Watson Institute at Brown University
Development Studies


All DS concentrators must pursue the study of a foreign language through the equivalent of three full years of university study. This covers advanced understanding, speaking, reading, and writing capabilities. This level of competence is necessary for students to make effective use of the language in communications required for conducting research in the language or for studying abroad in a country where that language is spoken. Whenever possible, the student’s foreign language should be spoken in the country or region of the developing world where the student has focused his or her coursework (e.g. 2 regional courses), and where he or she plans to conduct thesis/capstone research. (Exceptions made for students conducting research in English-speaking countries, but this does not waive the foreign language requirement.) Students are strongly encouraged to utilize the foreign language in conducting research for their thesis/capstone project or capstone seminar paper.

How Placement Works

The language requirement is fulfilled by demonstrating advanced competency in a foreign language. If the language is offered at Brown, competency is demonstrated by achieving 600-level or higher. This can be accomplished by completing coursework through the 600 level or by a placement test. If the language is not offered at Brown, competency must be demonstrated by other means, to be determined at the discretion of the Concentration Advisor.