Ph.D. Foreign Language Requirement
Programs that have a foreign language requirement may select one of the following options. They may also establish more stringent requirements.
This option requires a reading knowledge of two languages. Students may pass both by examination or one by examination and the other by completing a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence with an average grade of B or better. For one of the two languages, an upper division foreign language course that requires a four-semester (or six-quarter) course sequence as a prerequisite satisfies the requirement. Course sequences of four semesters (six quarters) in a certified language completed at any UC campus also automatically fulfill the requirement for one of the languages. If students take courses at other institutions, the Graduate Division must validate the courses. Students must have completed any foreign language course sequence, whether taken at UC or elsewhere, within four years of admission to Berkeley. If a student completed an appropriate course sequence as an undergraduate, or if the student’s high school or undergraduate institution conducted courses in an approved language, the Head Graduate Adviser should petition the Graduate Division to recognize that student has fulfilled the language requirement. This request should be made at the time the student is admitted to graduate standing at Berkeley. Regarding the requirement that one or both of the two languages be passed by examination, the Graduate Council directs that a passage of at least 300 words be translated into English within a time limit of 90 minutes, with or without a dictionary at the option of the program faculty. Examinations may be conducted by departments, groups, or any outside testing agency that has been approved by the Graduate Division, such as the Educational Testing Service, which adheres to the Graduate Council’s minimum policy.
The student is expected to demonstrate an exceptionally thorough reading knowledge and an adequate knowledge of the grammatical structure of one language. Knowledge is tested by a written examination consisting of a translation of a passage of about 1,000 words on a subject appropriate to the student’s major field of interest. The examination is limited to three hours and the translation is to be made without the aid of a dictionary. The translation must show an accurate comprehension of the meaning of the language text, and since the language text is in the student’s discipline, the translation should use the correct English technical terms.
Requirements are as for Option 1, but involve only one language. Students may pass by examination or by course work. The examination requires the translation of a passage of at least 300 words into English within a time limit of 90 minutes, with or without a dictionary at the choice of the program faculty. As in the case of Option 1, examinations may be conducted by a department, a graduate group, or an approved outside agency. The course work required is a foreign language course sequence of four semesters (or six quarters), whether taken at UC or elsewhere, within four years of admission to Berkeley. For acceptable exceptions and the timing of requests, see above under Option 1.