Language Requirement

The Department of English requires that each student must demonstrate a proficient reading, speaking, or signing knowledge of one second language. This is the minimum department-wide standard. Of course, doctoral research in some specialties (such as Medieval, Renaissance, or U.S. Ethnic literatures) may require proficiency in additional languages beyond the one that satisfies the departmental requirement. Students are therefore strongly advised to discuss the language requirement with faculty in their chosen area of specialization, and to do so as soon as possible in their programs. For doctoral students, the language requirement(s) should be met by the end of the first year of enrollment beyond the M.A., and must be met before any part of the Candidacy Examination may be scheduled.

There is no set list of languages approved for Ph.D. candidates in English, but the expectation is that students will choose a language pertinent to their research interests. Non-native speakers of English may use their native languages to fulfill the departmental requirement unless their area of study makes knowledge of some other particular language indispensable.

"Proficiency" in the required language(s) may be demonstrated in two ways:

  1. By completing an OSU language program's departmental reading course(s) or regular language sequence with a minimum grade of B. Students must consult the appropriate language department for course offerings. Since sequences often begin only in the Autumn Semester, students should be sure to check well ahead of time when the courses will be offered.
  2. By passing an examination (typically a translation with the aid of a dictionary) administered by an OSU language program, qualified faculty member of the English department, or qualified faculty member at another university, as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Students who pursue the examination option but do not pass on the first attempt are permitted two re-examinations. Students intending to take a translation exam administered by another department should note that each language department has its own set of deadlines that must be met in order to enroll for the exam. Students should contact the relevant language department during the semester before they intend to take the exam in order to ensure that they do not miss the exam registration date.

Reading Courses and Exam Information for Common Language Choices

Below you will find information about German, French, Spanish, and Italian reading proficiency classes and testing procedures. In the past these have been the most common choices made by students and so these departments have the most structured systems for assessing proficiency. If another language is more appropriate for your research, you should contact the department directly for assessment procedures.

German

Courses that satisfy graduate reading proficiency include German 6102 and German 6202. Contact Natascha Miller (miller.521@osu.edu) with questions about coursework prerequisites.

If you choose to take the reading exam to demonstrate proficiency, you must schedule it in cooperation with your advisor. Your advisor should select a passage for you to translate and submit it, along with a completed exam scheduling form, as directed on the exam website. Information about testing dates is usually updated the third or fourth week of the semester; visit the exam website to view testing dates and download the exam scheduling form.

French

Courses that satisfy graduate reading proficiency include French 6571 and French 6572. Contact Joan Obert (obert.1@osu.edu) with questions about coursework prerequisites.

If you choose to take the reading exam to demonstrate proficiency, you must schedule it in cooperation with your advisor. The Department of French and Italian provides a detailed overview of the test, as well as information on exam preparation, evaluation, dates, and registration on theirwebsite.

Spanish

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese does not offer courses to demonstrate reading proficiency in Spanish.

You must schedule the reading exam in cooperation with your advisor. The Department of
Spanish and Portuguese provides a detailed overview of the test, as well as information on exam preparation, dates, and registration on their website. Contact Jan Macían (macian.1@osu.edu) if you have any questions that the website does not address.

Italian

The Department of French and Italian does not offer courses to demonstrate reading proficiency in Italian.

You must schedule the reading exam in cooperation with your advisor. The Department of French and Italian provides an overview of the test on their website. Contact Joan Obert (obert.1@osu.edu) to schedule the exam and to request more detailed information on testing dates and procedures.

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