Modern Languages

All bachelor degree programs require the successful completion of a full year of foreign language study: two sequential courses at the appropriate level, as determined by the student’s interests and her abilities as indicated by the online placement exam. A student who is enrolling at the introductory level (101) in a language that she has not studied in high school is not required to take the placement exam.

I speak English. Why should I learn another language?

“...[E]ffective communication and successful negotiations with a foreign partner — whether with a partner in peacekeeping, a strategic economic partner, a political adversary, or a non-English speaking contact in a critical law enforcement action — requires strong comprehension of the underlying cultural values and belief structures that are part of the life experience of the foreign partner.”
— Dr. Dan Davidson, President of the American Councils on International Education

“A different language is a different vision of life.”
— Federico Fellini, Italian film director

“To have another language is to possess a second soul” 
—Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor (747-814)

The knowledge of other languages and cultures is becoming more and more necessary in today’s globalized world, representing skills increasingly sought by employers both within and outside the United States, particularly for higher-level positions. Additionally, the ability to understand and communicate in another language and across cultures can lead to significant personal growth, both intellectually and spiritually, developing critical and interpretive thinking. (Some studies show a meaningful correlation between second language study and improved verbal and mathematical performance on tests such as the SAT or the MCAT.) Studying a second language can also open doors to self-knowledge and to participation in worlds you haven’t yet imagined.

Introductory Level - These courses are for students who have never studied the language or those who are continuing a language studied in high school and earned a score below 38 on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students who have earned high school credits in a language will not be allowed to enroll in the introductory level sequence (101) or the intermediate level sequence (111) of that language until they have taken the online placement exam.

MLAR 101Introductory Arabic I4
MLAR 102Introductory Arabic II4
MLCH 101Introductory Mandarin Chinese I4
MLCH 102Introductory Mandarin Chinese II4
MLFR 101Introductory French I4
MLFR 102Introductory French II4
MLIT 101Introductory Italian I4
MLIT 102Introductory Italian II4
MLSP 101Introductory Spanish I4
MLSP 102Introductory Spanish II4

Intermediate Level - These courses are for students who are continuing a language studied in high school and who demonstrate sufficient language competence to pursue intermediate study of the language with an emphasis on written and oral expression. Placement at the intermediate level will be determined by the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures based on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students earning a score of 38 or higher must enroll at the intermediate level. Students who have earned high school credits in a language will not be allowed to enroll in the introductory level sequence (101) or the intermediate level sequence (111) of that language until they have taken the online placement exam.

MLFR 111Intermediate French I4
MLFR 112Intermediate French II4
MLIT 111Intermediate Italian4
The Modern Language Sophia requirement can be fulfilled with a second approved Italian language course.
MLSP 111Intermediate Spanish I4
MLSP 112Intermediate Spanish II4
MLSP 115Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers I4
MLSP 116Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers II4

Placement and Credit

The decision regarding which foreign language to study and whether to continue or begin a new language belongs to the student. First-year advisors will help a student weigh her interests and consider her ability, study abroad and career plans in order to advise her and help her reach a thoughtful decision.

The placement exam can be a helpful tool in the advising process. A student electing to continue the study of a foreign language  for which she has received high school credit must complete the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam before she will be allowed to enroll in either the introductory or the intermediate level.

The level in which the student enrolls may have an impact on her choice of study abroad programs or her ability to major in a particular language. The first-year advisor can provide all pertinent information, but the student and her academic advisor are encouraged to consult with the chair of Modern Languages and Cultures if there are any questions.

Eight credits in modern languages are awarded upon completion of the requirement. Students who complete the requirement at the intermediate level (111–112 or 115–116) or higher in their first year will receive an additional four semester hours of elective credit.

Recommendations:

  1. In deciding how to fulfill the modern languages requirement in the Sophia Program, the department encourages students to base their decision on their personal interests, taking into consideration their study abroad and career plans, as well as their linguistic ability. Students should discuss this decision with their first year advisor.
  2. A student starting a new language should complete the Sophia modern language requirement before the beginning of her junior year.
  3. A student wishing to major in Spanish or minor in French or Italian with no prior study of that language must enroll in the introductory level in her first year.
  4. Students may be exempt from the foreign language requirement by examination.

Arabic

MLAR 101 Introductory Arabic I (4)
An introduction to the Arabic language. The focus is on developing language proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to Arabic and Islamic cultures. College credit will not be granted for students who have earned high school credits in the language and who earned a score of 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Continues second semester as MLAR 102. Strongly recommended for students interested in study abroad in Morocco.

CHINESE

MLCH 101 Introductory Mandarin Chinese I (4)
An introduction to Mandarin. The focus is on developing language proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to Chinese culture. College credit will not be granted for students who have earned high school credits in the language and who earned a score of 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Continues second semester as MLCH 102. Strongly recommended for students interested in study abroad in China.

FRENCH

MLFR 101 Introductory French I (4)
An introduction to the French language. The focus is on developing language proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to French and Francophone cultures. College credit will not be granted for students who have earned high school credits in the language and who earned a score of 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Continues second semester as MLFR 102. Strongly recommended for students interested in study abroad in Morocco and in Angers, France.

MLFR 111 Intermediate French I (4)
Designed to develop an intermediate level proficiency in French focusing on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Emphasis is also placed on French and Francophone cultures. Placement into this level is determined by the student’s score on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students earning a score of 38 or above must enroll in the intermediate sequence. Continues second semester as MLFR 112. MLFR 111 is required for students interested in study abroad in Angers, France.

Italian

MLIT 101 Introductory Italian I (4)
An introduction to the Italian language. The focus is on developing language proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to Italian culture. College credit will not be granted for students who have earned high school credits in the language and who earned a score of 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Continues second semester as MLIT 102. Strongly recommended for students interested in study abroad in Rome. This course also satisfies an LO2 Women's Voices and LO3 Global Learning.

MLIT 111 Intermediate Italian (4)
Designed to develop an intermediate level proficiency in Italian focusing on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Emphasis is also placed on Italian culture. Placement into this level is determined by the student’s score on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students earning a score of 38 or above must enroll in the intermediate sequence. The Modern Language Sophia requirement can be fulfilled with a second approved Italian language course.

Spanish

MLSP 101 Introductory Spanish I (4)
An introduction to the Spanish language. The focus is on developing increased proficiency in all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also introduces students to Hispanic cultures. College credit will not be granted for students who have earned high school credits in the language and who earned a score of 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students earning a score of 38 or above must enroll in one of the intermediate sequences (111–112 or 115–116). Continues second semester as MLSP 112. MLSP 111 or MLSP 115 is required for study abroad in Seville, Spain and Córdoba, Argentina.

MLSP 111 Intermediate Spanish I (4)
Designed to develop an intermediate level proficiency in Spanish focusing on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Emphasis is also placed on Hispanic cultures. Placement into this level is determined by the student’s score on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam. Students earning a score of 38 or above must enroll in the intermediate sequences (111–112 or 115–116). Continues second semester as MLSP 112. MLSP 111 or MLSP 115 is required for study abroad in Seville, Spain and Córdoba, Argentina. Section 71700 is tied to a first-year faculty advisor.

MLSP 115 Intermediate Spanish for Heritage Speakers I (4)
Designed to develop an intermediate level proficiency in Spanish focusing on all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing, but with increased attention given to reading, writing, and grammar, as appropriate to heritage speakers. Emphasis is also placed on Hispanic cultures. Only students for whom Spanish plays a role in their lives (spoken at home; grandparents or other relatives who speak Spanish, whether or not they live in the student’s home; frequent engagement with Spanish-speaking communities, etc.) and who receive 38 or above on the Northwestern University Online Placement Exam may enroll in this sequence. Students earning a score of 38 or above must enroll in one of the intermediate sequences (111–112 or 115–116). Continues second semester as MLSP 116. MLSP 111 or MLSP 115 is required for study abroad in Seville, Spain and Córdoba, Argentina.