Foreign Language at Patrick Henry College

Dedicated to a Rounded Education

Foreign language ability is required of all PHC graduates.  Students may increase their proficiency level through a variety of formal or informal learning methods including, but not limited to, online language learning, traditional classroom curriculum, independent study, immersion programs, and other overseas experiences.


The Foreign Language Requirement

Regardless of the method of instruction, students must demonstrate adequate foreign language ability in one of following ways:

1) Successfully complete the fourth semester course of a language currently offered at PHC.

2) Successfully complete the final intermediate-level course in a foreign language at a PHC-approved college or university. (Enrolled students should submit the Request for Transient Student Status form to obtain approval before enrolling in such courses.)

3) Demonstrate intermediate mastery of a classical or modern foreign language currently offered at PHC by taking a college-administered proficiency test. (See "Taking a PHC Language Proficiency Exam.")

4) Score a 4 or 5 on one of the Advanced Placement (AP) language tests identified on the Advanced Placement Equivalency Table.  Students choosing this option also earn Open Elective Credit.

5) Sit for both the certified Writing Proficiency Test and the certified Oral Proficiency Interview administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Proficient students will achieve the following proficiency classifications for both assessments in a single language:

     Category I and II languages: Intermediate High
     Category III and IV languages: Intermediate Mid

According to ACTFL, Category I and II languages include French, German, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish; Category III and IV languages include Arabic, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, and Vietnamese.



Foreign Language Requirements for Each Major

There are program-specific requirements that must be met when selecting a language to study. The following list identifies which majors require a classical (Latin or Greek) or modern foreign language.

Classical Language

  • Classical Liberal Arts
  • Environmental Science & Stewardship - Pre-Med track only
  • History
  • English

Modern Language

  • Government - Strategic Intelligence Track 
  • Strategic Intelligence in National Security
  • Strategic Intelligence in National Security - Cyber & Artificial Intelligence Track

Classical or Modern Language

  • Economics & Business Analytics
  • Environmental Science & Stewardship - with no track
  • Environmental Science & Stewardship - Law & Policy Track
  • Environmental Science & Stewardship - Science Pedagogy Track
  • Government - with no track
  • Government - American Politics & Policy Track
  • Government - International Politics & Policy Track
  • Government - Political Philosophy Track
  • Government - Political Theory Track
  • Journalism - Liberal Arts Track
  • Journalism - Political Journalism Track






Foreign Language Guidance


Students who choose to fulfill their language requirement in a language offered at PHC (currently Spanish, Latin, or Greek) must study at PHC.  Transient Student Status will not be granted for the study of these languages at another institution. The College regularly offers these language courses on-campus; the College offers Spanish online in summers. 

Students who choose a language other than those offered at PHC will only be approved to study through one of the following institutions that PHC faculty have identified as quality programs:

Submit the Request for Transient Student Status prior to enrollment.

Students participating in a Global Studies & Service semester may also pursue language study at one of the associated international institutions.

Students who have not fulfilled their foreign language proficiency requirement prior to first-time enrollment as a degree-seeking student must complete their requirement at PHC (for a currently offered language) or at a PHC-approved institution listed above.

In most cases, PHC recommends that students begin foreign language study in their sophomore year and complete foreign language study in their junior year. 




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Patrick Henry College Core Curriculum