Foreign Language Requirements
The M.A. in History ("research" option), the M.A. in Humanities ("research" option), and the Ph.D. in Humanities all require demonstration of reading proficiency in a foreign language.
The foreign languages automatically acceptable for satisfying theses requirements are:
French, German, classical Greek, Italian, Latin, Spanish.
Normally students use the same language to satisfy the requirements for both degrees, but they must satisfy the requirements for each degree separately, as specified below.
- Requirement for the M.A. Degree
- Requirement for the Ph.D. Degree
- Modifications in the Graduate Language Requirement
- The Language Proficiency Examination
- Foreign Language Supervisors
Students satisfy the foreign language requirement for the M.A. by means of a proficiency examination, which they must pass before or as they submit their portfolio proposals for the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
The proficiency examination is a four-hour translation exercise. The exam itself consists of two passages, a primary text and a secondary or critical work in the student's general area of interest (aesthetic studies, history of ideas, or literary studies). Students may use a dictionary and will have two hours to work on each passage, which will be about 500 words in length.
They should translate as much of the individual passages as they can in the allotted time. The students are not expected to achieve a literary translation, but they must present a draft in clear comprehensible English prose. Although they need not necessarily complete the entire passage, the less they translate the more accurate and idiomatic the English rendition should be. In evaluating proficiency, the faculty readers will weigh the length and quality of the translation as well as the difficulty of the passage itself.
Students may retake the examination until they pass it, but they may not retake it within three months of an earlier attempt.
Students may also take review courses in some languages (HUMA 6320-6323) and advanced language workshops (HUMA 7320-7323) to help prepare themselves for the appropriate proficiency examination, which serves as the final exam for an advanced workshop. These review courses and workshops do not count, however, toward minimum course requirements for the degree.
Students admitted to the Ph.D. program from universities other than UTD must pass a language proficiency examination in an approved foreign language within one calendar year (in the case of full-time students) or within two calendar years (in the case of part-time students) of their entry. The examination will be equivalent to that required for M.A. students.
Students satisfy the doctoral language requirement by demonstrating their active use of the foreign language at an advanced level in two courses. For this purpose, they may undertake readings and research in regular organized courses, they may meet one half the requirement by taking the Art and Craft of Translation (HUSL 7321) once, or they may arrange for Advanced Independent Studies in Foreign Languages (designated 7330-7335). These advanced independent studies courses will not count toward minimum course requirements for the degree, however, and students using them are strongly advised to undertake readings and translations that address the substantive work in their qualifying exam fields.
Ph.D. students may use only courses taken after they have passed the proficiency examination to satisfy the doctoral language requirement.
Students must satisfy the Ph.D. foreign language requirement prior to taking qualifying examinations.
As part of its approval of a dissertation proposal, the Graduate Studies Committee will vote on the appropriateness of a candidate's language preparation for the research or creative project.
Students may seek modifications in any of the provisions of the graduate language requirements but only by petition (usually through their advisers) to the associate dean for graduate studies, who must approve any changes or waivers.
Because of the current makeup of the Arts & Humanities faculty, the languages most commonly chosen to fulfil the requirements have been French, German, classical Greek, Italian, Latin, or Spanish. On the recommendation of a student's adviser (or the chair of the supervisory committee), however, the associate dean may approve substitution of another language, although it must be appropriate to the student's research topic.
The graduate program does not regard computer languages as foreign languages, so they do not satisfy the foreign-language requirement for either the M.A. or the Ph.D. degree.
Graduate students whose first languages are non-European languages may petition (usually through their advisers) the associate dean of graduate studies to consider English proficiency as meeting the program's foreign-language requirement, especially if their research here would involve their native languages or probably would not involve one of the automatically approved European languages. They may demonstrate their English proficiency either by possession of a degree from an accredited English-language university or by a score no lower than 580 (or no lower than a 237 computer-based total) on an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (a TOEFL exam).
Administration of the Language Exam
Normally both passages of the examination, the primary text and the critical or secondary work, are to be translated on the same day, though students may take a break between the two parts.
Students may use a dictionary and have two hours to translate each passage, which is approximately 500 words in length.
Individual arrangements to take the examination are made with the graduate secretary in JO 4.510 (phone 972-883-2756). Students taking a language workshop (HUMA 7320-7323) to prepare for the proficiency exam, however, must take the translation examination as the final for the course.
Grading of the Language Exam
To allow for "blind" readings of the examination, the identity of the student is not revealed to the faculty graders.
Generally, the translations are evaluated by two regular faculty members, both of whom must evaluate the translation as acceptable in order for the student to pass this portion of the exam. Should they disagree, however, a third faculty reading will decide the outcome.
Students are not expected to achieve a literary translation, but they must present a draft in clear comprehensible English prose. Although they need not necessarily complete the entire passage, the less they translate the more accurate and idiomatic the English rendition should be. In evaluating proficiency, the faculty readers will weigh the length and quality of the translation as well as the difficulty of the passage itself.
Students who do not pass the language exam may retake it as many times as are necessary to pass it, though they may retake it only at three-month intervals.
J. Michael Farmer
Ming Dong Gu
Hungarian: Zsuzsanna Ozsvath
Portuguese: Tom Lambert
Romanian: Sean Cotter
Russian: Mihai Nadin
Turkish: Cihan Muslu