Article 3, Part 2 – Examinations

Main Content

§ 3-203 Proficiency Examinations

  1. All Students
    1. Proficiency exams offer students the opportunity to earn academic credit that counts toward degree completion without actually taking the course for which they earn the credit.
    2. Information concerning proficiency examinations may be obtained from the student’s college or from the department offering the course for which the student wishes to earn proficiency credit. Except as provided in subsection (3)(D) below, a student must secure the consent of the head or chairperson of the department concerned to take these examinations.
    3. Departmental proficiency examinations may be taken only by the following:
      1. Students who are currently enrolled for courses on the Urbana-Champaign campus. (A person attending only as an auditor is not considered to be “currently enrolled.”) For the purpose of this rule, a student who has completed the work of fall semester or winter session is considered to be “currently enrolled for courses” for fifteen days after the close of the final examination period, including graduating seniors; and a student who has completed the work of spring semester or a summer session is considered to be “currently enrolled for courses” up to the end of the registration period for the following fall semester, including graduating seniors.
      2. Persons who have been previously registered in a degree program and are currently registered in an online course, or an extramural course offered by the university.
      3. Persons who are not registered in the university at the time they wish to take a departmental proficiency exam but who are candidates for undergraduate degrees at the University of Illinois who need no more than ten semester hours to complete the requirements for their degrees. (See § 3 204 on special examinations.)
      4. Students who participate in the proficiency testing sessions offered during New Student Welcome Week, at the beginning of the fall semester, or at the beginning of the spring semester. Credit earned by this method does not become a part of the student’s university record until after the student has completed registration.
    4. Departmental proficiency examinations may NOT be taken in the following circumstances:
      1. To earn credit for a course that has been failed, meaning the student earned a grade of F, FR, or ABS. (See § 3-204 on special examinations.)
      2. To change to a PS an earned grade that was lower than what the student desired.
      3. To earn credit for an elementary-level college course which is part of a sequence of courses covering elementary- and intermediate-level material when the student has already received credit, or is scheduled to receive credit, for one or more than one semester of work in the subject.
    5. The grade for proficiency examinations is PS or F.
      1. A grade of PS is awarded when the student earns at least a C on the examination. Individual departments may set the minimum passing score for their departmental proficiency exams to be higher than a C.
      2. A grade of F is awarded when the student earns lower than a C, or lower than the department’s minimum score. An F is not recorded in the student’s official academic record and does not appear on the student's transcript. However, departments may keep internal records and prohibit a student from re-taking the departmental proficiency examination.
      3. The department that offers a departmental proficiency exam is responsible for submitting PS grades to the Registrar’s Office within 4 weeks of the date of the proficiency exam.
    6. Proficiency examinations are generally given at no cost to the student; however, a fee may be charged for proficiency examinations from agencies outside the university.
    7. Students wishing to take a proficiency examination in a subject not offered at the campus at which they are or have been registered, but offered at another campus of the university, may do so upon satisfying the above conditions, provided they obtain approval from their primary campus (the campus at which they were last registered) for concurrent registration prior to taking the examination.
    8. Departments have no obligation to administer proficiency exams to students from other institutions who are not currently enrolled at the University of Illinois, as defined in subsection (a)(3)(A) above.
  2. Undergraduate Students
    1. Proficiency examinations for advanced standing are offered in all university courses normally open to freshmen and sophomores.
    2. A student may take proficiency examinations in more advanced undergraduate courses on the recommendation of the head or chairperson of the department and with the approval of the dean of the college in which the department offering the proficiency exam is located.
    3. Proficiency examinations for advanced courses may be taken by graduating seniors at any time designated by the instructor within the time limits of subsection (a)(3)(A) above.
    4. Undergraduate students who pass a proficiency examination are given credit toward graduation for the amount regularly allowed in the course, provided such credit does not duplicate credit counted for admission to the university and provided the credit is acceptable in their curriculum.
    5. Credit earned by a proficiency examination does not count toward satisfying the minimum requirement of sixty semester hours of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign credit. (See § 3-801 for details on the credit requirements for a bachelor’s degree.)
  3. Graduate Students
    1. Graduate students may satisfy specific requirements by passing proficiency examinations.
    2. Credit earned by passing a proficiency examination cannot be applied toward graduate degrees.