Language Requirement

All students must present evidence of advanced knowledge of a language other than English and of its literature or culture prior to the start of their fourth year (before prelim exams). Students should choose a language that is appropriate for their specific field of inquiry, and should embark upon language study after consulting with their advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).

The language requirement should be fulfilled before a student takes the PhD preliminary examination; in fact, students should begin considering this requirement as soon as they begin graduate study.

Students may demonstrate advanced knowledge of a language in the following ways:

  • A graduate-level language course that culminates in a translation exam. Graduate students are advised to consider the foreign language offerings at UIC language departments which are targeted to their needs, such as “GER 400. German for Reading Knowledge,” or “FR 401. Reading French for Graduate Students”. Graduate students may request to take this class pass/fail; however, the department will need proof that the final translation exam received a B or better.

  • Four (4) semesters of college/university language study, with a grade of B or better in each course. Courses where readings are in translation may not be used. The last semester of study can be no more than 4 years prior to the student’s first year of graduate study.

  • Verifiable fieldwork or research in a foreign language.

  • A degree from a foreign university where English is not the primary language of instruction.

  • Being a native speaker of a language other than English.

  • A test administered by or through the Department of English of no more than two hours. The language test usually consists of a translation of a passage into English with the aid of a dictionary; a spoken component for the examination will be administered in appropriate cases.

  • A test of language proficiency from an MA degree from an accredited institution (must be noted on transcript).

For students with language-learning disabilities as documented by the UIC Disability Resource Center, alternate accomodation is possible in the form of 15 hours of culture coursework in a single culture.

Finally, in cases of languages where there is not a significant body of written material in the language, such as some Native American languages, courses focusing on grammar and conversation, or spoken fluency as demonstrated by testing, may be used.

These policies are subject to review by the DGS and the Graduate Studies Committee.