A student reviewing OPI scores.

Language Requirements

The Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

About the OPI

The OPI is a live 20-30 minute conversation that takes place over the phone between a trained, certified ACTFL tester and the candidate. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for the OPI range from Novice to Distinguished.

Language Expectation for Admission to Lauder

Every applicant to the Lauder Institute – whether to the MBA/MA or the JD/MA program – is required to submit an OPI, with the option to submit more than one. The minimum OPI for admission to Lauder is Advanced Low. If applicants score lower than an Advanced Low, they are welcome and encouraged to retake the OPI to achieve the minimum rating. Applicants who test in their native language (when that language is not English) are expected to score at the Superior-level or higher. Students are required to demonstrate a Superior-level prior to graduation.

Global Program applicants must test superior in one language other than English at the time of application and applicants to the General track Africa Program must test at the superior level in any language other than English as well. Applicants are welcome to test in their native language provided it is not English.

Scheduling an OPI

To schedule an OPI, complete and submit LTI’s online application. When scheduling with LTI, please be sure to register as a Lauder applicant. Click through to the Important Dates & Deadlines page of this website for OPI start dates and deadlines.

Important information regarding the OPI:

  • You must submit the OPI score by the related OPI deadline for the round you are applying in.
  • Applicants who want to retake the OPI or obtain an test date earlier than what can be scheduled online should contact LTI directly via phone at 1-800-486-8444.
  • You do not need to obtain a certificate indicating your proficiency from LTI. You only need to have an online score reported which the Lauder admissions office can access directly. (The online reporting score is less expensive.)

Sample Recordings of the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

Sample OPI clips at the Advanced level:

Sample OPI clips at the Superior level:

Language Instruction and Testing

Supported Languages

Lauder currently supports instruction in the languages listed below, but applicants with proficiency in other languages are welcome to apply. Applicants applying to a regional Program of Concentration must indicate a target language at the time of application and must reach Superior-level proficiency in that language to graduate. The languages of instruction column below indicates the in-language focus of the summer immersion.

Programs of Concentration Languages of Instruction
Africa French
Latin America Portuguese
East Asia and Southeast Asia Chinese
Europe French
Global All languages welcome.
South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa Arabic

Choosing a Language for the OPI

Applicants should choose to test in a language in which they have high proficiency. Their choice of language should also be related to their chosen Program of Concentration.

For applicants to one of Lauder’s five regional Programs of Concentration:

For those applying to one of the regional Programs of Concentration (Africa; Europe, East and Southeast Asia; Latin America; or South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa), applicants must test at least at the Advanced-Low level on the OPI. Students will be required to take courses in their target language at Lauder until they reach the Superior level. Students who reach the Superior level after the summer immersion (which includes five weeks of intensive language immersion in addition to a three-week regional immersion) have the option of taking electives relevant to their Program of Concentration in lieu of language. These students are also welcome to continue their study of their target language as credit toward the degree. Please note: there is no admission advantage given to a student who tests above an Advanced-Low level.

For applicants to Lauder’s General Track Africa Program of Concentration: 

Candidates applying to the General track Africa Program must demonstrate Superior-level proficiency on the OPI in any language other than English. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English.

For applicants to Lauder’s Global Program of Concentration: 

Candidates applying to the Global Program must demonstrate Superior-level proficiency on the OPI in any language. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English.

OPI Dates and Deadlines

The OPI may be completed any time after July 1, 2020 to count for the upcoming admissions cycle, but it must be completed by September 15, 2020 for Round 1 applicants or January 5, 2021 for Round 2 applicants. Be sure to schedule your OPI well in advance.

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute
256 South 37th street
2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330