Graduate students will take three courses each semester of their first year, and two each semester of their second year. The first and fourth years will normally be supported by fellowship. During the second, third, and fifth years, students will normally teach to earn their stipends; in the second year by serving as a teaching assistant for a lecture course, and in the third and fifth years by teaching expository writing. Training and practice in teaching are regarded as an integral part of the graduate program. On some occasions, graduate students, with prior approval of the faculty, conduct undergraduate courses of their own design.
Students are also expected to demonstrate proficiency in reading one foreign language (at the level of fluency) or two foreign languages (at the more modest level of competency). The language requirement may be satisfied either by course work (including summer courses offered at Johns Hopkins) or by written examination (for which students are expected to translate a paragraph with the aid of a dictionary).
During the spring of their second year, graduate students, in concert with a faculty sponsor, will collectively organize the ELH Symposium for the following year. In the third year, they will supervise the ELH Symposium on a topic of their choice and invite scholars from outside the university to lecture on their work.
At the end of the first semester of the third year, each graduate student will take a preliminary examination in two fields. After completing their exams, graduate students will work with their advisers and other departmental faculty to develop a dissertation prospectus to guide their course of research. By the end of the third year, students should be prepared for the task of writing a new and original piece of scholarship.