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Department of English

Language Requirement

Candidates for the M.A. degree in English are required to establish proficiency in a reading knowledge of a foreign language. Alternatively, some emphases allow M.A. students the choice of satisfying the requirement by taking 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:



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


The form certifying completion of the foreign language requirement must be signed by a member of a university Foreign Language Department by the middle of the semester prior to the semester in which the comprehensive exams are taken.


A computer programming language may be used to waive language requirement for emphases that allow it. (Programming languages such as C++ and J2EE are acceptable; mark-up languages such as HTML 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 an undergraduate intermediate-level language course 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 preceding UMD certification, of 2 semesters or the equivalent of intermediate-level 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.) See the Language Certification Form (print out this form and bring it to the Department of Foreign Language & Literatures)
  6. By receiving, within 5 years preceding UMD certification, certification of reading proficiency from any institution in the United States whose credits are regularly accepted by the Graduate School. 


Language Proficiency Exam

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


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


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Last modified on 04/04/13 11:22 AM
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