Language Requirements


Master’s degree candidates are expected to demonstrate language competency in two languages to be chosen from the following list: Spanish, Portuguese, or an indigenous Latin American language.

  • The required level of language proficiency for the primary language is at least intermediate-high (see ACTFL guidelines)
  • The required level of language proficiency for the secondary language is at least intermediate-mid (see ACTFL guidelines).

Incoming M.A. students have to demonstrate their level of language proficiency before the end of their first semester by way of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). This can be accomplished by:

  1. showing their OPI results from the Portuguese or indigenous language class(es) they took during their first semester at Vanderbilt, if they did, or by
  2. taking a one-to-one telephonic interview conducted entirely in Spanish or Portuguese language. (Tests are arranged by Helena Simonett)

If the required level has not been reached by the end of their first semester, students will be advised on which courses to take so as to ensure that they reach the required level of language proficiency within the two-year span of the graduate program. Demonstrating language proficiency will be a consideration in the renewal of graduate fellowships and in applications for summer awards.


Direct questions to Helena Simonett at