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Foreign Language

All students must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English by doing one of the following:

Completing the introductory sequence of any language offered at Vanderbilt.

  • two semesters of elementary course = introductory sequence
  • one semester of an intensive elementary course = introductory sequence
  • Note that for Chinese and Japanese, proficiency is achieved by completing the fourth semester of study: the first two semesters are "Introductory"; the second two semesters are "Elementary."  Students can begin with the elementary sequence, however.

Earning AP or IB credit on one or more of the following exams.

  • Vanderbilt accepts AP/IB credit for the following exams: Chinese Language and Culture, French Language or French Literature, German Language, Japanese Language and Culture, Latin: Literature, Latin: Vergil, Spanish Language, and Spanish Literature.

Earning appropriate score on an SAT subject test.

  • See pages 5 of the  On the Road with AXLE booklet for a list of the appropriate scores for French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese with Listening, Latin, and Spanish.

Presenting pre-freshman credit for a second-semester course or higher.


Some points to remember about foreign language study and AXLE:

  • Beginning Fall 2014, students will no longer be able to demonstrate French or Spanish proficiency with a department proficiency exam.  All students wishing to demonstrate proficiency with a proficiency exam—in any language—must make arrangements with the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute to take the TFLI’s proficiency exam in that language.  There is a fee for the testing; students must provide their own transportation.
  • Students do not receive AXLE credit for the first semester of an introductory course; they do receive hours toward graduation for those courses.

About placement in foreign languages at Vanderbilt:

  • For French and Spanish, students can take an online placement exam.  They should enroll in the courses indicated by their placement scores.
  • For all other languages, students needing to enroll in a higher-level course should contact the DUS or program director.