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Dr. Wayne Rebhorn, Director 208 W. 21st St. Stop B5003, Austin, Tx 78712 • 512-471-1925

Language Requirements

Students in the Program must demonstrate appropriate command of foreign languages at various stages in their studies. All students entering the Program must possess a high level of competence in one foreign (non-native) language at the start of their studies, and must demonstrate additional language competencies (two for M.A. candidates, and three for Ph.D. candidates) as their studies progress. Ideally, students should satisfy all language requirements as early as possible in their careers.

First Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate their command of the first foreign language by the end of their first semester in the Program. They may do so in one of the following ways:

  • By entering with an M.A. or equivalent in that language
  • By passing a graduate literature course in that language (one approved by the Graduate Advisor) with a grade of "B" or better.
  • When neither of the above options is possible, by passing a language examination administered by a member of the CL faculty appointed by the Graduate Advisor.

Special circumstances: If an ancient language is chosen as the first foreign language, the students will be required to demonstrate such proficiencies as specified by their examiner (commensurate with the requirements of the specialization).

If command of the first FL is not demonstrated by the end of the student's first semester in the Program, the CL Graduate Studies Committee may not approve enrollment for the second semester.  Students who are allowed by the GSC to enroll may be permitted by the graduate advisor to demonstrate ability by fulfilling the graduate foreign language proficiency requirements of the relevant foreign language or area studies graduate program

Second Foreign Language

M.A. Candidates
To demonstrate competence in the second foreign language, the student must either:

  • Earn a grade of a "B" or better in an upper-division, undergraduate course in the literature of that language, taught in that language.
  • Pass an examination in that language involving translation (with a dictionary) of a 400-500 word passage from the FL.

The passage will be chosen and evaluated by a member of the faculty approved by the Graduate Advisor. This should be done as soon as possible, but it must be done before the student can receive the M.A. degree.

Ph.D. Candidates
Students continuing to the Ph.D. must demonstrate proficiency in a second FL must either:

  • Pass an approved graduate literature course in that language with a grade of "B" or better (if the course is not taught in the FL, then the course instructor must write a letter attesting to the student's proficiency in reading the language involved)
  • Pass a language examination administered by a faculty member appointed by the Graduate Advisor.

NOTE THAT THE M.A. AND PH.D. REQUIREMENTS ARE NOT IDENTICAL and so cannot substitute for each other. Students are thus strongly recommended to meet the Ph.D. requirements for the second FL in lieu of the M.A. requirements whenever possible. Preferably, students should meet the requirement for the second FL by the end of their first year in the Program so that they may concentrate on literary rather than language study. In any case, students entering the Program with an M.A. must do so by the end of their third semester; those entering with a B.A. must do so by the end of their fifth semester. If this condition is not met, these students are allowed to sign up for an additional semester of study only at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee. If, by the end of this discretionary semester, the language requirement is still not met, these students will be barred from continuing work in the Program.

Exceptions

In certain cases based upon the nature of the languages involved and their relationship to the student's program of study the graduate adviser may make exceptions to this schedule in consultation with the student's Area Supervisor. They may demonstrate proficiency by passing an examination by the end of their fourth semester in the Program (if they enter with an M.A.), or their sixth semester (if with a B.A.). The examination for the second FL has two parts:

  • Translation of a passage from a literary text (400-500 words, 90 minute time limit)
  • Translation of a passage from a scholarly or critical work (400-500 words, 90 minute time limit).

Third Foreign Language or Area Competence: Ph.D. Candidates

Students must pass a reading examination in a third FL before taking their Comprehensive Oral Examination. For the chosen language, students must either:

  • Pass with a grade of "B" or better an upper-division course in the literature of that language taught in that language
  • Pass an examination in that language, administered by a member of the faculty approved by the Graduate Advisor -- translating (with a dictionary) a 400-500 word passage from the FL, in a language and format approved by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the Area Advisor.

In lieu of a third language, students may be allowed (by completing a minimum of two graduate courses) to demonstrate proficiency in another discipline related to their program of work (e.g., art history, film, folklore, philosophy, psychology). The relation of the discipline to the student's program must be defined in writing by the student and approved by the Graduate Advisor in consultation with the student's Area Advisor, before that work begins.

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