Foreign Language Requirements

The MA in History ("research" option), the MA in Humanities ("research" option), the MA in Latin American Studies, and the PhD in Humanities all require demonstration of reading proficiency in a foreign language.

The foreign languages automatically acceptable for satisfying the language requirement for degrees in History and Humanities are: Chinese, French, German, classical Greek, Italian, Latin and Spanish. The foreign languages automatically acceptable for satisfying the language requirement for the degree in Latin American Studies are: Spanish and Portuguese.

Doctoral students normally use the same language with which they satisfied the requirement for the MA to satisfy the requirement for the PhD.

Requirement for the MA Degrees

Students satisfy the foreign language requirement for the MA by means of a proficiency examination, which they must pass before they submit their proposals for the MA portfolio, thesis, or capstone project to 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, 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.

The proficiency examination is scheduled through the Graduate Admissions Coordinator in the Arts & Humanities Office (JO 4.510).

Students may also take review courses in some languages (HUMA 6320-6323) and advanced language workshops (HUMA 6330-6333) 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.

Requirement for the PhD Degree

Students admitted to the PhD program from universities other than UT Dallas 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 MA students.

In addition, doctoral students must demonstrate 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 6380) once, or they may undertake readings and research in the context of an independent study.

Once doctoral students have demonstrated the scholarly use of their chosen language, faculty  members should send the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies a memo stating the student’s name, the course number (plus semester and year) in which proficiency was demonstrated, a brief description of how proficiency was demonstrated, and full bibliographic citation of the text(s) used.

PhD students may use only courses taken after they have passed the proficiency examination to satisfy the doctoral language requirement.

Students must satisfy the PhD foreign language requirement prior to taking qualifying examinations.

As part of its approval of a dissertation proposal, the Graduate Studies Committee will consider the appropriateness of a candidate's language preparation for the research or creative project.

Modifications in the Graduate Language Requirements

Students may seek modifications in any of the provisions of the graduate language requirements but only by petition to the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, who must approve any changes or waivers.

Because of the current makeup of the Arts and Humanities faculty, the languages most commonly chosen to fulfill the requirements are Chinese, French, German, classical Greek, Italian, Latin or Spanish. On the recommendation of a student's advisor (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 MA or the PhD degree.

Graduate students whose first languages are non-European languages may petition 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 computer-based total of 90) on an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The Language Proficiency Examination

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 must take a break between the two parts.

Students have two hours to translate each passage, which is approximately 500 words in length. Students cannot take anything into the testing room; we will provide a dictionary, paper, and writing implements.

Individual arrangements to take the examination are made with the Graduate Admissions Coordinator in JO 4.510 (phone 972-883-4419). Students taking a language workshop (HUMA 6330-6333) 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.

Foreign Language Supervisors

CHINESE ITALIAN
J. Michael Farmer Tim Redman
Ming Dong Gu Rene Prieto
  Mark Rosen
  Rainer Schulte
   
FRENCH LATIN
Pam Gossin Pam Gossin
Mihai Nadin Charles Hatfield
David Patterson Tom Linehan
Peter Park Mihai Nadin
Rene Prieto  
Rainer Schulte  
Charissa Terranova  
Theresa Towner  
Michael Wilson  
 
GERMAN SPANISH
Charles Bambach Sean Cotter
Mihai Nadin Maria Engen
Zsuzsanna Ozsvath Charles Hatfield
Peter Park Tom Lambert
David Patterson Jessica Murphy
Nils Roemer Rene Prieto
Rainer Schulte Monica Rankin
  Rainer Schulte
   
GREEK  
Dennis Kratz  
Mihai Nadin  

The following language must be approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies:

Hebrew: David Patterson
Hungarian: Zsuzsanna Ozsvath
Portuguese: Tom Lambert, Charles Hatfield, Monica Rankin
Romanian: Sean Cotter
Russian: Mihai Nadin, David Patterson
Turkish: Cihan Muslu
Yiddish: David Patterson