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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Fletcher’s policy around foreign language skills and how have the requirements changed?

As of June 2020, and going forward, Fletcher students are not required to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English and, instead, have the option to demonstrate foreign language proficiency. Students who choose and successfully complete this option will have their passing results noted on their Fletcher transcript. Among other things, this decision was made in keeping with the School’s philosophy that students are best equipped to determine what specific knowledge, skills, and competencies they need to succeed. Each student’s individual course of study is customized to fit particular interests and career objectives, and these may or may not require foreign language expertise. Many students will continue to find that language skills are essential to their career paths, and the School is committed, as before, to supporting this endeavor in the best way we can.

I completed all the requirements for my Fletcher program except for the language proficiency exam. Given the new policy, am I now eligible to receive my degree? Does it matter how long ago I was supposed to graduate?

Regardless of your original planned graduation date, if the language requirement is the only requirement you have not fulfilled, you are now eligible to receive your degree. Please download and complete this form, and send the completed form to FletcherRegistrar@tufts.edu. The Fletcher Registrar’s Office will then review your records. Please know that degrees may only be conferred by the Board of Trustees during degree granting periods: August, February, & May. Degrees will not be conferred at any other time.

Why has The Fletcher School changed its policy on foreign language proficiency?

We seek to better meet student needs. The School values foreign language skills among a broad range of other skills that students need to develop in order to best meet their personal and career ambitions. We seek to provide students with the best possible educational opportunities to embark on global leadership. The language practice at the School did not align with that objective.

We will continue to offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their language skills and have them documented. However, as a requirement, the foreign language exams had become more of a barrier than an opportunity for many students, including those who enrolled without prior fluency in a foreign language, those who specialized in an indigenous or rare language, or those with learning disabilities. There has been little opportunity for students to truly make language study a part of their Fletcher experience, and so the exams served rather indiscriminately either as a mere formality for students already proficient in a foreign language, or as a roadblock, with insufficient support to surmount it, for those who were not. Moreover, rigorous language training is not itself part of the Fletcher curriculum, nor is there a great deal of time for students to learn a new language while here. We therefore eliminated as a requirement a set of exams that do not in and of themselves signify a consistent set of standards nor the diversity of ways that students gain a global perspective and a nuanced understanding of other cultures while enrolled.

What is the benefit to students of taking a language exam that is not required?

Students who already have proficiency in a foreign language may want that proficiency documented on their transcript. This decision is for each student to make.

Can Fletcher students who aim to receive the language credential receive course credit for language courses taken at Tufts?

Fletcher MALD and MIB students can petition to take up to two language courses as part of their degree program. All Fletcher students have the option to audit language classes, with the agreement of a language instructor.

Has Fletcher changed the way it will support students seeking to improve and demonstrate their language skills?

In the coming year we will start a process to move from an unsatisfactory foreign language requirement to a foreign language program that facilitates students demonstrating language proficiency in a consistent and broadly recognized manner.

In the meantime, Fletcher students can continue to petition to take up to two language courses as part of their degree program. All Fletcher students continue to have the option to audit language classes, with the agreement of a language instructor. All Fletcher students continue to have the option to take the language exams and have their passing results included on their transcript.

Where can I find out more about Fletcher’s decision to modify the language requirement?

The Dean’s announcement can be found here: https://fletcher.tufts.edu/news-events/deans-announcements