Second Language Proficiency

Students may satisfy Richmond's second language proficiency requirement in a number of ways. Some students come to Richmond already fluent in another language, or with years of previous study. A high score on a standardized exam (including AP, IB, and SAT II) or on a placement test taken at Richmond may fulfill the requirement, as well as place students in upper-level language courses if they decide to continue their language study.

Students with little or no previous knowledge of a foreign language will be able to fulfill the requirement through language courses at Richmond.

More information on situations that fulfill the requirement, as well as information on choosing the right language course based on your experience if you need to fulfill the requirement, is listed below.

Select the situation that best describes your language experience:

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  • You will start language study at Richmond to fulfill the requirement

    Arabic, Chinese, German, Greek, Japanese, Russian, and Latin are offered as 1 unit courses that meet 3-4 times a week. You will begin with the 101 course in any of these languages, and normally you will proceed through the 102, 201-202 levels to finish your language requirement (in four semesters).

    French, Italian, and Spanish are intensive courses (7 hours of class time per week) that are worth 2 units. You will begin with the 121 (Intensive Elementary) course in any of these languages, and normally you will proceed to the 221 course (Intensive Intermediate) in the following semester. In this way, you will complete your language requirement in just two semesters.

    Students interested in taking the 121 course in French and LALIS (Spanish) need advance approval to register. Have questions? Please contact the appropriate person as listed below:

    French 121 Dr. Julie Baker
    LAIS (Spanish) 121 Prof. Ted Peebles
    Arabic 101 Dr. Kasongo Kapanga
    Chinese 101 Dr. Gengsong Gao
    German 101 Dr. Kathrin Bower
    Greek 101 Dr. Dean Simpson
    Italian 121 Dr. Anthony Russell
    Japanese 101 Prof. Akira Suzuki
    Latin 101 Dr. Dieter Gunkel
    Russian 101 Dr. Natalie McCauley
  • You will continue studying a language at Richmond to fulfill the requirement

    Appropriate course placement is based on experience with a language. Computerized placement tests (available for some of the languages listed below) can provide additional guidance and results might move students up a level or qualify a student for exemption from the second language requirement. Students who have studied Spanish and plan to continue in that language must take the placement test before they register for a class. Students with 4 or more years of high school French or German language experience are strongly encouraged to take the placement test.

    For specific information on your language of interest, please click on the relevant link below:


  • You scored well on a standardized foreign language test

    The following scores fulfill the second language requirement:

    • 630 or higher on the SAT II Subject Test - Language
    • 3-5 on an Advanced Placement Test in a Modern Language
    • 4-5 on the Latin Advanced Placement Test
    • 5-7 on the IB Higher Level Subject Exam in a Modern or Classical Language

    If you have fulfilled the second language requirement, you may register for a 300-level course in that language if you wish to continue your study. See the Credit By Exam Policy to determine units earned if you took the AP or IB tests.

  • You are fluent in a language other than English

    If you are fluent in a language other than English, and you are an International student, you have already fulfilled the second langugage requirement; no additional language coursework is necessary. To confirm your exemption, you must submit a TOEFL score to the university. Your exemption will be indicated on your academic record once your TOEFL score is received.

    If you are fluent in a language other than English, but you are not submitting a TOEFL Test score, contact the appropriate department for information on qualifying for a second language exemption:

    Spanish Contact Prof. Ted Peebles, director of the Spanish language program

    Contact Dr. Dixon Abreu, director of Portuguese

    Catalan Contact Dr. Sharon Feldman, Professor of Spanish
    Galician Contact Dr. Angel Otero-Blanco, Assistant Professor of Spanish
    All other modern languages

    For other modern languages taught at the University (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian), contact June Wise, Administrative Coordinator of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.
    For modern languages not taught at the University, apply for an exemption using the Second Language Exemption Request Form.

    For more information please contact: Dr. Michael Marsh-Soloway