Proficiency/Competency and Exemption Examinations
Special Examination for Credit or Grade
Students may establish proficiency/competency or credit in various disciplines under
any of several modes. They are:
NOTE: In no case may the sum of credits earned through the above examinations
and/or University of Arizona
correspondence courses exceed 60 units applied
toward an undergraduate degree. Graduate credit may not be established in this
Proficiency/Competency and Exemption Examinations
A number of colleges and departments regularly offer exemption or
proficiency/competency examinations covering introductory or basic areas of their
disciplines. These examinations are designed and graded by the individual
departments. No credit is awarded on the basis of successful performance on
these, but they allow a student two privileges: (a) the opportunity of
enrolling in advanced-level courses in the area of proficiency; or (b) the
opportunity of satisfying various college or departmental "area" or
proficiency requirements without taking prescribed courses.
Proficiency/competency or exemption examinations for many courses are available to any
student currently enrolled in a degree program at the university. Capable
students wishing to increase their elective freedom are encouraged by
university policy to examine the opportunities provided through the various
At the discretion of the department, the proficiency examination may
include laboratory projects or other evidence of satisfactory skills in
addition to or instead of the written examination. A fee is normally charged
for these examinations.
Second Language Proficiency/Competency Examinations
Updated 5/14/12: Restrictions
removed on exams in the native language of international students.
It is possible for students to satisfy second language requirements
in whole or in part by passing a non-credit proficiency/competency examination at the two-
or four-semester level*.
Passing the proficiency examination at the required level in a foreign
language fulfills the language requirement. Passing a course for which the required level is prerequisite also
establishes proficiency in that language. Credit may not be earned merely by
passing the proficiency/competency examination.
* Second language requirements vary by degree type. For specific language requirements consult the major department,
college, or the
Advisement Report for a particular degree program.
Procedures and General Regulations
- Proficiency/competency or exemption examinations are available only to
- In no case does passing an exemption or proficiency/competency examination lower
the total number of units required for the bachelor's degree.
- In normal circumstances, a student may not take a proficiency/competency
examination for the same course more than twice.
- Proficiency/competency or exemption examinations are normally given early in the
semester or during orientation. The student must contact the
appropriate department concerned for additional information and
- Students wishing to sit for a proficiency/competency or exemption examination in a
language not normally taught must contact the Department
of Linguistics for information.
- The exemption or proficiency examinations are administered only on the
University of Arizona campus. Proficiency/competency established at another institution, or a proficiency examination score from another institution, is not transferable to the University of Arizona.
- The results of exemption or proficiency/competency examinations, if successful, are
reported in writing directly to the Office of the Registrar, with a copy
to the student.
- The student's academic record will be annotated with a statement
indicating the student passed the proficiency/competency examination at the
Any student currently enrolled or previously withdrawn in good standing at
the University of Arizona may earn credit toward an undergraduate degree
through the use of special examinations. The responsibility for preparatory
study for these examinations rests entirely with the student; faculty members
are under no obligation to assist with such preparation.
Special examinations are constructed and administered by the department
concerned. They are designed to reflect and explore the scholastic equivalent
of the course, and are more comprehensive than the usual "final
exam." The examinations may be written or oral, or both, and they may
include course projects, laboratory projects, written reports, or other
evidence of proficiency.
Undergraduate courses currently offered by the University and designated in
the Catalog as "Special exam: course may be taken by special
exam for credit (not for grade)." may be taken for credit by examination.
designated "Special exam: course may be taken by special
exam for credit and grade." may be taken for grade by examination and credit by
examination. Other courses generally have been excluded from this option; at
department discretion, however, any course may be made available for grade by
examination or credit by examination.
- Special Examination for Credit: Passing grades, recorded as
"CR" (credit), become a permanent part of the student's record
but are not used in computing the cumulative grade-point-average
(GPA). Failing grades
are not recorded.
- Special Examination for Grade: All grades, whether passing or
failing, are permanently recorded and used in computing the cumulative
The credit so earned may not duplicate units already presented for
admission to the University. Nor may the credit be in a course which is
equivalent to, or more elementary than, another course in which the student is
enrolled or for which the student has already received credit. The head of the
examining department has the responsibility of determining the application of
this limitation in each student's case.
- Applications for Special Examination for Credit or Special Examination
for Grade may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar
- The application must be approved by the student's advisor.
- The examining instructor and the head of the examining department must
determine the eligibility of the applicant and sign the application.
- The application is returned to the Office of the Registrar, and the $21-per-unit fee
is paid at the Bursar's Office (University Services Bldg114). No department may schedule a special
examination until notified by the Bursar's Office that the fee has been paid.
- The examination is scheduled by the faculty member responsible, normally
during the same semester in which the application is made.
- The grade ("CR" or letter grade) is reported to the Office of
the Registrar. The
examination, together with the student's graded examination paper and any
appropriate evaluations of oral performance or projects, is then filed
with the department for at least one year.
- The student may change the type of special examination for those courses
designated "available by special exam for credit and grade" in the catalog any time before the scheduled
hour of the examination by filing a new application. No additional fee
will be charged.