Graduate Language Exam (GLE)

Currently, the graduate departments with a foreign language requirement are Architecture, Mathematics, Linguistics & Philosophy, and the Program in Science, Technology & Society. MIT Global Languages administers exams for languages that are offered at MIT (Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). If a candidate wishes to be examined in a language not offered at MIT, his or her home department will have to arrange for this examination.

Application: GLEApplication.pdf


For spring 2021, the GLE will be administered according to these modified procedures:

  1. Candidates fill out an online application and provide digital materials (books or articles) from their field, totaling approximately 200 pages, to register for the exam. Candidates need to complete the application which includes an authorization to be signed by a faculty member in their field/department approving the selection of the materials chosen for the examination. The MIT Global Languages examiner is free to accept those materials as appropriate or suggest alternate material. Applications and digital material must be turned in at the MIT Global Languages Academic Administrator by March 24.
  2. The examiner will select two (2) distinct passages of approximately 40 lines each (at 70 characters per line length). One passage will be of a general nature, the other more technical.
  3. Graduate Administrators will be informed of the selected passages by April 7.
  4. Candidates work with their departments to arrange proctoring of the exam between April 7 and April 21 (two weeks).
  5. Graduate Administrators provide electronic versions of the translations to Global Languages Academic Administrator by April 22. If hand-written, the translations must be scanned or otherwise fully legible in the electronic format.
  6. The candidate has two hours to translate both passages. Failure to complete both passages will result in a non-passing grade. Additionally, the examiner may request oral clarification of ambiguous translations should the need arise. If necessary, use of a dictionary is permitted during the oral clarification.
  7. During the exam, candidates may use a traditional (book) dictionary in order to complete the exam. However, electronic or online dictionaries are prohibited.
  8.  Judgment as to the accuracy of the translation rests with the examiner.
  9. Results of the test will be available by the end of the term in which the exam is administered