Language Study and Language Exams

Modern Languages

Having passed the reading exam in French or German at the beginning of the first year of study, the student should demonstrate adequate reading competence in the other of those two languages no later than the end of his or her third semester of residence. This demonstration may be accomplished by passing an exam administered by a faculty member or by receiving an honors grade in German 12 ('German for Reading') or in a similar course in French, if offered.

Students in Sanskrit will benefit from studying Hindi at some stage of their graduate career and are encouraged to do so, if possible; Hindi is an important scholarly language for some fields of research and will allow the scholar to make better contact with traditional Indian scholars when conducting research in India. If the study of other South Asian languages is necessary or advisable for a student's program, it may be possible to arrange for coursework or examination in conjunction with other institutions, summer institutes, etc.

Sanskrit Exams

Students must pass the General Sanskrit Reading Exam no later than May of their third year of residence in the program. They must pass their Special Sanskrit Reading Exam no later than December in their seventh semester of residence. Each exam is a four-hour exam consisting of two two-hour segments. In each exam, one segment will require the student to translate a set of passages at sight and another segment will require the translation of a set of passages with the consultation of a dictionary allowed. These exams will be administered twice a year as needed, once in December and again in May. Students should take the general exam every semester of residence until they pass it and they should work out a program of work for their special exam with the Professor of Sanskrit at the conclusion of their first year of residence.

Qualifying Exams

These consist of two four-hour written examinations, one in the student’s major field and another in a secondary field. The focus, scope, and reading lists for these examinations will be worked out on an individual basis, in view of the research agendas of each student. The major field exam should be passed no later than the end of the sixth semester of residence and should serve as a platform for the formulation of the dissertation prospectus. The student should pass the secondary field exam no later than the eighth semester of residence.