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College of Arts & Sciences

Foreign Language Requirement for History Graduate Programs

Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. students with a national or regional dissertation field outside U.S. or British history are expected to demonstrate proficiency in at least one language other than English. The dissertation adviser, in consultation with the student and Director of Graduate Studies, may determine that a student must develop proficiency in additional languages as necessary for the completion of his or her degree. 

Please note that Ph.D. students working in U.S. or British history, particularly those working on topics in diplomatic history, may need and be required to develop and demonstrate proficiency in one or more languages other than English. Any such determination shall be made by the dissertation or thesis adviser in consultation with the student and the Director of Graduate Studies. 

Proficiency shall be certified by the dissertation adviser, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.  The means by which a student develops and demonstrates proficiency shall be pre-agreed between the student and his or her dissertation adviser, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. The means by which a student develops and demonstrates proficiency may include formal coursework and/or a translation exam. 

After completing all required course work and language requirements, a Ph.D. student will take written and oral comprehensive exams in his or her three fields of study. Following the successful completion of these exams, the student will write and defend a dissertation prospectus and, ultimately, the dissertation itself. Prospectus and dissertation committees consist of three faculty members in history and one Ohio University faculty member from another department or school.

M.A. Program

There is no language requirement under either option. However, a thesis supervisor may require a student to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English if necessary for the completion of his or her degree program. This is typically the case in thesis-option fields outside U.S. or British history. For instance, a student pursuing a thesis-option M.A. in German history would be expected to use German language sources in writing his or her thesis.

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