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Language Placement

Foreign Language Proficiency Requirement

The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) has a foreign language proficiency requirement. This requirement is met through two years' study of one language with a minimum passing grade in the last quarter of C-, or its equivalent. Your language requirement will not be fulfilled if you complete one year in two distinct languages (e.g., one year of Chinese I followed by one year of Hindi-Urdu I). Please check the WCAS Undergraduate Student Handbook to learn how you can complete the foreign language proficiency requirement or, alternatively, how you can demonstrate proficiency in the foreign language of your choice.

The School of Communication also has a foreign language proficiency requirement, and other Northwestern Schools may also have such a requirement. Please check the web site of your home School to familiarize yourself with your School’s policies and guidelines in this regard.

Please note that you cannot use foreign language courses taken at other U.S. institutions after matriculation to fulfill the foreign language proficiency requirement. Students who study an Asian language at another U.S. institutions after matriculation at Northwestern and hope to fulfill the foreign language proficiency requirement based on that coursework must take the placement test in the language of their choice. 

For the student who wants to use a language not offered at Northwestern to place out the the Weinberg 2 year foreign language requirement, s/he needs to fill out a petition and submit it as instructed in the Special Circumstances section of the handbook.  The university will try to find a person for this student who can test them on his/her foreign language skills. The student will NOT earn any credit by placing out of 2 years of the foreign language, but they can use those 6 units/quarters to study something else of their choice.

Placement into ALC Language Courses

Anyone new to Northwestern with prior knowledge of the following languages must take the placement test before meeting with an advisor or registering for those language courses. Please visit the ALC first year page for the placement test information.  Students who come back from a study abroad or summer program at any institutions (including IPD Beijing Summer Program) and want to continue language study at Northwestern and/or want to transfer credits for language course work to Northwestern MUST also take the placement test.

For questions regarding the placement test and/or your placement in ALC’s language courses, contact the appropriate language placement test coordinator listed below:

Language Placement Contact Information


Placement Test Coordinator

Contact Information


Chin-Hung Chang


Rami Nair


Junko Sato


Ihnhee Kim


David Boyk

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