Language Information

Swahili Placement Test Information

To access your results, or to take a test, scroll to the bottom of this page. The following information is excerpted from the department's website and provides guidance on taking placement tests, interpreting your results, and next steps. Consult the original department page for additional information.

Swahili at Northwestern


Every year, Northwestern offers courses in Swahili, one of the most widely spoken languages on the continent. To see which courses we currently offer, please see our current course list.

Course Overview

Swahili classes are open to undergraduate and graduate students. There are three courses in sequence from Fall to Spring. The course presents the essentials of modern Standard Swahili grammar while proficiency in the language is developed. The expectation is that by the end of the first year, a diligent student will be able to acquire ACTFL "novice mid" to "novice high" oral proficiency along with basic literacy skills (see Foreign Language Annals Vol. 33, No.1, p. 12-18 for ACTFL descriptors). The course is organized on the national standard first-year text, Swahili: A Foundation for Speaking, Reading, and Writing, by Thomas Hinnebusch and Sarah Mirza. A significant amount of work for the course involves accessing the class's dedicated Blackboard website and interacting with multimedia resources there. Students will perform some course assignments, take some tests, interact with digital audio and video files, and create a personal webpage within the Swahili I Blackboard site.

Swahili placement tests

Any student with prior exposure to the Swahili language and culture but who has not done a standardized Swahili test/exam or has taken a standardized Swahili exam but has not passed, should consider taking a Swahili placement test. A standardized Swahili exam can either be the national Swahili exams administered at the end of high school education in East Africa or ACTFL proficiency tests.

The Swahili placement test has grammar, reading, and writing sections, which are done online. The grammar and reading sections are graded automatically, but the Swahili instructor grades the writing section, upon which they will ask you to schedule a meeting for an oral exam component of the placement test either in person or on Zoom. The purpose of the oral exam is to properly assess your proficiency so you can be advised of the appropriate proficiency Swahili level in which you should enroll.

Click here for more information about Swahili Placement tests. To learn more about the online test, click the following link: the online placement test site.

Professor Peter Mwangi

Swahili classes are taught by Professor Peter Mwangi. Peter Mwangi holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs, M.Ed. in Educational Administration, and M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University. Peter obtained his B.A. in Swahili from Moi University, Kenya. Peter’s general research interest area is in current trends in global higher education. He is currently researching on the impact of the Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) on the internationalization of higher education in the U.S. Peter has previously held various Swahili teaching positions at the University of Kansas, Ohio University, Indiana University, University of Oregon, and University of Virginia.

Contact Peter Mwangi