TLO Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the more common questions we get from prospective Two-year Language Option (TLO) students. If you have any additional questions please email us at

Who is an ideal applicant for the TLO?

An ideal TLO applicant has an intermediate or advanced proficiency in at least one language they plan on studying while in MAPH, and can make a strong case for their academic and professional reasons for pursuing these languages. In doing so, applicants should make a clear connection between the statement of purpose and the supplemental language statement. 

Students interested in less commonly taught languages, such as Arabic, Basque, Sanskrit or Swahili, may apply to TLO to begin one of these languages if it makes sense for their academic project. If you have questions about this, please reach out to us at

Can I begin a new language in the TLO?

MAPH TLO students can study more than one language, including a new language. Since TLO students must begin language study at the intermediate level or higher in at least one language, an introductory language course would count as an elective rather than a required language course.

What level of language proficiency do I need for doctoral programs?

Programs where students work on extended projects in other languages, such as Comparative Literature and Art History, often involve work in foreign languages and therefore advanced language proficiency. 

While PhD programs in English and Philosophy typically have language requirements, most doctoral students in these departments complete these requirements during coursework and do not need the kind of advanced proficiency that students would gain in the TLO.

What kind of project could I work on while in the TLO?

Students in TLO study language(s) that inform the kind of coursework, thesis project and summer study they do in MAPH. Your proposed academic work should therefore be directly related to the languages you want to study. See below for past and current TLO students and thesis projects. 

TLO Students

Jackson Cyril, MAPH ‘20

  • Language: German, Sanskrit and Tamil
  • Summer Study Program: Institut Fur Internationale Kommunikation, Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Thesis: "Making History: Reading the Historical Novels of 'Kalki' Krishnamurthy as Projecting Visions of History in Mid-Twentieth Century Tamil Nadu"

Mew Jiang, MAPH ‘20 

  • Language: Japanese
  • Summer Study Program: Japan Foundation Osaka Center, Osaka, Japan
  • Thesis: "From The Imaginary Woman to Nothingness: The Aggressive Body in Matsui Fuyuko’s Painting"

Julia Marsan, MAPH ‘20

  • Language: Yucatec Maya
  • Summer Study Program: Yucatec Maya Summer Institute (Kan B'áalam Naj), Mérida, Mexico
  • Thesis: "Myths and Legends of the Maya"

Simone Levine, MAPH ‘19

  • Languages: Chinese and Korean
  • Summer Study Program: Ewha University, Seoul, Korea
  • Thesis: "Lin Ke and the Logics of the Interface"