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Undergraduate

Please find here essential information that will help you navigate your way through the exciting world of languages at Northwestern University.

A. CLI BROCHURE

A comprehensive overview of what you need to know is given in our brochure Everything You Need to Know about Learning Languages at Northwestern that you can download as a pdf file for your reference in the column at your right.

B. LANGUAGES OFFERED

The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences offers the following languages:

Ancient Greek | Arabic | Chinese | Czech | French | German | Hebrew | Hindi-Urdu | Italian | Japanese | Korean Latin | Persian (Farsi) | Polish | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish | Swahili | Turkish |

C. PLACEMENT INFORMATION

Students with prior knowledge of a language who have not taken the College Entrance Examination Board Advanced Placement Examination (AP Exam) and would like to continue their language studies, will have to take a language placement exam to determine appropriate placement. Departments teaching this subjects use the results of these exams to help plan an appropriate academic program. If you have taken the AP Exam, please consult this Standard Ways to Fulfill the Language Requirement table on the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences website or our brochure to find out where this places you in our language programs.

Language placement exams are given over the summer or during Wildcat Welcome (depending on language). Go to Purple Prep to learn more about Placement Exams.

STEP 1. Do I need to take the placement exam?

Consult this Standard Ways to Fulfill the Language Requirement table on the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences website to confirm that a placement test is necessary; in some cases, a high AP exam score is sufficient to determine placement or verify proficiency.

STEP 2. Where do I take the placement exam?

You are required to take the placement exams before you arrive on campus except for Russian and Japanese, which are available only during New Student Week and by appointment.

As a rule, online placement exams should be taken as early as possible; however, incoming first-year students should not attempt to take an online language placement exams until a supported test date is announced on the New Student & Family Programs web page, which is posted during the summer

Find the placement test information relevant to your language of interest:

Arabic

Take the online Arabic placement exam.
For more information, contact: mena-languages@northwestern.edu

Chinese

Take the online Chinese placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Chin-Hung Chang: chin-hung.chang@northwestern.edu

Czech

To inquire about the Czech placement exam or to arrange for one, contact Prof. Elisabeth Elliott: eelliott@northwestern.edu

French

Take the online French placement exam.
For more information, contactProf. Aude Raymond: araymond@northwestern.edu

German

Take the online German placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Franziska Lys: flys@northwestern.edu

Ancient Greek

To inquire about the Ancient Greek placement exam or to arrange for one, contact Prof. Ryan Platte: ryan.platte@northwestern.edu

Hebrew

Take the online Hebrew placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof.  Hanna Tzuker Seltzer: hanna.seltzer@northwestern.edu 

Hindi-Urdu
  • The Hindi written placement exam will be offered via Zoom on the following dates: 

    Monday, August 31, 2020  @ 8:00AM - 10:00AM CDT
    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 @ 1:00PM -3:00PM CDT

    Please email Prof. Rami Nair rnair@northwestern.edu about your intention to take the exam (including the date), and you will receive a zoom link for the exam. Oral validation exam will be conducted by a separate Zoom appointment that week. ​Be sure to bring a picture ID to the test, and have your Northwestern ID handy as well.

  • The Urdu written placement exam will be offered via Zoom on the following dates: 

    Monday, August 31, 2020 @ 10:00AM - 12:00PM CDT
    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 @ 2:00PM - 4:00PM CDT

    Please email Prof. David Boyk davidboyk@northwestern.edu about your intention to take the exam (including the date), and you will receive a zoom link for the exam. Oral validation exam will be conducted by a separate Zoom appointment that week. ​Be sure to bring a picture ID to the test, and have your Northwestern ID handy as well. 
Italian

Take the online Italian placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Paola Morgavi: p-morgavi@northwestern.edu

Japanese

Take the online Japanese placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Junko Sato: jsato@northwestern.edu

Korean

Take the online Korean placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Ihnhee Kim: Ihnhee.Kim@northwestern.edu

Latin

Take the online Latin placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Francesca Tataranni: f-tataranni@northwestern.edu

Persian

To inquire about the Persian placement exam or to arrange for one, contact the Director of the MENA Language Programs, Prof. Franziska Lys: flys@northwestern.edu

Polish

Take the online Polish placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Kinga Kosmala: kinga.kosmala@northwestern.edu

Portuguese

Portuguese Placement Evaluation will be online only: take the online Portuguese placement exam.
After they have taken the online Placement text, students will receive an email for a Zoom Interview. They will be reassessed during this interview.
No campus interview or exams will be given.
For more information, contact Prof. Ana Thomé Williams:  ana-williams@northwestern.edu

Russian

Take the online Russian placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Elisabeth Elliott: eelliott@northwestern.edu

Spanish

Take the online Spanish placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Shannon Millikin: s-millikin@northwestern.edu

Swahili

Take the online Swahili placement exam.
For more information, contact Prof. Peter Mwangi: peter.mwangi@northwestern.edu

Turkish

To inquire about the Turkish placement exam or to arrange for one, contact Prof. Oya Topçuoğlu: oya.topcuoglu@northwestern.edu

STEP 3. How do I take the Placement Exam?

  1. To begin, you will need a Northwestern University Network ID (NetID) and password to gain access to the testing system.
  2. After logging in to the system for the first time, you will be asked to complete a short profile, which also requests your student ID number.
  3. After completing the profile information, you will be presented with a list of available language tests.
  4. After selecting a placement exam, you will review the testing agreement that affirms your adherence to the Northwestern honor code and then begin the exam. Some departments make a practice exam available which you should feel free to take.
  5. You must finalize the exam if you wish it to be reviewed by a placement coordinator. After finalizing your exam, you will receive a confirmation number that can either be printed out or written down.

How long are my placement results valid?

Each language department determines the length of validity of its Placement exam.

Students participating in summer, semester or year-long language programs in the U.S. or abroad are generally required to retake the placement exam.

Students should contact the particular department for advising, especially if continuing language study after a break in language study.

Valid 1 year

Chinese, Czech, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Urdu.

Valid 1.5 years

Latin (Each case is evaluated individually), Portuguese, Spanish

Valid 2 years

Arabic (if Placement grade is B or above)
Hebrew (if Placement grade is B or above)
Turkish (if Placement grade is B or above)

Valid 4 years

German
Placement results in Czech, Polish, Turkish, and Russian that demonstrate native or near-native proficiency levels remain valid the entire four years.

Contact the departments, for information regarding test validity of Ancient Greek (classics@northwestern.edu), Swahili (african-studies@northwestern.edu).

 

D. LINKS FOR STUDY ABROAD

E. OTHER IMPORTANT LINKS

F.  CULTURAL STUDENT GROUPS

Northwestern has a wide variety of cultural student groups that also address the interests of international students and students who are interested in world languages and world cultures. Here is the university’s list of cultural groups as part of all the student groups at the university listed on Wildcat Connection!

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