Graduate Language Exam

Graduate students of Architecture, Mathematics, Linguistics & Philosophy, and the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology & Society are expected to show second-language proficiency as part of their departmental requirements. For students who plan to show proficiency in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, MIT Global Languages will administer the Graduate Language Exam (GLE). If the student wishes to be examined in a language not listed here, the student should contact the graduate department’s graduate administrator for the department to arrange the exam.

The GLE will be administered on according to following rules and procedures:

  1. Candidates select texts (books, articles) relevant to their discipline and approved by their faculty advisors to be used as the source materials for the exam (i.e., passages for translation). 
  2. Candidates download and fill out the GLE Application and obtain signatures from their faculty advisors.  
  3. Candidates deliver the completed and signed application form to the Global Languages Academic Administrator, Joyce Roberge, in 14N-310 along with the chosen text(s). She will then provide the materials to the appropriate GL instructor who will serve as the language examiner. l. 
  4. Within three weeks of delivering the completed application form and texts, the language examiner will select two distinct passages of approximately 40 lines each (at 70 characters per line length). One passage will be of a general nature, the other more technical.  
  5. The GL Academic Administrator (Joyce) will return the selected passages to the department’s graduate administrator in the candidate’s home department, and the administrator will arrange for proctoring within the department. The graduate administrator will send the completed translations back to Joyce who will hand them off to the language examiner for review. Hand-written translations should be completely legible and done in blue books. 
  6. For examination procedures, the candidates must be provided with a quiet space and allowed two hours uninterrupted to translate both passages. Additionally, departments may set their own testing parameters, including rules on the use of electronic devices or access to online references such as dictionaries. 
  7. Judgment as to the accuracy of the translations rests with the Global Languages examiner. Failure to complete both passages will usually result in a non-passing result. Furthermore, the examiner may request oral clarification of ambiguous translations should the need arise. If necessary, use of a dictionary may be permitted during the oral clarification. 
  8. To have the results by the end of a given term (fall or spring), the translated passages must be turned in by the second week of November in the fall or the second week of April in the spring. For translated passages received after these deadlines, the results will be provided by the end of the following term. For spring 2024, the completed GLE must be turned in to Global Languages by Friday, April 12, 2024, to have the results by the end of May.