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The Language Studies Program offers classes that assist students in successfully meeting the Johns Hopkins SAIS language graduation requirements. In addition, language classes offer a great opportunity to develop vocabulary and communication skills that are relevant to students’ academic studies and career goals. Please check the section on language requirements to see whether your academic concentration requires a specific language.
We encourage you to join the Language Studies Program. In doing so, you will find that language learning at the school is a unique experience. You will benefit from:
You have several languages to choose from in our campuses. We welcome you to explore our courses.
Marco A. Campos, PhD
Language Studies Program
Sara Gelmetti, MPhil
Language Studies Program
Students must be able to show language proficiency in a second language as part of their graduation requirements. For this reason, all MA students must take and pass examinations in one of the languages taught at the school. The language of examination cannot be the students’ native language. MA students who are not US citizens and whose native language is not English can take the English proficiency exam to meet this requirement. All other MA students may use any of the other languages taught at the school to complete this requirement. PhD candidates are only required to take the Reading component of the language proficiency exams for the second foreign language requirement.
In addition, all non-native speakers of English are required to take an English exam upon arrival. Students may be requested to take English classes based on their performance in the test. For more info, please refer to the campus-specific English Program section.
The following chart indicates the languages students may use to satisfy language requirements with respect to particular concentrations:
|JOHNS HOPKINS SAIS CONCENTRATION||REQUIRED LANGUAGE|
|African Studies||Arabic, French, Portuguese|
|European and Eurasian Studies||English, French, German, Italian , Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian (for Russia & Eurasia track)|
|Japan and Korea Studies||Japanese, Korean|
|Middle East Studies||Arabic, BME /ER tracks can also use: Farsi, Hindi-Urdu|
|South Asian Studies||Hindi-Urdu, Farsi|
|Southeast Asian Studies||Indonesian, Thai, or Vietnamese|
Students specializing in the following programs may choose any language offered in either of the campuses to satisfy the proficiency requirement:
- American Foreign Policy
- IR/Conflict Management
- IR/Energy, Resources and Environment
- IR/Global Theory and History
- IR/ International Law & Organizations
- International Development
- IR/Strategic Studies
All students interested in joining the language program need to register for a language course. Students with a previous background in the language they intend to study must take a placement test. For more info and registration guidelines, please refer to the campus-specific registration section. SAIS Europe students coming to Johns Hopkins SAIS DC need to contact the specific language coordinator at the DC campus prior to registering for classes.
Steps to join the Language Program:
STEP 1: Attend the Language Studies Orientation Session.
This is an excellent opportunity to meet our language faculty and shop for language courses. Our Language Program Coordinators will be here to answer any specific question you may have about the language program (e.g., placement/proficiency exams).
STEP 2: Take the language placement test.
You need to take a language placement exam if:
Steps to join the Language Program:
STEP 1: Attend the Language Session during Orientation Week and consult with our language faculty members, who will be available for academic advising during the two weeks prior to the Fall semester registration deadline.
STEP 2: Complete the online preliminary registration
STEP 3: Take the online language placement test. You need to take the placement test if:
Placement exams are offered every semester before the beginning of language classes. Students are required to take a placement test for the following purposes:
Please click on the campus tab where you study to see dates and other specific information.
Students are eligible to take a proficiency exam if they have completed the fourth semester of language instruction at the school. If they intend to test out and not do language classes, they need to take the placement test first and place at a level equivalent to having completed our fourth semester of language instruction.
Students meet language graduation requirements by obtaining at least the following marks in the language they choose to be tested:
|Arabic||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Chinese||Intermediate Low||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|French||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate Mid|
|German||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate Mid|
|Hindi-Urdu||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Indonesian||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High|
|Italian||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate Mid|
|Japanese||Intermediate Low||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Korean||Intermediate Low||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Persian (Farsi)||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Portuguese||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate Mid|
|Russian||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid||Intermediate Mid|
|Spanish||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate Mid|
|Thai||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High|
|Vietnamese||Intermediate High||Intermediate High||Intermediate High|
Placement exams are offered every semester the week before the beginning of language classes. Most of our languages require a written test and an oral interview. Please check the page of the language you intend to take for specific information, and contact the language coordinator prior to taking the placement tests.
Proficiency exams are offered the first week of September, and the week before reading period in the Fall and Spring terms.
Proficiency exams are offered three times a year, usually in September, January and May (please refer to the current academic calendar for exact dates).
To be eligible to take the Proficiency Exams in all foreign languages, students should either:
Students who pass the proficiency exam with the minimum required level are strongly encouraged to refine and perfect their language skills by enrolling in our more advanced level courses (level 5).
The school has a wide range of technology tools to enrich the students’ learning experience. Please click the tab for your campus to find out what resources you have available for your language.
The Language Technology Center (LTC) is a digital language center designed to meet the needs of the school's language students enrolled in language courses offered by the Language Studies Program (LSP). The LTC also responds to the instructional technology needs of language faculty and teaching assistants, by promoting and facilitating the meaningful use of technology to enhance the teaching and learning of foreign languages taught in the LSP.
Located on the third floor of the Rome building, the LTC has a technology infrastructure comprising 13 PC work-stations - 9 stations for self-study and 4 stations for collaborative learning -, 1 Mac work-station, AV equipment, a multi-functional printer connected to all work-stations, and a Smartboard®. The LTC is also equipped with digital resources and distance language learning solutions. Our language software - accessible online and from any mobile device - includes curriculum-integrated solutions, supplemental resource solutions, and independent self-study solutions.
The LTC Assistants are on duty from 9:00AM to 3:00PM on a week-daily basis.
The Language Technology Center (LTC) is an integral part of the Language Studies Program. Its goal is to provide support to both language teaching and learning, by focusing on best practices for foreign language instruction and offering additional ways for students to increase their language proficiency.
The LTC seeks to improve language learning and instruction by implementing emerging instructional technologies, in accordance with the aims of the school.
In particular, the LTC aims to:
The LTC is open to all students, language faculty, and language teaching assistants, although priority is given to students conducting language-related work.
The LTC is also at the service of language faculty who plan to integrate technology into their teaching practice. Instructional technology workshops for faculty – both in the form of small group workshop sessions and personalized one-to-one training and consulting - are offered during the academic year to quickly enable faculty and teaching assistants to use technology to enhance their language classes. Workshops focus on effective use of technology to achieve highest impact on student learning, and content is designed to be accessible also online, if faculty have teaching commitments during the scheduled workshop.
What is the Additional Service for Language Students?
The LTC offers distance mobile learning solutions for students enrolled in language classes, based on the recommendation of each language coordinator. In addition, language students may want to use on-site tools to conduct language homework assigned by their instructor, and/or develop language skills by using the online resources.
What Language Material can I Find?
Foreign language materials are also available on loan to all students: language books, e-books, CDs and DVDs, mp3, video files.
Language methodology books on effective instruction and assessment strategies for teaching foreign languages are available for loan to all language faculty.
How Long Should I Spend in the LTC for Language Learning?
Great emphasis is placed on oral and aural skills and students are expected to make full use of the LTC facilities - either on site or online. The amount of time that should be spent depends to a large extent on the degree of preparedness and aptitude of the individual students. Students should consult their language instructors and/or their language program coordinator on this subject.
LTC Independent Study Room
Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 10:00 pm
Friday: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
The LTC Assistant on duty will be happy to help you at the front desk from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
The LTC Team
Senior Foreign Language Instructional Technology Specialist:
Daria Mizza, PhD, R-328
Click here for Faculty Directory - Daria Mizza
Language Technology Center Assistants:
Front Desk, R-328a
The Language Program provides a wide array of language learning resources to meet the needs of the school's students enrolled in language courses and to respond to the instructional technology needs of the faculty.
Its goal is to foster language teaching and learning by focusing on best practices for foreign language instruction and offering additional ways for students to increase their language skills.
Four computer stations are equipped with keyboards in the different languages taught at the center (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) and provide language software such as Tell Me More or Easy Learning for every language offered at the center.
A selection of movies, CDs, DVDs, video files and other course materials, which can be consulted in the on line inventory database, are available to students to enhance their listening comprehension skills and improve their pronunciation.
Language faculty who plan to integrate technology into their teaching practice can use and be trained to use audio- and video-editing software and video cameras. These tools are available for class use and to implement online instructional materials to be delivered via Blackboard.
The school offers support in academic writing skills to all students. Please choose the tab that applies to your campus for specific information.
All SAIS students are welcome to use the Writing Center.
Our writing TAs will work with students on writing issues of organization, style, grammar, citation conventions, and word choice. They give language-related advice only; content is not discussed. Advice is available in person only. Students who use the Writing Center should acknowledge the help they received from the Writing Center on any papers handed in for coursework.
If you have problems or questions, please contact the director of the Writing Center, Dr. Gay N. Washburn, email@example.com.
All students—both native and non-native English speakers—are welcome to use the services of the Writing Center.
The Writing Center helps students become successful academic writers. It offers assistance through 1) weekly Academic Writing Sessions 2) individual writing consultations with faculty members of the English Program and student tutors and 3) on-line resources.
While particular emphasis is placed on SAIS-specific academic tasks, the services teach key writing skills that are also useful for writing effectively in professional settings.
Academic Writing Sessions
The Academic Writing Sessions are offered weekly in the fall and spring semesters to help students in meeting the challenges of producing graduate-level papers, essays and other SAIS-related writing assignments. In the sessions, successful models of academic writing are analyzed and a variety of writing topics are addressed. These topics may include effective outlining, writing specific parts of the essay or research paper (i.e., introductions, conclusions, the literature review, historical context, etc), writing a persuasive and clear thesis statement, conveying structure in the body sections, and properly linking ideas. Style is also emphasized as some sessions focus on precision, emphatic and varied syntax, concision, and academic register.
Students also learn to critique problematic writing and devise solutions that they can apply to their own work. Outlining, writing, and editing (related to SAIS assignments) are also done periodically in the sessions to reinforce skills and strategies covered. Detailed feedback is provided.
Students should sign up for the sessions they wish to attend. Please see the Writing Center section of the BCWeb.
Individual Consultations on SAIS Writing Assignments
The Writing Surgery and MAIA Writing Surgery provide individual consultations with a faculty member of the English Program. Appointments are offered weekly in the fall and spring semesters.
The Writing Surgery assists students with SAIS course assignments whereas the MAIA Writing Surgery deals with the MAIA thesis. Consultants collaborate with students to develop an appropriate and effective writing style and guide students in crafting persuasive, well-developed and properly supported arguments. A variety of other writing topics are also addressed, such as enhancing structure and cohesion, writing clearly and succinctly, and enriching word choice. Content is not discussed.
Both services are best used in conjunction with the Academic Writing Sessions. Students are encouraged to apply the tools learned in the Academic Writing Sessions to their SAIS course papers or theses and then review their work with the consultants in the Writing Surgery or MAIA Writing Surgery.
Writing Center Student Tutors
Writing Center Student Tutors are available to assist all students with more basic editing of word choice, grammar, usage, spelling, basic sentence structure, and some cohesion. For help with structure and more advanced academic writing skills and strategies, students should attend the Academic Writing Sessions and the Writing Surgery services.
NB: The consultation services are not editing services, but rather help students become autonomous writers and editors of their own work. While detailed feedback is given in each session, changes are implemented via collaboration.
To use these services, students should sign up for an appointment on the Writing Center section of the BCWeb.
Books on Academic Writing
Bailey, Stephen. Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students. Routledge, 2011.
Belcher, Wendy Laura. Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks. SAGE, 2009.
Blanpain, Kristin. Academic Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Resource for Researchers. Acco, 2006.
Clark, Irene L. Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation. Prentice Hall, 2006.
Craswell, Gail. Writing for Academic Success. SAGE, 2011.
Flemons, Douglas. Writing Between the Lines: Composition in the Social Sciences. W.W. Norton, 1998.
Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. W.W. Norton, 2009.
Fisher, Alec. The Logic of Real Arguments. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Galvan, Jose L. Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioural Sciences. Pyrczak Publishing, 2012.
Jordan, R.R. Academic Writing Course. Nelson/Longman, 1999.
Marius, Richard A. A Short Guide to Writing about History. Longman, 2009.
Oshima, A. & Hogue, A. Writing Academic English. Addison-Wesley, 2005.
Ramsey Fowler, H.M. and Jane E. Aaron. The Little, Brown Handbook. Longman, 2011.
Stimson, James. Professional Writing in Political Science: A Highly Opinionated Essay. University of North Carolina, 2010.
Strunk, William and E.B. White, The Elements of Style. Longman, 1999.
Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. University of Michigan Press, 2004.
University of Chicago Press Staff. The Chicago Manual of Style. The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Wallace, Mike and Alison Wray. Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates. SAGE, 2011.
Zerubavel, Eviatar. The Clockwork Muse: A Practical Guide to Writing Theses, Dissertations, and Books. Harvard University Press, 1999.
Internet Sites on Academic Writing
Dudenhefe, Paul. "A Guide to Writing in Economics."
Gillett, Andy. "Using English for Academic Purposes."
Harvard Writing Center.
Leeds, Ashley "Writing a Research Paper for a Graduate Seminar in Political Science."
Purdue University Online Writing Lab.
University of Manchester Academic Phrasebank.
University of North Carolina Writing Center.
University of Toronto "Advice on Academic Writing."
Eastwood, John. I Oxford University Press, 1994
Edufind.com. Grammar Guide.
Murphy, Raymond. English Grammar in Use. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
University of Chicago Press Staff. The Chicago Manual of Style. The University of Chicago Press, 2010.
The school offers instruction in 17 languages. Students can meet language graduation requirements by taking proficiency exams in any of these languages. Please be sure to check whether your specific academic concentration requires you to take a specific language.
Languages Offered at Both Johns Hopkins SAIS DC and SAIS Europe
The curriculum goals in both campuses are synchronized so that you do not experience major differences between programs. However, each campus provides its own flavor to the school's experience by customizing content and teaching styles to its particular environments.
Languages Offered in DC Only
The following languages are only taught at the Washington, DC campus: Burmese, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Indonesian, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Thai, and Vietnamese.
Johns Hopkins SAIS DC:
Marco A. Campos, PhD
Tel: (202) 663-7789
|Persian/ Arabic||Mohamad Esmaili-Sardarifirstname.lastname@example.org||R319||5989|
|Portuguese||Ana Isabel Delgadoemail@example.com||R308||5756|
LANGUAGE FACULTY at SAIS EUROPE in Bologna:
Language Center via Zanolini 15
+39 051 2917-xxx
|Portuguese||Livia Assuncao Ceciliofirstname.lastname@example.org||VZan||829|
|Maria Blanco Facal