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Language requirements for degree courses

The language skills and certificates students should have before, during and after their studies vary from subject to subject. Many degree programmes often require or at least recommend additional languages in addition to the actual language of instruction.

The faculties and respective study advisors provide information on the requirements and admission requirements for study.

Degree programmes with special language requirements

History

The language requirements in history are generally determined by the respective specialisations chosen in the degree programme.

Informatics

Informatics is a bilingual degree programme, some lectures are held in English. Consequently, all applicants must submit proof of English proficiency at B2 level.

Japanese studies

  • Japanese studies – Bachelor’s degree

Starting the degree course

  1. Good German language skills
  2. Ability to read textbooks in English (ability required, but proof not required)
    Many textbooks are only available in English. Students who do not have a command of this language will therefore lose a lot of time and won’t be able to study successfully.
  3. Japanese language skills prior to the degree course (not required, but advantageous)
    The language courses at university have a speedy pace. It is much easier to study with some prior knowledge. Students who have already learned some Japanese also know what they are getting into. Moreover, students who already have some knowledge of Japanese can be placed in a more advanced language course.
  4. Experience in the acquisition of languages, including non-European ones (advantageous)
  5. Willingness to deal systematically with language (required)

For example, it is much easier for students with Latin skills to study Japanese. Students who are not prepared to think about grammar will struggle in their degree course.

By the end of the degree course

By the end of their degree course, students are able to communicate in Japanese in everyday life and read specialist literature in Japanese.

  • Japanese studies – Master’s degree

Starting the degree course

  1. Good German language skills
  2. Ability to read textbooks in English (ability required, but proof not required)
  3. Japanese language skill equivalent to those acquired after six semesters at university
  4. Knowledge of pre-modern Japanese (must be caught up on if necessary)

Classical Philology (Latin or Greek)

If you have chosen Classical Philology as one of your two subjects, you have specified whether you are studying the subject with a focus on Greek or Latin at the time of registration.

  • A prerequisite for the study of classical philology with a major field of study in Latin is the proof of the Latinum and the Graecum, which must be presented at the personal matriculation. If the Graecum is not yet available, language courses within the optional modules can be taken to prepare for the Graecum examinations. The Graecum must be proven by the beginning of the fourth semester.
  • A prerequisite for the study of classical philology with a major field of study in Greek is the proof of the Graecum and the Latinum, which must be presented at the personal matriculation. If the Latinum is not yet available, language courses within the optional modules can be taken to prepare for the Latinum examinations. The Latinum must be proven by the beginning of the fourth semester.
  • For both major field of studies, knowledge of two modern foreign languages (e.g. English, French, Italian, Spanish) is desirable.

Korean Studies

  • Korean studies – Bachelor’s degree

Advanced German and English language skills are the only ones required for students enrolling in 2-subject Bachelor of Korean Studies.

  • Korean studies – Master’s degree

Starting the Master’s degree, language skills equivalent to those acquired in the Bachelor’s degree course of Korean studies in Bochum are required. This includes good knowledge of contemporary Korean as well as basic knowledge of written Chinese and Middle Korean.

Oriental Studies – Islamic Studies

  • Oriental Studies – Islamic Studies – Bachelor’s degree

Prior to the degree course

English language skills equivalent to at least B2.
Proof is provided by presenting the German A-level (Abitur) certificate or an authorised language certificate (e.g. in the form of recognised certificates such as TOEFL (72-94 points), IELTS B2 (5.0-6.0) or similar), or a language course successfully completed at the Ruhr-Universität's University Language Center (ZFA) in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at B2 level.

Starting the degree course

(at the latest until admission to the B. A. professional competence module (B. A.-FKM)):
Proof of Latinum, Graecum or Hebraicum (Latin, Greek or Hebrew proficiency certificate). If offered, attendance of and passing the final exam in the one-semester Latin course is considered a substitute for the Latinum.

By the end of the degree course

Arabic at B2 level, 2nd Islamic cultural language at A2 level (Turkish, Persian, depending on the offer also Urdu etc.).

  • Oriental Studies – Islamic Studies – Master’s degree

Prior to the degree course

English language skills equivalent to at least B2.
Proof is provided by presenting the German A-level (Abitur) certificate or an authorised language certificate (e.g. in the form of recognised certificates such as TOEFL (72-94 points), IELTS B2 (5.0-6.0) or similar), or a language course successfully completed at university in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at B2 level.

Knowledge of a 2nd Islamic cultural language at level A2 (Turkish, Persian)

Starting the degree course

(at the latest until admission to the M. A. professional competence module (B. A.-FKM)):
Proof of Latinum, Graecum or Hebraicum (Latin, Greek or Hebrew proficiency certificate). If offered, attendance of and passing the final exam in the one-semester Latin course is considered a substitute for the Latinum.

By the end of the degree course

Arabic at C1 level ans 2nd Islamic cultural language at B2 level

OR

2nd Islamic cultural language at A2 level AND 3rd Islamic cultural language at A2 level (Turkish, Persian, depending on the availability also Urdu, Ottoman or similar).

East Asian Studies

  • East Asian Studies – Master’s degree

The Master’s degree in East Asian Studies offers three possible specialisations: Japanese studies, Korean studies and Sinology.

A good knowledge of the respective East Asian language is required for each specialisation, at the level achieved in the language modules in a Japanese studies, Korean studies or Sinology Bachelor’s degree at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (covering 42, 32 or 42 credit hours per semester respectively).

Knowledge of the English language at B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is also required.

The required language skills in the three East Asian languages correspond approximately to the CEFR levels.

  • B2 for oral proficiency,
  • B1 for written proficiency
  • B2 with elements of C1 for reading proficiency (reading of non-fictional and technical texts).

These proficiency levels are maintained for the duration of the Master’s degree in Japanese and Korean studies and increased to C1 regarding reading proficiency. For Chinese, B2 level is to be achieved, with elements of C1 for oral proficiency.

In addition, students pursuing the M.A. in East Asian Studies are expected to spend or have spent at least half a year, or even better a full year, in the respective region. In such cases, higher levels are usually achieved, although they are not required for graduation.

East Asian Politics

  • East Asian Politics – Master’s degree

Language skills in Chinese, Korean or Japanese are recommended.

Romance Philology (French, Spanish, Italian)

  • French / Spanish / Italian – Bachelor’s degree

Language proficiency at B1 level in the respective language is required for students pursuing the Bachelor’s degree. Students who don’t have the required level when starting the degree course can acquire it in courses at the University Language Center (ZFA). There are no further requirements; prior knowledge of Latin is not necessary. By the end of the Bachelor’s degree, students will have attained the C1 level in the respective language.

  • French / Spanish / Italian – Master’s degree

Starting the Master’s degree, language proficiency at C1 level is required, as attained in the Bachelor’s degree.

Russian

  • Russian Culture – Bachelor’s degree

Knowledge of the Russian language is advantageous when starting the degree course. In the first week of the semester, when no lectures take place, students at the Slavonic Studies Institute take an obligatory placement test, based on which they are placed in a course with the appropriate language level. Students from Russian-speaking families are offered special courses for native speakers, focusing primarily on grammar and written expression.

Students without any prior knowledge of Russian are also welcome: intensive Russian courses covering 8 credit hours per semester are offered in every winter semester, covered also by Elective Courses for Bachelor Students.

In addition to Russian, a knowledge of English at B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and knowledge of another foreign language at B1 level are required for the B.A. degree in Russian Culture. Proof of the respective language skills must be submitted by the time of registration for the first B.A. final examination. Students who don’t have the required language skills when starting the degree course can acquire them in Elective Courses for Bachelor Students. Further information can be obtained at the academic advisory office.

  • Russian – Master’s degree

Prior to the degree course, students must attain and provide proof of Russian language proficiency at B2 level, and attain C2 level by the end of the degree course.

Slavonic Studies

  • Slavonic Studies – Bachelor’s degree

specialisations: Polish or Russian

Students can start the degree course with or without any knowledge of the respective language. Depending on their specialisation, they will attain either B2 level (Russian) or B1 level (Polish) by the end of their degree course. In order to register for the B.A. examination, they must submit proof of English (B2) and another modern foreign language or Latin/Greek or similar (B1).

  • Slavonic Studies – Master’s degree

Depending on their specialisation, students are required to have language proficiency at B2 level (Russian) resp. B1 (Polish); in addition, they require English (B2) and another modern foreign language, Latin/Greek or similar (B1). By the end of the Master’s degree, they will attain C1 level in the respective language (Russian or Polish).

Sinology

  • Sinology – Bachelor’s degree

Starting the degree course

No language certificates are required when starting the Bachelor’s degree.
Since a lot of secondary literature is only available in English, English language skills (B2) are highly recommended, but no proof is required.

Language skills that are acquired in the degree course

The Bachelor’s degree comprises a total of five semesters of Chinese language courses (covering 42 credit hours per semester).
Unlike for European languages, there is no uniform framework of reference for Chinese. Therefore, it is difficult to assess Chinese language proficiency after completion of the Bachelor’s degree.
According to the module handbook, Bachelor students who have completed the 5th semester have reached a level that is estimated to be B1 or B2 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). They:

  • have improved their communicative proficiency in modern Chinese, both passive (listening and reading comprehension) and active (essays, discussions, translations, presentations).
  • are able to express themselves in longer, coherent sentences on economic, political and cultural topics using basic vocabulary pertaining to the respective subject matter.
  • have improved their language skills and are able to comprehend authentic videos and audios as well as original language newspaper articles on current affairs.
  • have the ability to express information, experiences and opinions on a given topic in writing or orally, as well as to write texts at a slightly advanced level.

Since it is difficult to learn a language like Chinese without a lot of exposure and immersion, an additional language exchange in China of 1 to 2 semesters is strongly recommended; thus, a much higher language level can be achieved. Without such an exchange, the chances of learning the language properly are rather low.
In addition to modern Chinese, Bachelor students also study classical Chinese (literary language only) for two semesters. Students who intend to study Sinology in the Master’s degree without having studied Classical Chinese have to catch up on it.

  • Sinology – Master’s degree

Starting the degree course

According to the degree programme regulations, the Master’s degree requires “good knowledge of Chinese at the level achieved in the language modules of the Bachelor’s degree in Sinology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (42 credit hours per semester)”.
Students who can submit proof of a total of approx. 200 credit hours are generally eligible for the Master’s degree.
Since a lot of secondary literature is only available in English, English language skills (B2) are highly recommended, but no proof is required.

Language skills that are acquired in the degree course

The Master’s degree also includes a further semester of Chinese language courses.
According to the module handbook, graduates should

  • be able to express themselves in longer, coherent sentences on university and work-related topics using advanced vocabulary pertaining to the respective subject matter
  • have improved their language skills and are able to comprehend original-language specialist texts and aids such as relevant dictionaries
  • can express information, experience and opinions on a given topic in everyday language or technical language in writing or orally, and can write texts at a more advanced level.

A language exchange abroad is also recommended in the Master’s degree.

Language requirements at RUB and the Latinum
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