Every student in the Department is required to demonstrate competence in at least two foreign languages: one in the East Asian language appropriate to the field of specialization (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean), the other in a European language, typically French or German. Students specializing in the pre-modern or early modern periods must be proficient in both the classical and the modern language of their field of specialization. In addition, students in Chinese studies are required to take at least two years of modern Japanese and are advised to take EAS 563-564 (Readings in Japanese Academic Style).Depending on the field of specialization, individual faculty may impose additional language requirements. 

The European and (for students in Chinese studies) Japanese language requirements must be fulfilled prior to the General Examination. These and any other language requirements may be fulfilled through regular courses during the academic year and/or through intensive summer programs that typically provide the equivalent of a full year of language study, for which students may apply for additional Princeton (or outside) funding dedicated to this purpose. Princeton maintains its own summer language programs in Beijing, China and Kanazawa (Ishikawa prefecture), Japan. Students may also take examinations to place out of their additional language requirements. These examinations must be taken before the General Examination.

Upon arrival at Princeton, new students are evaluated in the language of their field of specialization and, if necessary, placed into appropriate language courses. Foreign students are required to take an examination to demonstrate adequate mastery of the English language and, in some cases, they may be asked to take a dedicated English language course.