School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Language Proficiency Certification

Language Proficiency Certification

Non-Credit Proficiency Certification and Credit by Examination in World Languages

Some students seek to satisfy language requirements by means other than taking coursework.  If their situations fall within the criteria established by Penn State’s Foreign Language Placement Policy, they may request that the relevant language and literature departments provide Non-Credit Proficiency Certification or Credit by Examination. Certification is not available in all languages and levels.

1.  Non-Credit Proficiency Certification:  this process does not confer credits. There is a fee of $60 for this optional service. This is the more common type of certification offered by the School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at University Park. However, in each individual case students should check with the relevant department whether certification options are available.

The Penn State requirements regarding world languages emphasize reaching a certain level of proficiency rather than obtaining a certain number of credits in a world language, unless specified by the student’s program. This focus is consistent with many situations where students need to document just their proficiency in a language and not necessarily the credits they took in that language. Some examples of this are graduate students applying for grants or meeting their doctoral program requirements, students seeking documentation of their proficiency as native speakers of a world language or after studying a world language in another country, as well as students seeking proficiency certification in languages not taught at their Penn State location.

Students seeking Non-Credit Proficiency Certification in Foreign Languages should use the Non-Credit form available here.  Requests are to be submitted to the department that offers the language curriculum (as specified on the form) at least three weeks prior to the time when the certification will be needed. Do not wait until you are close to graduation! It is not guaranteed that all requests will be fulfilled.  If the language department cannot fulfill the request, the student will be notified and can seek alternative means of documenting proficiency (such as taking an external standardized exam in the language or taking a different language).  If the language department can fulfill the request, the certification fee must be paid before the examination is administered.  For questions about this policy, contact the relevant language department, or the School of Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (Contact: 466 Burrowes Building, (814) 865-7233,

Request for the Non-Credit Proficiency Certification in Foreign Languages

2.  Credit by Examination (CRX):  this process can confer credits.

Please note that the Credit by Examination (CRX) isn’t offered at University Park campus.

This is a method of graded credit acquisition.  It is officially defined by Faculty Senate Policy 42-50.1.

For more information, see also  and

A fee per credit is charged for CRX. The credits and grades are entered on the student’s transcript.  Paperwork to request CRX can be obtained from advising offices and from academic departments.  Departments are not necessarily obliged to offer CRX.

In language courses, students are eligible for CRX only within the parameters of the University’s Foreign Language Placement Policy. This policy states, for example, that students may not receive credit for elementary or intermediate courses in their native language.

For further information, contact:
School of Global languages, Literatures and Cultures
466 Burrowes Building
(814) 865-7233