Language Requirement

Before receiving the PhD degree, candidates must demonstrate an adequate reading ability in a language other than English.  Students who require a foreign language (or languages) for their dissertation research must take the language exam in that language.  In cases where the dissertation research involves only English-language sources, students may take the exam in French or another language.  The department holds language exams twice yearly (usually in November and April) in which candidates must successfully translate a passage from the language they have chosen into English, with the aid of a dictionary, but without the assistance of a lap-top computer. Exemption from the language exam may be granted under certain circumstances.  Several departments at the university offer courses to help students acquire a reading knowledge of a foreign language, such as French, German, or Russian.  Students who have successfully completed such a course at the third-year level or above, with at least a B (72%) average, can apply for exemption from the History Department's exam by submitting evidence of completion of the course to the graduate secretary.  Students who have completed the MA in History at UBC and have passed the language exam with first class (A) standing are not required to fulfill the requirement at the PhD level, unless the language(s) required for the PhD dissertation are not the same as the language examined for the MA degree.  The results from a pass/fail MA exam are not sufficient to waive this requirement. The department may also require evidence of the candidate's competence to use additional foreign languages deemed necessary for study and research in the candidate's PhD program.