Language Study

Because knowledge of a foreign language is a valued skill and enhances cultural understanding, the Department of History requires all students to demonstrate, at a minimum, reading knowledge of at least one language other than English. Students must fulfill this requirement in order to pass their Second-Year Review, which normally occurs at the end of their fourth semester (see the current Graduate Handbook).

Many of our study programs require reading knowledge of or proficiency in more than one foreign language. The basic principle is that students should develop the command of languages that they need in order to master the historiography in their field and to conduct historical research. In general, language requirements may be satisfied by completing language courses or by examination.

For details on the programs’ requirements and on methods of satisfying their requirement(s), see the Graduate Handbook.

Language requirements for admission to graduate study: We have no formal requirements that students must meet in order to qualify for admission to our graduate program. However, applicants should bear in mind the requirements that they will need to meet during their graduate studies. In some programs, e.g., medieval European history and East Asian history, prior language preparation is expected. We encourage you to discuss expectations with the faculty members with whom you would like to work.

Resources for language learning are available on campus through the UW-Madison Language Institute and UW-Madison Continuing Studies