Global Engagement

Global Engagement

SESP is adjusting to rapid globalization by pushing students to broaden their cultural perspectives through their academic pursuits. Effective fall of 2019, SESP students studying Human Development in Context, Learning & Organizational Change, Learning Sciences, and Social Policy must fulfill a Global Engagement experience one (or both) of the following ways: 

  • Studying abroad anywhere in the world for any amount of time; OR
  • Completing one year of college-level foreign language study (or equivalent, e.g. AP credit or knowledge as a heritage speaker).

More than 40 percent of SESP students have historically studied abroad, learning from an immersive experience in another academic and social culture. Your SESP academic adviser will work closely with you in advance of your planned time abroad to strategize around fulfilling distribution, concentration and second major courses while abroad. Northwestern's Global Learning Office will be an essential resource for you as you explore, apply, plan and figure out how to finance a study abroad experience.  

 If you choose to fulfill the requirement via college-level world language, please consult the below chart: 


  • All courses used to attain language proficiency for the Global Engagement experience must be taken for a letter grade; they cannot be taken P/N.
  • The SESP Global Engagement does not equate to the Weinberg Language Requirements. If you are considering a interschool transfer to the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, please note that additional language credit may be needed.
  • If you are a BSED/BSJ Dual Degree student, you will follow Medill's language requirement. Please direct questions about this requirement to the Medill Student Life team.
Table of requirements per language to waive SESP's language Global Learning requirements
Course Completion at Northwestern to meet  engagement requirement*
AP Score to meet the requirement
Arabic ARABIC 111-3 Program Test and Interview
Chinese  CHINESE 111-3 or 115-3 4, 5 Department Test and Interview
Czech SLAVIC 106-3 Department Test and Interview
French FRENCH 111-3 or 115-2 4, 5 Department Test and Interview
German GERMAN 101-3  4, 5 Department Test and Interview
Classical Greek GREEK 101-3 Department Test and Interview
Hebrew HEBREW 111-3 Center Test
Hindi HIND_URD 111-3 Department Test and Interview
Italian ITALIAN 101-3 4, 5 Department Test and Interview
Japanese JAPANESE 111-3 4, 5 Department Test and Interview
Korean KOREAN 111-3 Department Test and Interview
Latin LATIN 101-3 4, 5 Department Test
Persian (Farsi) PERSIAN 111-3 Program Test and Interview
Polish SLAVIC 108-3 Department Test and Interview
Portuguese PORT 101-3 Department Test and Interview
Russian RUSSIAN 101-3 Department Test and Interview
Spanish SPANISH 101-3 or 115-2 4, 5 in Spanish Language and Culture or Spanish Literature and Culture Department Test and Interview
Swahili SWAHILI 111-3  Program Test and Interview
Turkish TURKISH 111-3 Program Test and Interview
Urdu HIND_URD 111-3 Department Test and Interview

If you plan to continue studying a language you started in high school or that you speak at home, you should plan to take the placement exam in that language. 

If you have taken the Advanced Placement exam in a language, check the chart above to determine whether your score may have satisfied the language requirement. Students who have taken any IB language test other than in English, including Latin or Classical Greek, should take the placement exam via the corresponding department. 

*If a student places into a sequence other than the course listed above needed for proficiency, they have met the global engagement requirement.*

 If you have questions about placement or opportunities in a particular language, write directly to the placement coordinator in the relevant department. If you have questions about a language not taught at Northwestern, please consult this page and your academic adviser. 


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Student Affairs Office

School of Education and Social Policy

Walter Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive, Suite 123
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-3790