Graduate Program in English - Foreign Language Requirements

What are the Foreign Language Requirements?

The study of literature is significantly enhanced by the study of language itself, perhaps most clearly the study of a language other than English. Indeed, many Ph.D. programs require competency in one or two foreign languages, for such work has long been understood to be an essential component of advanced study in literature.

To that end, the UAH English Department requires you to demonstrate such study of language, generally through establishing reading competence in one foreign language. You may establish this competence in either of two ways: coursework or examination. (Students with a native language other than English or students whose prior degree is in a non-English language generally may have the requirement waived, as may students who have already established language competence for a prior graduate degree.)

For the coursework option, you must have completed at least nine hours of college classes in a single language, with a grade of “B” or above, taken within five years of beginning your graduate study at UAH. Alternatively, during your M.A. coursework, you may also take courses in the UAH Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, culminating in the successful completion of FL202. (Please note that such work may be included in your Program of Study and thus be eligible for financial aid coverage, but will be charged at Graduate tuition levels.)

For the examination option, you will need to demonstrate satisfactory performance on a Reading Proficiency Exam prepared by the faculty of the UAH Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. The Foreign Language Reading Proficiency Exam consists of translations into English from two foreign language sources (1-2 pages each) in the student's area of interest. One translation is from a primary (literary/historical/cultural) text, the other from a secondary (scholarly) text. Use of a dictionary and a grammar is allowed. The test is offered in French, German, Russian, and Spanish, and must be completed in one sitting within 2.5 hours. Students should make an appointment with the pertinent FLL coordinator to agree on a possible selection of texts and to set the date for the exam. (In some rare instances, we have been able to provide examinations in other languages, but the onus will be on the student to identify an appropriate evaluator for the exam, and approval from the English Department for the language and the evaluator will be required.)

Alternatively, you may fulfill the requirement by studying language more broadly through work in linguistics (noting that such an option may not exempt you from language requirements should you ultimately choose to pursue a PhD). Two courses are appropriate options: EHL 505: Survey of General Linguistics or EHL 507: Advanced English Grammar Studies. (In some semesters EHL 509: Special Topics in Applied English Linguistics can also be used with departmental approval, but generally that course is not an appropriate substitute for one of the other options.) This course will be an additional class for students in the 30-hour Plan I or the 33-hour Plan II M.A. The M.A. plus Technical Writing Certificate and other programs with 36 or more hours may include this course in their programs of study.