World Languages

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World Language Program Prerequisites

Applicants for the World Language Education program must demonstrate specific criteria to be accepted, such as language proficiency scores, certain coursework or experience, and GPA requirements. 

Non-U.S. Graduates: Review the graduate school’s application requirements for specific information about comparable degrees in your country and which academic documents are required.

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Earn a Relevant Undergraduate Degree

  • Applicants need to have (or have completed by June of the year they enter the program) a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a comparable degree from an international institution.While there is no prerequisite major requirement some majors that transition well into world language education are:
    • African Studies
    • American Indian Studies
    • Folklore
    • Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Studies
    • International Studies
    • Linguistics

    To discuss your eligibility or to send us a statement and a copy of your transcript, email L.J. Randolph at

Achieve Academic Standards and Qualification Benchmarks

  • Applicants must demonstrate academic and content competency through coursework, examination, or a portfolio of evidence.
    • For admission to Graduate School, a minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required.
      • If this benchmark is not met, the program may request special approval for a candidates
      • It may be necessary for the candidate to take a standardized test such as the GRE, ACT, or SAT
    • To be eligible for certification, candidates must have a GPA of 3.0 or above within their content area.
      • If this benchmark is not met,
        • the student would need to pass a content exam, or
        • prepare a portfolio of evidence showing their competency in the content domains

World Language Proficiency

Applicants for the World Language program must have a passing PRAXIS score or an ACTFL score of Intermediate High on the Oral and Written Exam of the language of certified instruction. Your score must be from within two years before the start of the admission term. The language of instruction at the college or university level and how recently the language instruction was taken are the determining factors in meeting this requirement.

Non-native English speakers must also show adequate instructional verbal skills, by passing a verbal interview with the World Languages ESL team.

Applicants may be exempt if:

  • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution; or
  • You have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university within five years of the anticipated semester of enrollment, or
  • You have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded coursework, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Completion of graded coursework cannot be more than five years before the anticipated semester of enrollment.
  • An exemption is contingent on the World Language  program’s discretion

TOEFL scores must be submitted electronically via ETS. IELTS scores can be submitted electronically or by paper. Our office address is:

UW-Madison Graduate School, Office of Admissions

232 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive 

Madison, WI 53706