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Foreign Language Requirements
(Updated January 2016)
The foreign language examinations at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels are administered by the Department and are designed to test the student’s ability to use a language as an effective scholarly tool. Students needing additional preparation are urged to register for an intensive language course. All students are expected to take the foreign language examinations in French and German. Substitution of required foreign languages are at the discretion of the student’s advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.
All entering students must take their first foreign language examination in the first semester, customarily scheduled by the department for the second or third week of September. If the examination is not taken during the first semester, it will be considered an unsuccessful attempt. If a student fails the examination, another opportunity to take it will be given toward the end of the second semester, normally at the end of April or the first week of May. If the examination is failed a second time, the student will not be allowed to register for credit after that semester. Resumption of the program may be accomplished by passing the examination at a later time.
Ph.D. students must take their second foreign language examination at the beginning of the third semester, generally scheduled by the department for the latter part of September. M.A. students intending to continue in the Ph.D. program must take their second foreign language no later than the beginning of the fifth semester, customarily scheduled for the latter part of September.
About the Exam
1. Foreign language examinations will normally be administered during the second or third week of September. M.A. students are expected to fulfill their language requirement by taking one exam; Ph.D. students are expected to take two exams. All students are expected to take one exam in their first semester; Ph.D. students are expected to take their second examination at the beginning of the third semester. M.A. students intending to continue in the Ph.D. program must take their second foreign language at the beginning of the fifth semester
2. Graduate students will be given a foreign-language passage of approximately 500 words (plus appropriate illustrations). If the passage is part of a longer text, the 500-word limit will be marked.
3. The entire passage should be translated into readable English.
4. Students will be given two hours (with only a dictionary—non-electronic) to complete the translation. At the end of that time both the original text and the translation will be turned in. Students whose native language is not English may use an extra half-hour to polish their translations, though the original text will be taken away.
5. Faculty readers for each language will be designated in advance and notified of examination dates and grading deadlines. Readers will be given a clean copy of each original text as well as the student translations. The names of the readers as well as the names of the students taking the exam will be confidential.
6. The decision between pass and fail will depend on the readers’ assessment of whether the translation shows a working knowledge of the language, sufficient for advanced art historical and archaeological research.
7. Failure to take an exam when required will result in a failing grade. Any student who twice fails a required language exam may not register for graduate courses in ARTH or hold a Graduate or Teaching Assistantship until the exam has been passed.
8. Debbie Down, administrative secretary, will maintain a list of student test results. The faculty member overseeing the examinations will be responsible for consulting this list, ensuring that students who should be examined in a given term are indeed examined, and communicating the results to the graduate secretary.
9. Past examinations may be consulted in the administrative secretary’s office.