Language Exam Information

Exam Calendar

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Start date: Title:
5/2/2014 Humanities Language Exam
9/12/2014 Humanities Language Exam
10/17/2014 Humanities Language Exam
11/21/2014 Humanities Language Exam
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General Information

SAH Language Exam Policy

Most departments in the School of Arts and Humanities require reading proficiency in at least one foreign language for the M.A. or Ph.D. degrees (for individual department requirements, please refer to the Student Handbook for your department).  The School of Arts and Humanities policy on foreign language Research Tools is: Fulfillment of a language tool by demonstrating competency at translating an approved language into English--as distinct from completing another type of research tool (permitted by some SAH departments)--can only be achieved by passing an approved, written examination. This applies to all SAH students, including native speakers of the language under consideration.  Music students should contact Lynda Marquez, Music Department Secretary, for specific information and requirements regarding the language exam.

The Exam

The foreign language exam consists of an excerpt taken from a graduate-level text. Students are given two hours to translate the text into English and are expected to translate the majority of the text with precision and accuracy. Most importantly, the general meaning of the text should remain intact.  Non-native English speakers may take an extra 30 minutes to complete their translations. Exams are graded on a pass/fail basis. In case of failure, the student is allowed to repeat the exam.

CGU regularly offers exams in French, Spanish, German, and Latin. Students should refer to their department's Student Handbooks and/or their advisors for requirements about which language exam should be completed. 

If students wish to fulfill the language requirement by examination in a language other than those mentioned above, they must first receive written approval of their language choice from their department advisor. After approval, the student should inform the Arts and Humanities Program Coordinator, who will work with SAH staff and faculty to arrange an exam and grader. Because this process may be lengthy, students should inform the Arts and Humanities Program Coordinator at least two months before the exam date.

Things to Bring/Not Bring to the Exam

  • Students should bring:
    • pens/pencils
    • one book-form dictionary (e.g. English-French, English-German, etc.); electronic dictionaries are not allowed
  • The School of Arts and Humanities will provide:
    • a Blue Book
    • scratch paper

Preparing for the Exam

Practice Texts

Students preparing for the exam on their own may find the practice texts available in the booklet below useful.  It is also useful to practice translating journal articles or primary texts, which can be found via the library's databases.

Practice Exams Booklet for CLST, ENG, HIST, & PHIL Students

List of Study Texts for RELIGION Students


For those students who need instruction in the foreign language before taking the exam, the CGU Writing Center offers intensive courses (usually during the summer) in Spanish, French, and German for a fee. Students enrolled in these classes take the exam on the last day of class (the $25 fee for the exam is included in the price of the class). For more information about these classes, please visit the Writing Center’s webpage. Since these are non-credit courses, SAH does not provide tuition assistance.

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