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Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Graduate Reading Exam

Arabic | Chinese | French | German | Italian | Japanese | Latin | Portuguese | Russian Spanish

The Graduate Reading Proficiency Exam is for graduate students who are majoring in other disciplines. FREN, GERM, LATN, and SPAN 615 are designed to prepare students to take the examination(s) that satisfies the basic FL graduate reading requirement. The courses are available on a pass / fail basis only.

Foreign Language and/or Research Methods 

 Language and research methods requirements for the Master’s degree vary from program to program and must be approved by the academic program’s graduate director and the dean of The Graduate School. Programs which directly involve language study may have additional language requirements. Satisfying the requirement may entail one or more of the following: successful completion of an intensive reading course in a language approved by The Graduate School (e.g., SPAN 615), successful completion of a course at the intermediate level of language proficiency within six years previous of the award of the degree, or a passing grade on a language reading proficiency examination administered by the USC Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (DLLC).Students should contact DLLC for language course and testing information. Programs which directly involve language study may have additional language requirements.

Students have three opportunities to pass the language course or satisfy the reading proficiency examination. The Graduate School must be notified by the academic program of a student’s successful completion of the language requirement.

The student should make arrangements to complete the foreign language and/or research methods requirements at the earliest opportunity. Certification of foreign language and/or research methods competency for master’s students remains valid for six years, after which it must be revalidated.

Arabic Proficiency Exam
please contact Prof. Nancy Linthicum

Chinese Reading Exam

Please contact
Prof. Gregory Patterson

French Graduate Reading Exam:

The graduate reading exam in French requires the translation from French into English of a 500 word passage. Candidates will have two hours and may use a dictionary and one additional grammar aid, such as a verb dictionary. Additional materials are not allowed.

The Graduate French Reading Exam for Spring, 2022 will be given on Friday, April 29th,  from 12:30-2:30 p.m. online.  Please fill out this form by April 1st, 2022 to sign up for the exam.  For additional questions, contact Dr. Salamifar at . 

Students may prepare for the exam by consulting a good grammar review book and by doing practice translations. Robert Stack’s Reading French in the Arts and Sciences is an excellent preparation text, and is available at Thomas Cooper Library.

Additional preparation is offered in French 615, but students do not need to be enrolled in French 615 in order to take the exam. FREN 615 is generally offered during the summer. However, a minimum number of students must sign up for the course to make.

German Graduate Reading exam

Successful completion of the graduate reading exam in German requires the translation from German into idiomatic English of a 300-word passage excerpted from a text on a topic of scholarly interest. Candidates have two hours to produce their translation. Each candidate may use a dictionary of their choice to assist in translating, but no other reference materials are allowed.

The reading exam is typically administered in the fall semester during the first week of November and in the spring semester during the exam period. Please contact Dr. Patrick Walsh at to learn the exact date and time of the exam and to register as a candidate. If you would like to register for the exam, include the name and e-mail address of your departmental graduate director as well as that of your departmental graduate coordinator.

Candidates without adequate previous knowledge of German are advised to take GERM 615 to prepare for the exam. GERM 615 assumes no previous knowledge of the language. It is generally offered in the spring semester. Note that students do not need to be enrolled in GERM 615 take the exam. Candidates who cannot or do not wish to enroll in this course may prepare for the exam by acquiring a copy of the textbook German for Reading Knowledge, 7th ed. by Richard Korb and translating the practice texts.

Please direct all inquiries about the Graduate Reading Exam or GERM 615 to Dr. Patrick Walsh at

Italian Reading Exam

Please contact Prof. Pia Bertucci

 Japanese Reading Exam

 The graduate reading exam in Japanese requires the translation from Japanese into English of two passages. One passage is lower intermediate level with about 400 Japanese characters (about 200 English word translation) and the other passage is upper intermediate level with about 400 Japanese characters (about 200 English word translation).  The lower intermediate level passage does not have “furigana  (kanji reading aid)” but the upper intermediate level passage includes “furigana.”

Candidates will have two hours to complete the exam. Candidates may use one Japanese-English dictionary and one additional grammar aid such as a grammar dictionary. No other additional materials are allowed.

Students are suggested to prepare for the exam by doing practice translations using good intermediate level reading comprehension practice books.

 The graduate reading exam in Japanese is given during finals week in the fall and in the spring upon requests. Graduate school students who wish to take the graduate reading exam in Japanese, please contact Shunko Muroya, Japanese Program instructor, at to sign up for the exam at least two weeks in advance. Please write "Graduate reading exam in Japanese” in the subject area.

 Latin Reading Exam

Please contact Prof. Mark Beck

Portuguese Reading Exam
please contact Prof. Andrew Rajca

Russian Reading Exam
contact Prof. Judith Kalb

 Spanish Reading Examination Information

Students are encouraged to take SPAN 615 when offered. However, in the absence of the course, students can take an examination offered twice a year, typically in December and April on the Reading Day. 
Students will read an academic article in Spanish in Humanities or Social Sciences. The exam addresses reading comprehension rather than translation skills. Students may use a Spanish/English dictionary for the examination. The examination period is 90 minutes.  
The Spring 2022 Spanish reading exam will take place on Reading Day Tuesday, Apr. 26, 2022.
Please contact Prof. Mercedes Lopez Rodriguez at with your name, email address, graduate program, and name and email of graduate advisor/director to enroll.

The only reference material you will be allowed to bring to the exam is a Spanish/English dictionary.

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