Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement

International Relations Online students are required to certify intermediate reading proficiency in a modern language other than English to graduate. The language proficiency certification is not a requirement for admission to the program.

The language proficiency requirement is considered fulfilled if a student has completed any of the following: 

  • Earned a high school or college-level degree granted from an institution where English is not the primary language of instruction 
  • Completed a bachelor’s degree majoring in a foreign language within three years of matriculation in the Master’s in International Relations program 
  • Earned a grade of “B” or better in an approved intermediate level language course at the post-graduate level 
  • Been granted an external language certification demonstrating intermediate-level proficiency from an approved third party agency within three years of matriculation (Approved agencies include the Peace Corps, military organizations, etc.) 

Alternatively, students who have not completed any of the above options can fulfill the language requirement by successfully completing the Tool of Research (TOR) examination offered by American University. The examination is available to all IR Online students and consists of reading passages in a foreign language followed by questions that test for comprehension. Languages currently available via the online TOR format include Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, Swahili, and Korean.

To learn more about the foreign language proficiency requirement, please contact your admissions counselor or visit our Graduate Advising page online.