Language Requirement


A degree-seeking student at Mount Holyoke is expected to study a language other than English while matriculated at the College. She can satisfy the language requirement in a number of ways. Preferably by the end of the sophomore year she should either:

  • complete a formal two-semester elementary course sequence in a foreign language new to her or for which she has little or inadequate preparation. (The self-instructional and mentored language courses offered through the Five College Center for World Languages cannot be used to meet the Mount Holyoke language requirement.)
  • complete a designated one-semester foreign language course or foreign literature course taught in the foreign language at the intermediate level or above.

A student whose first language is not English can satisfy the language requirement if:

  • she can document that she attended a secondary school (grades 9-12) for at least one year at which instruction was conducted in a language other than English.
  • she can document that she attended a secondary school outside of the U.S. (grades 9-12) at which the language of instruction was English, but she elected a language or literature course taught in her native language.
  • she has an O-level, A-level, or GSCE language result (for students from India, this would be a Grade X or Grade XII) or has an official record of a college-level course in her native language.

If a student meets at least one of the criteria listed immediately above and wishes to be exempted from the language requirement, she must contact Geoffrey Sumi, Dean of Studies, who will review the student’s records and inform the Registrar's Office if he determines that the language requirement has been fulfilled.  Note that international students are not exempted automatically from the language requirement.

Once a student matriculates at Mount Holyoke, if she takes a formal course at another institution in one of the languages taught at Mount Holyoke, and wants to apply credits from this course towards the language requirement or towards requirements for her major or minor, she must receive permission from the relevant department or program, even if the registrar allows the credits to be applied towards total credits for graduation. Departments and programs usually ask to see a syllabus, textbook, and coursework; they may also ask a student to take an examination that includes written, oral, and/or aural components. Languages currently taught at Mount Holyoke are Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Russian, Sanskrit, and Spanish.

A student may receive credit toward the language requirement for courses in a language not taught at Mount Holyoke only if she has taken those courses in an accredited institution or study-abroad program.  In this case she must complete either a formal two-semester elementary course sequence in a foreign language new to her, or a one-semester course at the intermediate level or above.

For transfer students, including Frances Perkins Scholars, the registrar will determine whether a course or courses on her transcript(s) from institution(s) at which she studied prior to matriculation at Mount Holyoke may be used to satisfy the Mount Holyoke language requirement.