Language Requirements

Language Requirements

The languages required for the PhD vary according to the student's major area of interest and are generally determined by the student's advisor and committee. The following represents a baseline--more may be required based on a student's area of interest and topic.

Language exams are taken during registration week in September. All language requirements must be passed prior to the preliminary examination.

Continental European History

A reading knowledge of at least two languages, including either French or German. The director of the student's major field may require additional language as well. Medievalists must have a reading knowledge of Latin, in addition to the language most relevent to their research.

Proficiency in at least one of the languages must be satisfactorily demonstrated in September of the first year, so that students will be able to undertake research during their first summer. Students who fail to pass one examination at that time must retake and pass it before being allowed to register for a second year. The second langauge requirement must be passed before the student is allowed to take the preliminary examination.

English and British History

A reading knowledge of either French or German. With the consent of the major advisor another language may be substituted. The director of the student's major field may require additional language as well.

East Asian History

Proficiency in Japanese or in Chinese, equivalent to the completion of Chinese 70-80, plus Chinese 104 and/or Chinese 109 or their equivalents.

Proficiency in a second foreign language. Before taking the preliminary examination the student must have passed the examination in the second language.

Latin American History

A reading knowledge of at least two languages, including either Spanish or Portuguese. The director of the student's field may require additional langauge as well.

Proficiency in at least one of the languages must be satisfactorily demonstrated in September of the first year, so that students will be able to undertake research during their first summer. Students who fail to pass one examination at that time must retake and pass it before being allowed to register for a second year. The second language requirement must be passed before the student is allowed to take the preliminary examination.

Middle East History

Advanced proficiency in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish, as well as a second relevant language chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.  (For purposes of this requirement Ottoman Turkish and Turkish constitute one language).

Proficiency in Arabic, Persian, or Turkish must be satisfactorily demonstrated in September of the first year, so that students will be able to undertake research during their first summer. Proficiency in the second language must be satisfactorily demonstrated by the end of the second year. 

U.S. History

The language requirement is set by each director of the student's major field.