Language Requirement

Guidelines for Satisfying the Language Requirement

A degree-seeking student at Mount Holyoke is expected to study a language other than English while matriculated at the College. Preferably by the end of the sophomore year, she is required to complete a designated course in a language other than English.

In the case of a student whose first language is not English, she 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 Leah Glasser, Dean of Studies, who will review the student’s records and inform the Registrar's Office if she 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 toward the language requirement or toward 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 toward total credits for graduation. Departments and programs usually ask to see a syllabus, textbook, and course work; 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 at an accredited institution or study-abroad program. 

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.