Foreign Language Requirements

M.A. Students

Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the thesis committee. This requirement may be met by:

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language.  Any course in which all class meetings are conducted in the approved language will satisfy this requirement; courses conducted in English will not.  The Department of English does not require its graduate students to write papers in the approved language. GER 494/598 German for Reading Knowledge. FRE 494/598 French for Reading Knowledge. and ITA 494/598 Italian for Reading Knowledge will also satisfy the requirement.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Demonstrating native speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Linguistics students: Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent. Literature, English Ed, and Rhetoric students: Earning a "B" (3.00) or higher in ENG 530 Old English, or its equivalent, such as Old Norse.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

Ph.D. Students

Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to the approval of the chair of the dissertation committee. The language requirement must be completed before the student is eligible to take the Ph.D. examinations. This requirement may be met by:

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in a 400- or 500-level course in an appropriate (approved) language. Any course in which all class meetings are conducted in the approved language will satisfy this requirement; courses conducted in English will not. The Department of English does not require its graduate students to write papers in the approved language. GER 494/598 German for Reading Knowledge, ITA 494/598 Italian for Reading Knowledge, and FRE 494/598 French for Reading Knowledge will also satisfy the requirement.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination, administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency, as determined by the School of International Letters and Cultures, in a language approved by the student’s supervisory committee.
  • Linguistics students: Earning a “B” (3.00) or higher in both ENG 530 Old English and ENG 531 Old English Literature or their equivalent. Literature, Rhetoric, and English Ed students: Earning a "B" (3.00) or higher in ENG 530 Old English or its equivalent, such as Old Norse.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree in an approved foreign language.
  • Having fulfilled a foreign language requirement towards a previously awarded master’s degree that has been completed within five years of the semester for which the student has been admitted to the Ph.D. program. This foreign language must be in a language approved by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

MTESOL Students

Students must demonstrate evidence of a competent knowledge of a natural language other than modern English, to be selected by the student, subject to approval of the chair of the supervisory committee. (This does not apply to students whose native language is not English.) The requirement can be met by:

  • Earning a “B” (3.00) or better in a 400 or 500-level course in an appropriate language. Any course in which all class meetings are conducted in the approved language will satisfy this requirement; courses conducted in English will not.  The Department of English does not require its graduate students to write papers in the approved language. GER 494/598 German for Reading Knowledge, ITA 494/598 Italian for Reading Knowledge, and FRE 494/598 French for Reading Knowledge will also satisfy the requirement.
  • Demonstrating comparable proficiency by taking a language examination approved by the student's supervisory committee; Language competency is administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures.
  • Demonstrating native-speaker proficiency in a language approved by the student's supervisory committee. Language competency is administered by the School of International Letters and Cultures.
  • Holding a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a regionally-accredited college or university of recognized standing in an approved foreign language.
  • For languages which the School of International Letters and Cultures does not offer or does not offer above the 200 level, two years (4 semesters) of successfully completed college level coursework at least at the 100 and 200 level with a C or better would fulfill the requirement. The coursework must have been successfully completed no more than six years prior to admission to the degree program.

Language Examination Procedure

Language competency is certified by the School of International Letters and Cultures upon satisfactory performance on a foreign language examination. The student, in consultation with the advisor or committee chair, will select for translation a book of at least 200 pages (other than fiction or poetry), complete the Application for Graduate Foreign Language Examination at least one month prior to the examination, and deliver the form plus the approved book to the testing supervisor, who will make a copy of the passages you will be translating on the day of the examination and will return the book to you for study. For further information about the examination and test dates, visit the School of International Letters and Cultures.

Things to Remember

Students should fulfill their language requirement early in the program so it does not delay graduation. Those students wishing to graduate in May should take the exam offered in the fall or before. Those who want to graduate in December should take the exam in the spring or before. In other words, students who take the exam in the fall may not be able to graduate that December. Students who take the exam in the spring may not be able to graduate that May.

Students must be enrolled in at least one graduate-level English credit during the semester or summer session in which they take the examination.

Students must successfully complete the foreign language examination before taking any required comprehensive examinations or scheduling the final oral defense of the thesis or dissertation or defending an applied project.

It can take six to eight weeks for exam results to be reported.

The language requirement will be waived for students whose native language is not English. 
 
Petitions to Retake the Exam

Students who fail the exam may petition the Graduate College to retake the exam. The petition should include why the student failed, what the student will do to prepare for the next exam (i.e., new book, dictionary, tutoring, etc.), and why the exam is needed. Note: Only two petitions to retake the exam are allowed. Normally, the student should allow three months to study for the next exam.  In order to be eligible for the second or third examination, the student must submit a petition electronically via their iPOS. This must be approved by the academic unit and Graduate Education prior to the reexamination.