All of our M.A. and Ph.D. candidates must demonstrate reading proficiency in one or more second languages.
Every candidate for the Master's degree must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one second language before taking the comprehensive examination.
A reading knowledge of two languages is required of all Ph.D. candidates, except in United States History, where one language is required. The requirement must be completed before the written/oral comprehensive examination.
The language proficiency requirement is fulfilled by passing the History Department's written proficiency exam. Departmental written proficiency exams will be offered once a semester, currently on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and on the Saturday after Spring Break.
The exam shall be a four-hour test in two parts, in which students 1) translate a passage from the target language into English and 2) demonstrate their reading comprehension by answering a series of questions in English about a passage in the target language. You are permitted to use a dictionary for both portions. All students testing in a language shall take the exam on a given testing date.
The exam is evaluated in the History Department by faculty members proficient in the language tested or by instructors in appropriate language or area studies departments in consultation with the Department language administrators. Under normal circumstances, you will be notified of the outcome of the exam within a two-week period. Students who do not pass the exam may retake the exam as many times as needed without penalty.