All degree candidates are expected to have a reading knowledge of the two modern foreign languages most appropriate to their fields of concentration. For most students, this means French and German, occasionally substituting Spanish. For students in Asian Religions, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit or Tibetan normally takes the place of either French or German. For students in Religion in the Americas, the choice of languages should be made in consultation with advisers and the rest of the subfield faculty. This requirement may be fulfilled by successfully completing summer language courses offered by the University, or by passing tests given by the language departments, or by some other means approved by the Department. All entering students are strongly urged to achieve competence in at least one of the required languages before matriculation.
Beyond the basic requirements, students are expected to demonstrate competence in whatever additional languages they need to pursue advanced work in their own areas of specialization. For example, students who concentrate on Islam must have a reading knowledge of Arabic along with one modern European language, while students in Religions of Mediterranean Antiquity must demonstrate knowledge of two ancient languages in addition to the two modern languages.