Graduate Reading Proficiency in Languages Other than English

Students in various graduate programs at Western Michigan University may be asked to take the graduate reading proficiency exam through the Department of Spanish or the Department of World Languages and Literatures.

Scheduling, registration and fee

  • The exam is held once each semester, in late October and mid-to-late March. It is not offered in summer.
  • Students or their home departments will pay a $50 fee to either the Department of Spanish or the Department of World Languages and Literatures at the time of registering for the exam. See Madeline Alonso in 419 Sprau for processing.
  • Please contact Dr. Natalio Ohanna to schedule an exam in Spanish. For other languages, contact the appropriate faculty member.

Format and grading

  • Each student or home department will provide the examiner with three primary texts and three secondary books or texts of ample length at least two weeks in advance of the exam. Students should follow the guidelines outlined by their department upon selecting these texts.
  • The examiner will select a primary passage to translate of 300 to 400 words and a secondary passage to translate of 300 to 400 words, for a total of 600 to 800 words.
  • The exam will last up to three hours.
  • One hard-copy dictionary may be used.
  • The exam will be graded on a pass-fail basis, with pass being a level corresponding to a grade of B.

Coursework in lieu of the exam

  • Students may satisfy the graduate reading proficiency in languages other than English by taking FREN or GER 5000 and 5010 or SPAN 5020 and passing with at least a B.
  • For those graduate students who may wish to take undergraduate courses to satisfy the language requirement, their home departments (English, history) will make a decision about the level required and the specific course in a given language (e.g., 3160 in French, German or Spanish)