Proficiency in English and at least one other language is essential for a successful career in international affairs and thus a requirement for graduation from the MSFS program. The MSFS program assesses language proficiency in the following ways:
Language Placement Exam
Prior to the start of classes, entering MSFS students take language placement exams to determine which level of language study they should pursue at Georgetown, if at all. Students whose native language is not English may declare English as their proficiency language, or may select a different non-native language for their proficiency requirement. Students whose native language is English take the appropriate Foreign Language Placement Exam for the language(s) they intend on studying/passing proficiency. Placement exams are currently offered in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Modern Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish and are administered by the appropriate language department of Georgetown University. Turkish, Persian, Korean, Polish and Ukranian are also available by appointment. Students wishing to demonstrate proficiency in a language not currently listed should discuss this with the MSFS Director of Academic Affairs after the Add/Drop period. The results of the Language Placement Exam, which are distributed by the language departments, indicate the appropriate course enrollment for students needing additional language training. A student will decide when s/he is ready to attempt the Oral Language Proficiency Exam.
Students who are advised to take English or other foreign language course(s) before proceeding to the Language Proficiency Exam should enroll for an additional (fifth) course during their first semester. Language courses taken prior to passing the Language Proficiency Exam must be taken for a letter grade -- not audited or taken on a pass/fail basis. Students who do not pass the Language Proficiency Exam by the end of their first year may take additional language courses during the summer at their own expense. Language courses do not count for course credit toward the MSFS degree; grades received in language courses do not count in determining the student's grade point average (GPA); full-time students can apply for language scholarships from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to cover the costs of language credits.
At the appropriate time, either after completing the Language Placement Exam or after taking one or more language courses, each MSFS student must pass an Oral Language Proficiency Exam in his or her second language with a grade of "good" or better. The responsibility for scheduling, administering and judging the Oral Language Proficiency Exam rests with the appropriate language departments. MSFS students are notified of the schedule and contact information for the exam, but it is the responsibility of the student to contact the appropriate language department, obtain relevant information regarding the content and procedure of the exam and schedule a time for his or her exam. The language departments normally require advanced registration for the Oral Language Proficiency Exam and charge fees to students who must reschedule or retake an exam due to absence or failure. MSFS strongly encourages all students to take and pass the Oral Language Proficiency Exam as soon as possible after enrolling in the Program.