Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation

Advising & Overview: Interpreting

Advising | Overview | Assessment


Mentoring and advisement is an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the program director to ensure that educational goals are being met. Prospective and current students are urged to consult with Professor Shawn J. Parry-Giles, Academic Director, Graduate Studies in Interpreting and Translation, email:

Admitted students are subject to the following program requirements:

  • Maintain minimum of 3.0 GPA and a B or better (including B-) for courses that are required.
  • File an approved Plan of Study by the first semester (full-time students).
  • Submit all work specified within an incomplete contract by end of the semester following the awarded incomplete unless otherwise specified in the incomplete contract.
  • Not found responsible for breaching ethical principles of scholarship (e.g., violations of academic integrity and/or intellectual property rights) or non-compliance of protocols for protection of human subjects.

In addition, admitted students are required to maintain continuous enrollment for courses as outlined in the plan of study.  Graduate School policy stipulates a five-year Time Limitation for completing a graduate certificate. Circumstances may arise when students cannot continuously dedicate time to the program. In such cases, students making satisfactory progress may receive a Waiver of Continuous Registration or Leave of Absence. The time taken on an approved leave of absence is not included in the time limitation for degree completion.


The Interpreting Program offers two plans of study: Graduate Certificate in Consecutive Interpreting and Master of Professional Studies in Interpreting.  Both feature a seminar-style, face to face learning environment that uses the semester academic calendar. Courses meet at the UMD College Park campus.

The Interpreting Program offers regular instruction in high demand languages, including Chinese, German, and Spanish. Other languages can be accommodated. English must be either your native tongue or the primary acquired language. Instruction includes:

  • Year I, GC or MPS: 21 credits of core training in the fundamental skills of consecutive interpreting in interpreting studies, the interpreting profession, and intercultural communication.
  • Year II, MPS only: 23 credits of advanced training in consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, advanced training in interpreting studies, intercultural communication, and/or communication in political, legal, or healthcare settings, and/or training in communication and language services program management.

Students who successfully complete the GC-Interpreting and wish to pursue the MPS-Interpreting, must first submit an application for the MPS. You do not need to re-submit accompanying application materials, retake the Admissions Entry Tests, or pay the application fee if applying within a five-year period. You are required to take the Degree-track Entry Tests.


Interpreting conducts the following comprehensive assessments and all testing reflects authentic, real-world translation requirements to the greatest possible degree, unless the test purpose or stage of translation acquisition makes modifications or deviations from real-world contexts essential. The topics of all tests are from current events and topical, cultural, or scientific issues widely discussed in the U.S. or international media, or the fields of health, law, or politics. The materials used in all tests are authentic materials and recordings from settings and text types frequently encountered by translators working in the fields of business, health, law, politics, and science and technology.

Degree-track Entry Tests:

  • For the MPS only. Prior to enrolling in second-year courses, all students admitted into the MPS in Interpreting must perform successfully on Degree-track Entry Tests in one of the two MPS in Interpreting tracks: Conference or Public Service Interpreting. Degree-track Entry Tests determine whether students have the ability in their proposed language combinations to begin the specialized coursework required. Students submit a representative sample of introductory second-year translation coursework under examination conditions. Upfront payment of the $120 nonrefundable Degree-track Entry Tests fee is required.

Degree Examinations:

  • For the MPS only. Administered as part the required course COMM657 Professional Practice Forum in Interpreting: Career Portfolio and Exams, Degree Examinations determines whether students have the interpreting competence in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, particularly through taking employer tests required for staff and freelance interpreting work and tests for professional certification.

Career Portfolio Review:

  • For the MPS only. The portfolio is part of the coursework for COMM657 Professional Practice Forum in Interpreting: Career Portfolio and Exams, a required course, and conducted after the Degree Examinations. The purpose is to determine whether students have the career strategies in their proposed language combinations to enter into the profession at a distinguished level, in particular through career goal setting and planning for future employment. The portfolio is a career development tool that students can use to seek and find interpreting work.
  • Scope and content: Includes documentation of a broad range of learning experiences in the field. Representative documents include biographical information such as résumés and curricula vitae, reflective statements of learning experiences from class assignments, internships and tests; peer, instructor, and employer (internship) feedback; and statements of career goals and career development strategies.
  • Review: Conducted with a panel of instructors and professional interpreters that may include representatives of employer organizations. The review is an opportunity to discuss career goals and long-term professional development plans based upon the contents of the portfolio, performance in the final degree examinations, and employer needs and hiring requirements.

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