Language Requirements

English Proficiency

Proficiency in English is assumed of all students. Students whose work demonstrates they are not prepared to write an acceptable English thesis are required to make up this deficiency (normally at their own expense) prior to the acceptance of their thesis proposal.

Research Languages

In addition to specific language requirements indicated for the areas of concentration, all students in history/theology must pass written examinations in two research languages. International students whose native language is other than English may use English as one research language by proving competency in English composition (as approved by the Graduate Theological Education Office).

Students in pastoral care and counseling and congregational mission and leadership must demonstrate proficiency in one modern research language and in research methods in the social sciences, normally statistics (as approved by the faculty). Again, International students whose native language is other than English may use English as this research language by proving competency in English composition (as approved by the Graduate Theological Education Office).

Because of its importance in theological studies, German is normally one of the research languages for all students. The second language is normally Latin, French, or Spanish (or English for international students).  Other languages may be required depending on the topic of the thesis.

Students wishing to substitute another language for German or to be examined in any language other than English, French, German, Latin or Spanish must petition the Graduate Committee for permission to do so. Primary consideration is given to the relevance of the request to the student's planned research.

Both language examinations must be passed before the comprehensive examination proposal is submitted. Language examinations are administered by the Office of Graduate Theological Education during the week prior to the start of the fall and spring semesters. Dictionaries and grammars may be used. The criterion for a passing grade is the demonstrated ability to make regular research use of the language.

Particular theses or areas of research may entail the mastery of languages in addition to the requirements listed above. While students would not be tested in such languages, the necessity and use thereof would be determined by the thesis adviser in consultation with the student.