Graduate Language Examinations Policy and Guidelines - Master's Programs

While there is no general foreign language requirement in Graduate Studies, students wishing to demonstrate their competency in an ancient or modern foreign language may take a language examination.  Students should consult their program directors for any specific program-level language requirements.

The following guidelines and policies have been established for students in all Master’s programs in Graduate Arts and Sciences, with the exception of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Classics Program, which conduct their own examinations.

1.  Procedure
a.  Foreign language examinations are administered by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish), the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies (Arabic, Chinese, Irish, Japanese, Russian), or the Classical Studies Program in the Department of Humanities (Greek, Latin).
b. Students may take the language examination any time during their course of study; a GPA of at least 3.0 is required in order to take the examination.
c.  Students wishing to take the examination in any modern or ancient language should complete the application form.
d. Students should submit the form directly to the appropriate academic department for the language by the deadline specified in the academic calendar.
e.  After reviewing the application, the chairperson will submit a recommendation to the Office of Graduate Studies, which in turn informs the student whether they will be permitted to take the examination.

2.  Scheduling the Examinations
a.  The language examinations are given each term on the date and time specified in the graduate academic calendar.
b. The academic department determines the location and provides a proctor for the examination.

3. Instructions for Taking the Examinations
a.  Students must bring their Villanova University ID to the examination.
b. The use of print dictionaries is permitted; electronic dictionaries are not permitted.
c.  Students may not use their computers to write the examination. (Students with learning needs requiring the use of a computer must provide documentation to the department chairperson)

4. Content of the Examinations
a.  The entire examination is three hours in length.
b.  Students must translate two passages out of a choice of three. Each passage should be approximately 400 words in length. (This requirement may differ for Greek and Latin; see the director of the graduate program in Classical Studies for details.)
c.  The passages should be in the subject area of the student’s academic discipline.
d. In the case of Greek and Latin, the examination is prepared by the director of the graduate program in Classical Studies, in consultation with the program director of the student’s discipline.
e.  In the case of modern languages, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures prepares the examination in consultation with the program director of the student’s discipline.
f.  Different texts should be used each time the examination is given.

5.  Evaluation of Examinations
a.  Examinations are graded on a Pass/Fail basis by members of the academic department with the appropriate linguistic experience.
b.  The minimum expectation for a grade of pass is that the student has demonstrated that s/he has accurately understood the passage’s basic content: its ideas, arguments, and reasoning.
c.  Examinations should be graded within three weeks.
d. Graders will inform the student’s graduate program directorof the examination results, who in turn informs the Graduate Studies Office.
e.  Students’ examinations will be retained by the academic department for five years from the examination date.

6. Grade or Waiver for Language Examination

Here is the form that must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office (pass/fail/waiver). Only pass and waiver will be posted on students' transcripts.

7. Re-taking the Examination
Students who do not pass the language examination may retake it, but not within the same semester.  The examination may be re-taken up to three times; each re-examination should use different passages.


Revised, October 16, 2017

Approved: Adele Lindenmeyr, Dean, CLAS

                 Christine Palus, Dean of Graduate Studies, CLAS