Language Certificate, Language Requirements, Major and Minor Requirements

1. How to fulfill the Chinese Language Requirement
Learning a foreign language and culture is considered an important aspect of Penn’s education. Various methods exist to fulfill the Chinese language requirement due to differing school policies and the diverse backgrounds and experiences of students.

Students in The College of Arts and Sciences have five options to fulfill the foreign language requirement, as they are mandated to complete FOUR semesters of beginning-level foreign language courses:

(1) Passing the proficiency exam offered at the beginning of the fall semester.
(2) Completion of Beginning and Intermediate Chinese (0100, 0200, 0300, 0400).
(3) Completion of Intensive Beginning and Intermediate Chinese (0210, 0410).
(4) Completion of Chinese Reading and Writing (0320, 0420).
(5) Completion of any modern Chinese language course above the 0500-level, except for the CHIN 0705 and 0805 Advanced Spoken Chinese I & II.

Conversely, students from the Wharton School and the School of Nursing need to complete only TWO semesters of beginning-level foreign language courses and have the following options to fulfill the foreign language requirement:

(1) Passing the proficiency exam offered at the beginning of the fall semester.
(2) Completion of Beginning Chinese (0100, 0200).
(3) Completion of Intensive Beginning Chinese (0210).
(4) Completion of any modern Chinese language course above the 0300-level, except for all the spoken Chinese/Cantonese/Taiwanese courses.
(5) For Wharton students, completion of Beginning Business Chinese I and Beginning Business Chinese II (0160, 0260).
2. Information for Chinese requirements, SAT, AP Chinese & HSK

Freshmen who have taken SAT II Chinese, AP Chinese and/or HSK are required to take the Penn internal placement/proficiency exam during the new-student orientation week. SAT II Chinese, AP Chinese or HSK scores cannot be automatically converted to Penn credit or standing. The Penn placement exam includes grammar, reading, writing, translation and an oral interview. This exam allows the faculty to assess a student’s four language skills and provide accurate placement advice, helping students to excel in the Chinese language. If the exam results indicate proficiency equivalent to Penn CHIN 0400, 0420 or 0410, the foreign language requirement is fulfilled. Usually, students who learned Chinese well in high school are placed at CHIN 0300 and 0210. Heritage speakers who learned Chinese at Sunday Chinese schools and use Mandarin at home are usually placed at CHIN 0320 or 0420. But some students who learned Chinese at high schools may be required to take Beginning Chinese I (CHIN 0100) due to the lack of a solid Chinese foundation.

3. Language Placement

It is recommended that students begin to satisfy the Language Requirement in their first semester and continue to take courses consecutively until the requirement is fulfilled. At the time they first enroll in a beginning- or intermediate-level language course, all students who have previously studied that language must have a placement score. The only students exempt from having a placement score are those who have never studied the language before. Credit will not be given for a language course taken at a lower level than a student’s placement score indicates. (See the College policy:

4. The Language Certificate

Students wishing to pursue advanced language study but who cannot or do not want to fulfill the requirements of a major or minor may apply for the Language Certificate. The minimum requirement for the certificate is three courses BEYOND proficiency in the same language. In the Chinese language program, this means any three courses beyond the “Year 2” level. Courses taught in literature and culture in the original language are accepted. Approved Study Abroad courses may also be accepted. Only courses for which a grade of “B+” or above is given will count toward the certificate.

For those who wish to apply for Language Certificate, please visit Path Forms | Penn Student Registration & Financial Services| Penn Srfs ( for detailed instructions.

5. For information about Major and Minor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations , please visit the following websites: