If your dissertation is in a non-US field, you must demonstrate a reading proficiency
in at least one non-English language as directly related to your dissertation field
as possible, as determined by the dissertation director. You must demonstrate this
proficiency by reading and translating a selection from a historical work or source
assigned by the examiner. This requirement is a minimum for all Ph.D. candidates in
non-US fields; you must pass an examination in all languages, however many, that your
Advisory Committee considers necessary for expertise in your primary area(s) of research.
The language requirement, if any, for students in U.S. history is determined by your
Advisory Committee, which can waive the requirement completely. Be sure to have your
committee enter their decision to waive this exam on your Ph.D. Planning form when
you meet with them during your first year in the program. You must pass all required
language exams before taking the comprehensive examination.
The Department of Foreign Languages (DFL) will administer Ph.D. language examinations
in all languages in which it has a specialist. DFL agrees to the following as its
standard procedure, although it is willing to make special accommodations (such as
a suggestion for a text or different requirements for the exam) as determined by a
student’s committee: “The exam will assess the reading skill of the candidate and
will be geared at the 2202 level. Also, every effort will be made to select a passage
to be translated relating to the candidate’s field of interest. Each exam will last
from one hour to an hour and a half and will be based on translating a passage ranging
from one to one-and-a-half pages. Moreover, candidates may use dictionaries to assist
them.” “Dictionaries” refers to books whose purpose is to translate words between
two or more languages; you are not allowed to use grammar books, verb books, etc.
in the exam.
To arrange for the exam, you should contact the appropriate professor in DFL, who
will also be able to advise you on texts to study and how to prepare for the exam.
At present, you should contact one of the following:
These contacts may change. If you can’t reach the proper person, or you wish to take
an examination for a language not listed, contact the DFL main office. Most language
professors will arrange to give an acceptable exam at the conclusion of an intermediate-level
language course. But this is not necessarily the normal exam for such classes, so
you must speak to them ahead of time to see if it is possible to arrange. It is not
currently the policy of the department to accept a passing grade in such a course
in lieu of the exam, but if you have had many courses in a language or can otherwise
demonstrate proficiency far beyond the intermediate level, talk to the Graduate Coordinator
to see if you can be exempted from the exam.
It is your responsibility to arrange for a language proficiency examination before
taking the comprehensive examination.