Language Proficiency

In order to graduate, a student must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in one language other than English. Proficiency will be defined as follows: (i) four semesters of language study at Penn State, your original undergraduate institution or a combination of both; (ii) native acquisition, as shown by the candidate's personal history and approved by the School of International Affairs; or (iii) performance on a proficiency evaluation equivalent to four semesters (15 credits) of language learning, for this purpose, either Penn State's proficiency certification process or another pre-approved proficiency test may be used.  

A Language Proficiency Form must be in a student's file in order for a candidate to graduate.

This form must be submitted during the first semester of study with the SIA. The requirement must then be fully met before a student will be placed on the graduation list. Not completing this requirement will delay the student's degree completion, regardless of whether all other academic requirements have been met.

Questions regarding the language proficiency requirement should sent to


Credits taken as “audit” cannot count towards fulfillment of the language proficiency requirement.

In situations where two or more language classes replicate each other (in content/title), only one can be counted towards the SIA language requirement

When a student's language proficiency level cannot be readily determined to be at the 15 credit level, SIA reserves the right to require a language proficiency test.