Second Language Requirement

Normally, all students must take and pass an examination in French, German, Latin, or Greek before being admitted to doctoral candidacy. Students wishing for an exemption from the language requirement, if working within Anglo-American philosophy, can do so by applying to their advisory committee to replace that examination with one prepared by the advisory committee in philosophical logic. The particular language for the language examination will be chosen in consultation with the students’ advisory committee, and will be graded by one of the advisory committee members, or, if someone strong enough in the language is unavailable in the committee, then by another faculty member named by the Dean of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Chair.

It is strongly suggested that students take the examination before preparing for their comprehensive examination, in order to work on their area of study, if applicable, in the original language. Students can take the language examination a maximum of two times and students are expected to pass with a minimum of a “B.” Demonstration of proficiency will be determined in accordance with the governing general regulation of the School of Graduate Studies (General Regulations, Evaluation, Evaluation of Graduate Students). Here are details of the examination:

  1. The student will have up to three hours for the examination.
  2. The examination shall be scheduled with the departments’ graduate coordinator at least one month prior to the examination.
  3. The student may bring a print dictionary, but no electronic devices.
  4. The student will translate a passage or passages that amount to one single-spaced page of text (about 500 words). The passage should be one that derives from texts that come from the student’s likely area of study.

Here is the grading rubric:
A “B” grade or above does not require grace in translation so much as one that is grammatically faithful to the text, is precise about the meaning of the text in terms of translation choices for particular words and idiomatic expressions. Errors that change the meaning of the text in a significant manner will be taken as more meaningful than typographical or minor errors. Failures of comprehension may occur in one or two isolated places and still result in a sufficiently passing grade.




Department of Philosophy

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000