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Fulfilling the Graduate Foreign Language Requirement

Students in all programs, except the MFA, must demonstrate proficiency in one or more foreign language. MA students are required to demonstrate standard proficiency in one language; PhD students are required to demonstrate either standard proficiency in two languages or advanced proficiency in one language. See the policies section for each program for definitions of the specific levels of proficiency required for the degree.

There are three ways to fulfill the language requirement: 

  1. Students may take a language placement test. For instructions and authorization please see the department of Languages and Literature's resource page on fulfilling the Graduate Language Requirement.
  2. The language requirement may be fulfilled through coursework; please see the specific requirements of each program for details on this option.
  3. The language requirement may be fulfilled through a written translation exam administered by the department. Departmental examinations will be based on one or two passages (roughly 500 words total), typically nonfiction or critical prose of above average difficulty. Students will be evaluated on the correctness and fluency of their translation, and on the amount they translate. The exam will last 90 minutes, and students can use a dictionary; no other notes or resources are allowed. Student and examiner will both remain anonymous. For additional information, contact the Graduate Advisor.

MA Foreign Language Requirement

MA candidates must demonstrate standard proficiency in one language. The language requirement for MA students may be fulfilled at any time during the student’s course of study; it must be fulfilled before the degree can be awarded.

In addition to language placement exams administered by the Department of Languages and Literature and departmental translation exams, MA students can also demonstrate proficiency through coursework by receiving a grade of B or better in a second-semester language course (1020), or the equivalent at another institution. The Graduate School stipulates that coursework used to fulfill the language requirement must have been completed no more than six years before the date certifying fulfillment of the requirement.

MFA students are not required to demonstrate foreign language proficiency.

PhD Foreign Language Requirement

PhD candidates must demonstrate standard proficiency in two languages other than English or advanced proficiency in one language. All language requirements must be completed before a student schedules his or her qualifying examinations.

 In addition to language placement exams administered by the Department of Languages and Literature and departmental translation exams, PhD students can also demonstrate proficiency through coursework in one of the following ways:

A student can demonstrate standard proficiency in two languages by receiving grades of B or better in two second-semester languages courses (1020), or the equivalent at another institution.

A student can demonstrate advanced proficiency by receiving a grade of B or better in a fourth-semester language course (2020), or the equivalent at another institution.

 The Graduate School stipulates that coursework used to fulfill the language requirement must have been completed no more than six years before the date certifying fulfillment of the requirement.

Last Updated: 10/28/16