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Language Placement Tests

Kohlburg Hall

Kohlberg Hall, built in 1996, is the home of the department of Modern Languages and Literatures. (Photo Credit: Alina Jara Yupanqui)

Arabic placement exams are taken on the first day of classes.

Japanese, Chinese, French, and German placement tests are offered online.

  • First-year students will receive an email from the Dean's Office when the testing is available (late July).  After receiving this notice, the student must login to mySwarthmore from Swarthmore's student web page and and select New Student Forms, then select the Forms due August 10 tab, and then select the Language Placement tab for access and detailed instructions. It is important that students complete the language survey that appears at the beginning of the test. Upon completion of the exam, students can register in the designated course during the registration period, unless an oral interview is required. If an oral interview and additional testing is required, it is typically scheduled on the Wednesday of orientation.
  • Upper-class students interested in taking placement exams should contact Sue McCarthy or Bethanne Seufert  for information and instructions.
  • Students who have French/German AP/IB are also required to take the online placement exam.
  • The French/German Online Placement Test is not a substitute for an official standard achievement test of a foreign language (such as the College Board exam or the International Baccalaureate). Therefore, it does not serve as proof of achievement for the purpose of fulfilling the language requirement. This exam is only intended to assist instructors in placing students in the appropriate Swarthmore course.
  • For additional information on placement visit each program's website.

Russian students are asked to consult with the Russian Section Head if they need to be placed.

For additional information on Spanish, visit the Department of Spanish website.

Choose a Language Program

Language Study in the Age of Globalization

This brochure by the Modern Language Association is directed primarily to college students. It​ explains how knowing other languages enriches students’ personal lives, expands their range of professional opportunities, and increases their power to act as citizens of the world.


Language Center

The Language Center provides resources to enhance the study of foreign language, literature, and culture at Swarthmore College. Students have access to audio/video materials required for foreign language classes. The lab's resources include 12 Macbook Pros, 8 iMacs, an extensive library of foreign films, video cameras, and audio recorders. The space is a unique, adaptable, multimedia-friendly place to study, practice and develop language skills. 

Learn More