Foreign Language Proficiency Certification

For currently enrolled Northern Arizona University students

Certain degrees require you to demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language. This normally means that you must demonstrate at least second-year proficiency in a language other than English. VERY IMPORTANT: Our department strongly recommends that all Advisors and Students review Northern Arizona University language requirements for BAs under Policy 100810 before proceeding. Contact if you have any questions or concerns.

The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. offers this service at the first year level in the form of challenge exams, where non-transferable hours toward graduation are given with a passing score in the following languages:

  • Portuguese (LAN 101-102)

The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. offers this service at the second year level (some go higher) in the form of challenge exams, where non-transferable hours toward graduation are given with a passing score in the following languages:

  • Chinese (CHI 101-202)
  • Japanese (JPN 101-202)
  • Navajo (NAV 101-202)

Find out more about taking one of these exams.

Proficiency and credits through the second year level (101-202) in French, German, and Spanish can be obtained by taking the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam (credits recognized by other universities) through the Testing Center.

Challenge exams (earn non-transferable credit) are available at higher levels through Global Languages and Cultures in these languages:

  • French (FRE 303W and FRE 304W)
  • German (GER 303, GER 304, GER 403, and GER 404)
  • Italian (ITA 399)
  • Japanese (JPN 399 and JPN 499)
  • Spanish (SPA 303 and SPA 304W)
  • Swedish (LAN 399 and LAN 499)
The Global Languages and Cultures Dept. works in conjunction with  Brigham Young University (BYU)  in certifying individuals who need to prove proficiency only in a foreign language through the college 201 level.
Global Languages, in conjunction with BYU, can administer non-unit earning proficiency exams in the languages listed below.

BYU Tests Available by Online Correspondence



Please be aware that a proficiency requirement in a foreign language is different from a foreign language course/credit hours requirement. Again, it is important that you know that proficiency verification acquired through a BYU exam does NOT award transcript credit. It is simply a process to verify with your advisor that you have at third semester (201 level) proficiency in a language other than English. It is your responsibility to verify with your advisor if your program of study has a proficiency vs. credit requirement AND if the advisor will accept the BYU exam results to satisfy that requirement.

Most Bachelor of Arts programs at NAU require students to be proficient through the fourth semester of a foreign language (202 level).

For credit by examination purposes, you have the option of earning CLEP in the following languages:

  • German
  • French
  • Spanish

You have the option of earning some challenge exam credit in:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Navajo
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish


1. Verify with your adviser that you may use the Global Languages and Cultures Proficiency Exam service to verify your knowledge of a foreign language.

2. After receiving your adviser’s approval to proceed, contact Alexandria McConocha to receive additional screening and instructions.

3. If you have chosen to take an exam offered via BYU, complete the FLATS Registration Form for Testing through Online Correspondence.

Under "Proctor Information" and "Results Sent To" provide the following:

Ms. Alexandria McConocha
Global Languages and Cultures
Northern Arizona University
Box 6004
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6004

This will cost $50, which you will pay online. DO NOT select “Hold results so student will be the only one to receive a copy of the results.”

4. Pay the Global Languages proctoring fee of $35.

  • At the time of the exam, present BOTH receipts and valid identification. You will have 2.5 hours to complete the BYU test. Once you have finished, Global Languages will return the test to BYU for grading and report back to you and your adviser whether you achieved the necessary proficiency in the foreign language. The turnaround time at BYU is approximately two weeks.

Bilingual Education Endorsements

Verification of proficiency in a spoken language other than English or Sign Language, verified by the language department of an accredited institution EXCEPT in the case of Spanish and American Indian languages.

Spanish language proficiency shall be demonstrated by passing the Arizona Classroom Spanish Proficiency Examination approved by the Board and is NOT offered at NAU in Flagstaff but rather ASU in Phoenix (please click on the link). This exam is now offered FREE of CHARGE at our NAU Yuma campus; however, there is no link to sign up so please contact Alma Sandigo via email ( for more information.

American Indian language proficiency shall be verified by an official designated by the appropriate tribe. The official for the Navajo tribe and, thus Navajo Language, is NAU Emerta Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie  (link is her email). Please contact Dr. Parsons Yazzie directly via email ( for further information, fees, and setting up the time & place to take the exam. She is currently working independently of NAU in this regard.