Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement

Most Elliott School M.A. programs require proficiency in one foreign language. The methods to meet this requirement vary depending on the program. These reflect the requirements for current students only. Prospective students should refer to their intended program page for foreign language prerequsites needed for their application.


Timeline

Online self-administered diagnostic examination must be taken by the end of the first semester and before registering for the language proficiency test or the 1-credit professional skills language courses.

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Placement Examination late August

Pre-registration for the Fall semester foreign language proficiency tests October

Fall semester foreign language proficiency tests November

Pre-registration for the Spring semester foreign language proficiency tests February

Spring semester foreign language proficiency tests March-April

NOTE: Currently enrolled students will receive via email the pre-registration announcement for the foreign language proficiency tests from the Office of Graduate Student Services.

 


Required Levels for Foreign Language Proficiency

Language

Reading

Speaking

Arabic

Advanced (MES students)

Intermediate High

Advanced (MES students)

Intermediate High

Chinese

Intermediate High

Intermediate High

French

Advanced

Intermediate High

German

Advanced

Intermediate High

Hebrew

Intermediate High

Intermediate High

Italian

Advanced

Intermediate High

Japanese

Intermediate High

Intermediate High

Korean

Intermediate High

Intermediate High

Persian

Advanced (MES Students)

Intermediate High

Advanced (MES Students)

Intermediate High

Portuguese

Advanced

Intermediate High

Russian

Advanced (EES Students)

Intermediate High

Intermediate High

Spanish

Advanced

Intermediate High

 


Online Self-Administered Diagnostic Examinations

Students who are in M.A. degree programs with a foreign-language proficiency requirement and who did not meet this requirement with university-level course work prior to enrollment must take an online self-administered diagnostic examination in the foreign language that they would like to use to demonstrate the required proficiency. This diagnostic examination must be taken before the end of the first semester after enrollment; and students will not be able to register to take the Elliott School foreign language proficiency examination without first taking the online diagnostic examination. Students who wish to enroll in an Elliott School one credit professional skills language course must also take the relevant diagnostic examination before registration and receive a score in at least the “intermediate-level” range.

Students are exempt from the diagnostic examination requirement if they intend to fulfill the language requirement in a language that the Elliott School does not offer a diagnostic test for.

Students may take the online diagnostic examination in more than one language. If a student would like to retake the diagnostic examination in the same language, one should not do so unless an interval of at least two months has passed. These diagnostic examinations provide only a rough estimate of one’s language proficiency. Therefore, a certain score is no guarantee that one will pass the proctored language proficiency test at the required level.

Diagnostic Examinations

Arabic Diagnostic Exam

Chinese Diagnostic Exam

French Diagnostic Exam

German Diagnostic Exam

Italian Diagnostic Exam  

Japanese Diagnostic Exam

Korean Diagnostic Exam

Portuguese Diagnostic Exam *(students should also take the Portuguese oral exam)

Portuguese Oral Exam

Russian Diagnostic Exam

Spanish Diagnostic Exam

 


One-Credit Professional Skills Courses

The Elliott School currently offers one-credit professional skills language courses (IAFF 6504) in these languages:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Students with intermediate-level proficiency may take these courses to improve their language ability and to prepare for the language proficiency examination. In order to enroll in these courses, students must first take the online diagnostic test in the corresponding language and achieve a score in at least the intermediate-level range. For non-regional studies M.A. programs, students may fulfill their language requirement by demonstrating the required level of language proficiency in the context of this one-credit course through an evaluation administered by the instructor. Students in the M.A. regional studies program may use this one-credit course to improve their language skills, but they must still take the Elliott School language proficiency test.


Other Options to Satisfy the Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement


Elliott School graduate students in non-regional studies programs may also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement through prior coursework. Students will need to work with their academic advisor to show that they have completed six semesters worth of foreign language study at an accredited institution, with a grade of "B" or higher in the sixth course. In addition, this final course must have been taken within three years of the semester and year that the student began courses at the Elliott School. 

Students in non-regional studies programs may also show proficiency through formal language testing through a language testing institute. Students are pre-approved to take tests through:

- Language Testing International (LTI)

- International Center for Language Studies (ICLS)

ICA Languages

- The International Language Institute (ILI)


Students who opt for this option are responsible for the full cost of the exam and must take both a reading and speaking exam in order to show proficiency. Official results must be sent directly to [email protected] or mailed to 1957 E Street NW, Suite 603, Washington, DC 20052.