MA students have different expectations regarding language competency depending on which track they choose.
Requirements: All students in the Research Track gain competency in at least one foreign language. Those concentrating in historical theology are required to demonstrate competency in two languages, one ancient and one modern, before advancement to comprehensive exams. Those in constructive theology or theological ethics must show competency in one language. Students in the Religious Education track do not have a language requirement.
Choices: The language choices are determined by the student's area of specialization as approved by the MA Director. The language possibilities include, but are not limited to: Greek, Latin, Syriac, German, French, Spanish or Italian.
Exams: Competency is measured by the student translating into good, clear English a selection from a theological text during a two-hour examination. Dictionaries may be used. In consultation with the Advisor, the student chooses three texts and provides books or pdf files to the MA Director. The MA Director chooses a portion of one of the three texts for the student to translate. The test is graded by faculty from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.
Process: When students are ready to take exams, they contact the department secretary and the MA Director. The secretary will inform the student of the test date. On the day of the test, the MA Director provides the secretary with the text, the student translates the text and hands it in to the secretary. Results can be expected within two weeks.
Gaining Competency: Students may take up to two course (six hours) of language study at SLU as electives. Often, language courses are offered during the summer. These courses may count toward the degree and may be audited. Auditing students must secure permission of the instructor, register for the course, and make sure the Registrar counts it as an Audit. The course will appear on the student's transcript. Normally, only attendance is required. There is a small fee.
Students sometimes form language study groups instead of enrolling in formal courses.