Cultural and Global Literacy Requirement
The mission statement of the university asserts that graduate students should increase their “cultural and global literacy,” and the History Department has declared in its own mission statement that students should take courses that enhance their global perspective. The department thus requires that all graduate students fulfill a cultural and global literacy requirement. This requirement can be fulfilled in one of two ways: a foreign language option or a cultural and global coursework option.
The History Department recognizes that knowledge of a foreign language is an important means of appreciating cultural diversity and gaining a broader understanding of the world, as well as being a useful skill in an increasingly diverse and globalized world. The department encourages graduate students to fulfill the cultural and global literacy requirement by choosing the foreign language option listed below. The department strongly encourages those students whose M.A. research will involve non-English speaking countries or peoples to choose the foreign language option. Those students who plan to use non-English sources in their research must choose the foreign language option. As most history doctoral programs will require knowledge of at least one foreign language, those students who are planning on pursuing a Ph.D. must also choose this option.
The department also recognizes that some graduate students may learn more about cultural and global issues through additional coursework than through study of a foreign language, and that teachers may find the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) endorsement more useful than meeting the traditional language requirement. Students may fulfill the cultural and global literacy requirement through the coursework options listed below, but only with the permission of their advisor and the Graduate Coordinator.
Foreign Language Option
Students must show the ability to read and translate into English at least one foreign language by one of the following methods:
1. Earning a B or better in one of the following college level foreign language courses:
a. The fourth semester of a college-level foreign language class completed no more than five years before admission to the University of West Georgia. Students deciding to take one or more undergraduate foreign language classes to meet this requirement may do so at any accredited college.
b. The University System of Georgia Independent and Distance Learning foreign language courses. Please consult their website at
http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/idl/index.phtml for more information regarding distance learning courses.
c. A graduate-level translation course or its equivalent. Georgia
State University (GSU) currently offers French/German/Spanish
7000-level Reading Knowledge and Translation courses that would
fulfill the department’s foreign language option. Students can enroll in these programs by applying through the ARCHE program. Applications are available online at http://www.westga.edu/registrar/index_8694.php
2. Earning at least an 80% on a translation test administered by the Office of Learning Support and Testing (678-839-6435). This test involves translating one passage into English and answering questions in English about another passage. Dictionaries and grammar books may be used during this exam, but not electronic dictionaries or computer software. Pre-registration for the test, which is offered once a semester, is required and can be done in the Graduate School Office in Cobb Hall. Check with the Graduate School or with the History Department Coordinator of Graduate Studies for pre-registration deadlines each semester. Students may take the translation test a maximum of three times. If a student does not earn at least an 80% on any of the three attempts, then he/she must satisfy the foreign language reading requirement by one of the other options listed in this section.
3. Evidence that a student’s native language is a language other than English.
Cultural and Global Coursework Option
With permission from their advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, students may take courses that enhance their cultural and global literacy. They may satisfy this option in one of two ways:
1. Students may take two additional courses that are outside of their major and minor fields of study in order to expand their cultural and global literacy. These courses must be History seminar courses at the 6000-level, and they cannot be counted toward fulfillment of any part of a student’s program plan of study (meaning that they will not count toward his/her major field, minor field, elective class, or overall unit count). Both courses should be in non-American fields, and at least one of the courses must be non-western. A grade of “B” or better must be obtained in order for these courses to be counted toward the fulfillment of this requirement.
2. Those students holding a valid Georgia Level 4 Certificate (or its equivalent) may choose to complete the ESOL endorsement (English for Speakers of Other Languages). This nine-unit endorsement is only available to those graduate students who are currently teachers.
We encourage students to fulfill this requirement as soon as possible.Please note that the cultural and global coursework options will likely add an additional semester to a student’s graduate program.This requirement shouldbe fulfilled before a student schedules a thesis defense or exit examinations.