Language Requirement

English Department Language Requirement

An MA student must demonstrate reading proficiency in one language other than English; a Ph.D student must demonstrate reading proficiency in two. Languages commonly used to fulfill the requirement include French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek; students wishing to satisfy the requirement in a language other than these, including a signed language, should consult the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee.

Ph.D. students are urged to satisfy the language requirement before advancing to candidacy. In order to be cleared for graduation, M.A. and Ph.D. students must have in their files evidence of having satisfied the appropriate language requirement.

Students may demonstrate proficiency in three ways:

1) Reading comprehension examination. A student must pass a language examination provided by the Department of English or the Department of Modern Languages and evaluated by qualified faculty. Examinations are generally given once each semester, and the date will be announced well in advance. Students have two hours to translate passages of 200-250 words, on a topic related to literary studies. Dictionaries may be used; however, grammar or vocabulary aids such as “501 French Verbs” are not permitted. The examination is given on a pass/fail basis, and students will be notified of the result in writing. Students who do not pass may repeat the examination without penalty. More information may be found at the Graduate Language Examination webpage.

2) Previous course work. A student may provide an official transcript demonstrating one year of intermediate-level undergraduate literature (not language) courses (or the equivalent in the case of signed languages) in the language with grades of “B” or higher. The transcript will be evaluated by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, and the student will be notified of the result in writing.

Doctoral students entering with a Master’s degree may present evidence of having completed a similar examination at the previous institution. The request will be evaluated by the Graduate Coordinator.

3) Native proficiency. A student may petition to have proficiency in a native language other than English count toward satisfaction of the requirement. Petitions and supporting materials will be evaluated by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, and students will be notified of the result in writing.

effective September 2009; revised December 2009