Skip to content

Languages

The entering student should have a command of two languages besides English, one of which, at the M.A. level only, may be presented as a research language.  Knowledge of the “literary” languages should be at a sufficiently advanced level so as to allow the student to take advanced courses in the respective literatures in other literature departments at UIUC.  The languages presented by the student must coincide with the literatures chosen for the major and minor literatures.  

There are several ways of certifying competence in a research language.  In our Program, competence is normally defined as the equivalent of having completed two years of college study in that language (that is, through the 104 level).  Competence may be certified by actually completing the fourth semester of language study at UIUC with a grade of B or better, or with “credit”.  Merely completing the 500 and 501 language sequence is not considered sufficient for research competence in the respective language.  The student who chooses the 500-501 sequence must subsequently certify competence by passing the equivalent of the final exam in 104 with a grade of B.

For students majoring in European and/or American literatures before 1800, Latin is required either as a research language or as a literary field.  Students concentrating on the earlier periods of a national literature (before 1500 in the case of European literatures; a different chronology is applied in the case of other literatures) are responsible for the earlier forms of the respective language (which does not necessarily count as a separate language for the purposes of fulfilling the research language requirement; this is at the discretion of the DGS).  Students concentrating on the modern periods of their literatures are not required to know the linguistic history of their literatures but are encouraged to do so.   The presentation of a classical language either as a field or as a research language relevant to the student’s specializations is encouraged though not required.  Classical languages are, for instance, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Classical Chinese, etc.

Applicants for whom English is not a native language should present one of the following TOEFL scores as a minimum:  103 on the TOEFL iBT exam; 257 on the computer-based TOEFL; or 613 on the paper-based TOEFL.  Note that these scores are above those set by the Graduate College for general admission to a number of other fields.  This minimum-score policy will be reviewed periodically and adjusted if necessary.