Language Requirement

The principle underlying the language requirement is that scholarship in Anthropology at the MA or PhD level must include access to scholarly literature, not only in English, but also in at least one additional language. For some specialties, more than one additional language will be essential, but the minimal Departmental requirement for any student getting an MA or PhD in Anthropology is the ability to read scholarly literature in one additional language. This must be a language in which anthropologists (or, in some instances, related scholars under some other label) conduct scholarly meetings, present papers, and/or publish journals and books. Such requirements were written in many Anthropology departments at a time when this was taken to include only a handful of European languages, but it is by now quite clear that anthropologists produce scholarly work in a much larger number of languages than that.

Languages that have been considered appropriate for approval in particular cases in the relatively recent past include Bulgarian, Chinese, French, German Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swahili, and Turkish. Others would also be seen as appropriate, but have simply not been requested by any recent student. Languages the Graduate Studies Committee would not, as of this writing, recommend approving include Quechua, Aymara, and Nahuatl. These should be construed as precedents, although precedents can, of course, be overruled. For French, German, and Spanish there is a standard procedure for evaluation of language competence outlined in the graduate requirements. All students for whom it may be appropriate to satisfy the requirement with any language other than French, German, or Spanish, or who wish to certify their competence in French, German, or Spanish in some other way, should petition the Graduate Studies Committee, early in their programs of study, to assure approval of the desired languages, and of their plans for certifying language competency. It is not necessary to complete the plan of study or evaluation before asking the Graduate Studies Committee to approve it in principle.