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International Relations Program

Language Requirement

foreign language requirement

All students in the program are required to demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language before graduating. You may meet this requirement in one of three ways:


Each semester City College offers exams in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Classical Greek, Japanese, and Latin. This examination tests your ability to translate a short document from your chosen language into English. You are permitted to bring a dictionary to the exam if you wish. You must register in advance for the exam. Each semester we will post the deadline for registration. You can register for this exam in the MPIR office during office hours. You may prepare for this exam in any way you choose (for example, taking a class). If you are multilingual, you will not need any special preparation.

If you wish to be examined in a language other than those listed above, you must complete Form 213 and submit it to the MPIR office. This form is available from the office assistant. You must then seek out a professional who is appropriately skilled and willing to grade your examination. This professional must contact both the M.A. program and the Foreign Language Department to make the necessary arrangements.


Both City College and the CUNY Graduate Center offer intensive noncredit courses in a variety of modern and ancient languages specifically designed to assist graduate students in meeting the language requirements for their degrees. These courses, which are offered in the summer as well as during the academic year, develop or increase the student's reading knowledge of a particular language. At the end of the course, the instructor gives all students a written exam. You must achieve a minimum of a B on this exam to get language credit for our program

For more information:

At CCNY: Foreign Language Reading Program for Grad Students (212-650-6605)
At the Grad Center: Graduate Center Language Reading Program (212-817-2081)


You may be exempt from the language requirement if you attended secondary school (high school) in a country where English is not the primary language.  In order to receive such an exemption, you must fill out a short form and submit it (along with necessary documentary evidence) to the Program Director.  Forms are available in the IR office (NAC 6/293).