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GPIS Foreign Language Requirement

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Foreign Language Requirement in GPIS


The GPIS Program would very much like to see you succeed in satisfying the Foreign Language Requirement (FLR) early in your graduate career.


Masters candidates may complete their language requirement either before or after their Comprehensive Exams, but must pass before their graduate tenure expires (MA: 6; PhD: 8). Extension of graduate tenure will only be considered for exceptional circumstances; documentation will be required. It is highly recommended that the FLR be completed before taking the Comprehensive Exams. Ph.D. candidates must fulfill the FLR before scheduling the Comprehensive Examination.


International students with a mother tongue other than English may receive a waiver from the Foreign Languages Department Chair provided they submit documentation (high school diploma, for example) that demonstrates aptitude in reading, writing, speaking and listening.


Level of Proficiency

For the purposes of meeting the language requirement in GPIS, all Master and Doctoral candidates should demonstrate language proficiency at the third-year college level, equivalent to the ACTFL Guidelines to Intermediate High reading level.


Intermediate High: Readers should be able to read consistently with full understanding simple connected texts dealing with basic personal and social needs about which the reader has personal interest and/or knowledge. Reader can get some main ideas and information from texts at the next higher level featuring description and narration. Structural complexity may interfere with comprehension; for example, basic grammatical relations may be misinterpreted and temporal references may rely primarily on lexical items. Has some difficulty with the cohesive factors in discourse, such as matching pronouns with referents. While texts do not differ significantly from those at the Advanced level, comprehension is less consistent. Readers may have to read material several times for understanding.


The Plan

All graduate students are expected to submit a written plan by the end of their first semester of their graduate study at ODU to the Assistant Director. The plan should clearly state how s/he would work to achieve the required language proficiency level.


In their first semester at ODU, students should take the graduate reading exam if their foreign language is: French, German, or Spanish. A translation exam is offered for: Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, or Italian. Less commonly taught languages will be considered on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Director; such examinations must be done either through ACTFL or a recognized military institute (all examination fees run at the cost of the student).


A passing score is 75%. Students scoring lower than 69% will be asked to complete elementary (101/102, 201/202 based on placement at the Testing Center) language courses at ODU or a local community college. Self-study (even with the aid of language software) has proven not to be an effective means of preparation. After successful completion of language course work, students may opt to continue with courses 311 & 312 or take the Foreign Language Exam.


Students scoring 69% or higher on their first placement exam may re-take the Foreign Language Exam. Exams can only be re-taken once every three months, so plan accordingly. Please see for more information regarding fees and scheduling an exam: http://al.odu.edu/llc/gpisreadingexam.shtml


Various Options

Below are the various options for fulfilling the language requirement:

a) French, German, Spanish


Option A: FR/GER/SPAN 311, FR/GER/SPAN 312 [minimum grade of B-]

Option B: Above courses through the Office of Experiential Learning

Option C: Single skill reading exam; multiple choice responses to be taken in the Language Learning Center [75% passing score].

b) Chinese, Japanese, Russian


Option A: CHIN/JAPN 311, CHIN/JAPN 312 [minimum grade of B-]

Option B: Above courses through the Office of Experiential Learning

Option C: Not available

Option D: Single skill reading exam: Translation [75% passing score; extract of 2-3 newspaper or news magazine articles]

c) Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew, Italian [languages not taught at the 300-level]


Option D: Single skill reading exam: Translation [75% passing score; extract of 2-3 newspaper or news magazine articles]

 To schedule a French, German, or Spanish reading exam, please contact: Ms. Betty Rose Facer (bfacer@odu.edu)


 To schedule a Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew or Italian translation exam, please contact: Dr. Angelica Huizar (ahuizar@odu.edu)


 Or, if you speak, read and write a language other than what is offered at ODU and you received general education (high school or undergraduate work) in that language you may petition for a waiver. Contact: Dr. Angelica Huizar (ahuizar@odu.edu)



I acknowledge and understand the guidelines of the GPIS Foreign Language Requirement and will submit a written plan as to how I will complete said requirement.

Acknowledgement made by _________________________________ Date _____________________

Plan _______________________________________________________________________________