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


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.


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

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


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.

Placement Procedures

  • Consult this Standard Ways to Fulfill the Language Requirement table on the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences website to confirm that an exam is necessary; in some cases, a high AP exam score is sufficient to determine placement or verify proficiency.
  • Placement exams for the following languages are available online: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean (Korean exam available only September 1-13, 2019), Latin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.
  • Placement exams for the following languages are held on-campus: (Ancient) Greek, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Turkish.

Please note that:

  • You are required to take the placement exams before you arrive on campus except for Russian and Japanese, which are available only during Wildcat Welcome and by appointment.
  • For information on placement exams in Czech, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese or Turkish, contact the respective language placement coordinators. Please consult individual departments or the language placement page under new student orientation or the brochure Everything You Need to Know about Learning Languages at Northwestern.
  • 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 Wildcat Welcome webpage, which is posted during the summer.

How to Take the Test Online

  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.




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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