Funded PhD programs in English generally require you to be fluent in English and one other language. You can always look up the PhD requirements for each college by reviewing the course requirements for the program. If you're choosing a specific historic time period for your PhD, then you may need to know two foreign languages. Generally, if the PhD program requires you to learn another language, time will be set aside within your studies to take language classes. Similarly, your department should have language funds to hire a personal tutor or to provide you intensive summer training in said language. I am a History PhD Candidate at the University of Virginia, but I have a lot of friends in the English department. Their language tests depended on basic reading/writing capabilities but did not involve a speaking portion. They were allowed to use dictionaries during the testing period as well. I've been granted funding to learn American Sign Language, and many of my colleagues have gone abroad for a crash course in the foreign language of their choosing.
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- Review your list of colleges and check their specific requirements
- Sign up for DuoLingo to get a head start