Academic Catalog


World Languages and Cultures

Department website:

Elizabeth Black, Chair
Peter Schulman, Chief Departmental Advisor for French
Kerstin Steitz, Chief Departmental Advisor for German
Minori Marken, Chief Departmental Advisor for Japanese
Andrew Gordus, Chief Departmental Advisor for Spanish
Lee Slater, Chief Departmental Advisor for World Cultural Studies
Maria Gomez-Periago, Director of K-12 Teaching Licensure Programs (French, German, Spanish)
Angelica Huizar, Director of Latin American Studies
Betty Rose Facer, Director of the Language Learning Center

Foreign Language in High School

Students may be exempt from the General Education Foreign Language requirement (without credit) in one of the following ways:

  1. presentation of three high school credits in one foreign language or American Sign Language (ASL);
  2. presentation of two high school credits in each of two foreign languages or one foreign language and American Sign Language (ASL); or
  3. presentation of an appropriate passing score on the CEEB Foreign Language Achievement Test, internal ODU placement test, or its equivalent. Appropriate passing scores can be found below and on the Office of Admissions website.

Students who have studied a foreign language in high school for three or more years must take a placement exam before continuing in the same language.  Students with less than three years of foreign language study in high school may take the placement test if they wish to begin higher than 101F or 111F; otherwise, they must begin with the 101F or 111F course.  This policy does not apply to students who have advanced placement credit.  Contact the Testing Center for additional information.

The General Education Foreign Language requirement as well as the foreign language proficiency requirement for the BA degree in the College of Arts and Letters may be exempted through acceptable scores in the CEEB Achievement Test in French, German or Spanish or departmentally administered examinations in other languages. Contact the Testing Center for additional information. Credit is granted for scores of 3, 4 and 5 on Advanced Placement (AP) language exams in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish and literature exams in French, Latin and Spanish. No more than nine credits will be awarded if both AP language and literature exams are submitted. Credit is also granted for scores of 4, 5, 6 and 7 on the A2 and B exams in French, German, Latin and Spanish of the International Baccalaureate (IB). Contact the department for additional information.  Additional information can be found on the equivalency charts on the ODU website at

Native and heritage speakers: Foreign language courses below the 300 level are not open to native speakers; native speakers are not eligible to earn credit for foreign language courses below the 300 level through coursework or external testing services such as CLEP. Heritage speakers may be eligible to take language courses below the 300 level. Both native and heritage speakers wishing to take language classes at any level should consult a foreign language faculty member for advising.

Foreign Language Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees

The College of Arts and Letters requires foreign language proficiency at the fourth-semester level for students pursuing Bachelor of Arts degrees.  Students pursuing all other undergraduate degrees must meet the lower-level Language and Culture general education requirement.

Students whose native language is not English are exempt from taking a foreign language for General Education. Students pursuing degrees that require proficiency beyond the 100 level must be certified by the World Languages and Cultures Department to obtain a waiver of the 200-300 level courses.

To receive the waiver (102 level for BS; 202 level for BA; 311 & 312 level for Bachelor of Arts in International Studies), the student would need one of the following:
  1. a TOEFL exam at the time of ODU admission;
  2. a high school transcript showing that the student's education was primarily in another language;
  3. for those languages not commonly taught in the World Languages and Cultures Department, a translation exam evaluated by a faculty member indicating the student would pass the appropriate level.

Special emphasis at all levels of language instruction is placed on oral proficiency through dialogues, oral reports, class discussions and assignments in the Language Learning Center.

Language Learning Center

The goal of the Language Learning Center is to serve the needs of faculty, students and the Hampton Roads community in promoting the study of foreign languages offered at Old Dominion University through the use of technology-enhanced methods and materials. The center has been an integral part of the World Languages and Cultures Department since its inception in 1992. Serving over 1,200 students each semester from the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the English Language Center, the center is committed to instructional technology for foreign language learning and quality instruction.