Language Certificate, Language Requirements, Major and Minor Requirements

Information for Chinese Requirement, SAT, AP Chinese & HSK

Learning a foreign language and culture is considered an important aspect of Penn’s education. The College of Arts and Sciences and The School of Nursing require students to take four semesters of beginning-level foreign language courses in order to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Because of students’ varying backgrounds and experiences, there are six ways to fulfill the Chinese requirement.

(1) Passing the proficiency exam offered in the beginning of the fall semester

(2) Completion of Beginning and Intermediate Chinese (0100, 0200, 0300, 0400)

(3) For Wharton students, completion of Beginning Business Chinese I and Beginning Business Chinese II (0160, 0260)

(4) Completion of Intensive Beginning and Intermediate Chinese (0210, 0410)

(5) Completion of Chinese Reading and Writing (0320, 0420)

(6) Completion of any modern Chinese language course that is above the 0500-level

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.



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

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