Language Requirements for Graduate Study
The History Department requires for both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees a reading knowledge of one language other than English. In addition, a doctoral student may be required to have a reading knowledge of other languages essential to the pursuit of the particular program the student elects. Students should consult with the members of their Supervisory Committees to determine which languages are required for the completion of their degree programs.
An M.A. student must satisfy the language requirement no later than the quarter immediately preceding the quarter in which the student expects to take the written exams to complete the degree; a Ph.D. student no later than the quarter immediately preceding the quarter in which the student expects to take the Ph.D. General Examination.
Procedures for Satisfying Language Requirements
The History Graduate Office can provide students with the names of History faculty members who can offer a translation examination in a particular language.
Students who need to take a translation examination should complete a Foreign Language Translation Examination Request Form. The student should complete the first part of the form and then take the form to the examining faculty member who will complete the second part. The examining faculty member will specify the content and conditions of the examination, for example, the amount of time allowed, the material to be used, whether a dictionary may be used, etc. The student must submit the completed form to the History Graduate Office at least one week prior to the exam.
The examining faculty member should provide the Graduate Advisers with the exam materials and instructions no later than noon of the day before the exam.
The student picks up the exam in the History Graduate Office at the specified time and returns the completed exam to the Graduate Advisers at the end of the end of the allotted time.
The faculty member grades the exam (PASS/FAIL) and then submits to the History Graduate Office the graded exam together with a copy of the material translated. The Graduate Advisers will inform the student of the results of the exam shortly thereafter. The graded exam is placed in the student's file and may be reviewed by the student at any time.
In the event a student fails an exam, the student may schedule another exam with the same examining faculty member at a later date. The examining faculty member will specify when the re-examination may take place.
Students who have successfully completed a significant number of years (normally four or more) of language study and who have used the language in their research and writing may satisfy the language requirement by petition. The petition consists of three parts:
(a) a memo from the student addressed to the Graduate Program Coordinator requesting that the written language examination be waived and explaining the basis for the request (e.g., number of years of language study, grades in language coursework, research/writing competency);
(b) a memo from the student's field supervisor addressed to the Graduate Program Coordinator in support of the student's request to satisfy the language requirement without a written examination;
(c) a copy of a seminar paper, historiographical essay, or similar evidence that demonstrates scholarly competence in the language.
The petition should be submitted to the History Graduate Office. After the
petition has been reviewed, the Graduate Office will inform the student and
the student's field supervisor whether the petition has been approved. If the
petition is not approved, the student will be required to take a written translation
Non-native speakers of English whose native language is germane to their scholarship may be allowed to waive the petition procedure. Please see the History Graduate Advisers for details.
Students may take French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese language exams administered by the Office of Educational Assessment. There is a $35 charge for these exams. Exam results are available about two weeks after the exam is taken.
Most foreign language departments do not routinely offer exams that satisfy the graduate language requirement. However, on rare occasions another department may offer a language exam that a student may propose to use to satisfy our language requirement. The student should submit a request to the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) that provides the following information: a description of the exam format (translation, multiple choice, etc.), name of exam administrator, grading policy, and procedure by which the department would be notified of the exam results. If the request is approved, the student may take the exam. Students should not take a language exam in another department until it has first been approved by the GPC.