LAT 199 to a credit for LAT 201. Similar principles apply for credit through the International Baccalaureate program.
(Languages offered through the self-instructional language program do not satisfy the foreign language requirement and are not appropriate choices for a first-semester, first-year student. See the Self-Instructional Languages Program pages for more information.)