By spring break of their final semester, students entering the program in Fall 2021 or later must demonstrate proficiency in one European language (other than English) by passing an oral proficiency exam. Students who entered the program in Fall 2020 or earlier must demonstrate proficiency in two European languages (other than English) by passing an oral proficiency exam in one language and a reading proficiency exam in another.
Any language other than English that naturally arose on the European continent can be used to fulfill the language proficiency requirement. Students most commonly choose German, French, Spanish, and Russian, but languages such as Azerbaijani, Irish, Georgian, Latin, and Turkish have also been selected. German is not a required language for the program. Proficiency in a signed language (British Sign Language, French Sign Language, etc.) may theoretically also satisfy the oral proficiency requirement.
Students who entered the program in Fall 2020 or earlier may petition to complete one of the language proficiency exams in a non-European language, such as Arabic or Mandarin. Approval of the petition is contingent upon sufficient evidence that proficiency in the target language is necessary for the student’s research or career goals.
If you are unsure whether your chosen language will satisfy the European language proficiency requirement, speak with the Supervisor of Academic Programs.
The oral proficiency exam tests whether students have sufficient speaking and listening ability to use the target language in a professional environment.
The format of the exam varies among the administering departments.
The reading proficiency exam tests students’ ability to comprehend writing in the target language well enough to read it for research and professional purposes.
Native Speaker Status
Students whose secondary education (high school, Gymnasium, colegio, etc.) was in a European language other than English may use secondary school transcripts or exit exam credentials as a substitute for the oral proficiency exam.
To receive native speaker certification, provide the Supervisor of Academic Programs with secondary school exit exams, a diploma, or other proof that the language of instruction was a European language other than English.