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Northwestern University

Proficiency in a Language Not Taught at Northwestern

What languages satisfy this requirement?

Although Northwestern will test proficiency in foreign languages not taught here, the Language Proficiency Committee will only recognize languages in which reading, writing, listening, speaking, and cultural awareness can be tested. Languages which are only oral or which are regional dialects, for example, cannot be used to satisfy the Weinberg College foreign language proficiency requirement.

Process of validating a language not taught at Northwestern

Note: If you are seeking proficiency based on coursework at a high school where English was not the primary language of instruction, see the instructions below.

Complete and submit a petition form

Download the Petition for Testing in a Language not Taught at Northwestern. Submit your completed petition via email attachment to the Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising ( prior to or during your first quarter at Northwestern.

Pass a proficiency examination

The Language Proficiency Committee will attempt to locate a qualified tester in that language. Should a qualified tester not be found within the Northwestern University community, the Committee will make a limited but reasonable effort to locate an academically qualified tester at another U.S. university.

Once a qualified tester has been located, you must make an appointment for an examination. After the proficiency examination has been administered, your tester will submit a report and recommendation to the Language Proficiency Committee. The Committee will then make its final determination on the petition.

If no qualified tester can be found within one academic quarter, your petition will be denied and you will need to fulfill the Weinberg College foreign language proficiency requirement in a language taught at Northwestern.

Petitioning for coursework at a high school where English was not the primary language of instruction

If you attended a full-time high school where a language other than English was the primary language of instruction, you may be able to demonstrate proficiency in that language without being tested. To seek proficiency for this coursework, submit the Petition for Proficiency Testing Based on Attending a non-English High School and supporting documentation (high school transcript and letter of verification from a school official) to the Weinberg College Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising (

Updated 5/2021

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