Language Requirement

Candidates for the M.A. degree in English are required to certify their proficiency in a reading knowledge of a foreign language. Some emphases allow the requirement to be satisfied with 6 additional credits of graduate work in the major beyond the minimum total credits.

Ordinarily, students fulfill the requirement by establishing proficiency in one of the following languages:

    • French
    • German
    • Greek
    • Italian
    • Latin
    • Russian
    • Spanish
    • American Sign Language

A language not on this list may be chosen by students who can show its relevance to their degree programs.

A computer programming language may be used to waive language requirement for emphases that allow it. (True programming languages are acceptable; mark-up languages such as HTML and Cascading Style Sheets are not. The Graduate Committee must approve the particular language being proposed.)

Establishing Proficiency

Graduate students may establish proficiency in a foreign language in one of the following ways:

    1. By completing as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota 2 semesters of undergraduate language course work with a B- or better average and no grade lower than a C.
    2. By successfully completing the examination required at the end of intermediate-level language courses offered in Continuing Education and Extension.
    3. By successfully completing the examination required at the end of appropriate correspondence courses, such as French 0001 (French Reading), German 0221 and 0222 (Intermediate German), and Spanish 0221 (offered through the University of Minnesota Department of Independent Study) or similar courses offered in other university correspondence study programs.
    4. By presenting evidence of completion, within 5 years of applying for UMD certification, of 2 semesters or the equivalent of foreign language at the college level with a B- or better average and with no grade lower than a C. These courses may have been taken at the University of Minnesota or at another accredited college or university. One year of study is the equivalent of 12 quarter credits or 8 semester credits.
    5. By passing a language proficiency examination administered by a University of Minnesota foreign language department. The level of examination is that for a student who completed 1 year of a college intermediate-level foreign language course with an emphasis on reading and who has shown higher than average proficiency (i.e., a record of B- or better). (See "Language Proficiency Exam" for further information.)
    6. By receiving certification of reading proficiency from any institution in the United States whose credits are regularly accepted by the Graduate School. This prior official certification must be dated within 5 years of applying for UMD certification.

Language Proficiency Exam

English graduate students taking the language proficiency exam administered by the UMD Department of World Languages and Cultures will translate sample paragraphs into English. A dictionary may be used during this one-hour test.

Please contact the Department of World Languages and Cultures at least one week before you wish to take the exam.

Submitting Certification Forms

Certification of a language proficiency can be communicated to the University of Minnesota using one of two forms.

    1. A form signed by the Department of World Languages and Cultures means the certification will appear on the student's UMD transcripts, which may be helpful if these transcripts will be used later to establish proficiency in a PhD program or other academic/professional endeavor.
    2. A form signed by the English MA Program will satisfy the requirement without the certification appearing on the transcripts.

Current versions of both forms are available on this site's Forms Page.