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Get an Internationally Recognized Credential

The Foreign Language Certificate (in Chinese, French, German, or Spanish) provides an internationally recognized credential. You can pair this certificate with any major or minor at IUP.

Knowing a foreign language is a skill many employers value, so it provides that competitive edge in the job market.

The five language certificates IUP offers are for the most in-demand languages among US employers. You’ll learn to speak, read, and write in the language and to understand the spoken language. You will also gain cultural insights that will make you more competitive in many fields.

Certificates in French, German, and Spanish: students will take courses numbered 101, 102, 201, 220, and 230. Other courses above 220 may substitute for 230.

  • For Chinese: Students also take courses numbered 101, 102, and 201, but since there are no 220 and 230 courses, six credits of alternate courses may be taken (must be approved by the department chair or chair’s designee).
  • For Japanese: Courses are no longer offered through the Department of Foreign Languages, and their JAPN designation was changed to CRLG; any courses taken for the Certificate require approval by the department chair or chair’s designee.

*Up to 12 credits may be exempted if a student comes in with transfer credits or AP credits or tests out of one or more courses via a departmental or other approved placement exam or instructor evaluation.

Imagine Your Future

There is no typical career path for students who pursue a foreign language certificate. However, these skills allow you to thrive in many fields, from hospitality management to interpretation services. The languages in these certificate programs consistently place in the top 10 for their usefulness in a variety of professional fields.

In addition, almost half of US adults, 49 percent, look back on their education and say they wish they had taken more classes in foreign languages, according to a survey by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Sixty-three percent say it’s important to teach foreign languages to children. Also, a quarter of Americans ages 18 to 29 say they often use a language other than English with family and friends.

Language skills are in high demand among US employers, and that demand is only expected to increase.

According to a survey commissioned by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, nine of 10 US employers rely on employees with skills in languages other than English. Of those employers, 56 percent say their foreign language demand will increase in the next five years.

In addition, 47 percent of US employers have stated a need for language skills exclusively for the domestic market; one in three language-dependent US employers reports a gap in language skills, and one in four US employers reports a loss of business because of a lack of language skills.

Industries Looking for You

Knowing a foreign language is particularly beneficial in certain professional areas: from the arts, business, communication, consultancy, diplomacy, and education to work in financial institutions or in government or international organizations. It can also be a benefit in fields from health services, hospitality management, human resources, IT services, journalism, law enforcement, marketing, and media to politics, public relations, retail and sales, security, tourism, trade, and translation and interpretation services.

Classes and Requirements

Foreign language certificate programs allow students to expand their linguistic and cultural competencies beyond basic communication. Students who come to IUP with a background in a foreign language may be able to place out of up to 12 of the 18 required credits for the certificate. Those students would be able to fulfill the course requirements with only six more credits.

True beginners in any language IUP offers are usually able to complete all requirements in five to six semesters. The Oral Proficiency Interview by computer (OPIc) is an internationally recognized language assessment that gives students an additional credential to add to their résumés to make them more marketable. Through these certificate programs, students gain language and culture skills that allow them to interact cross-culturally and internationally. The certificates are an excellent option for students who do not have enough time or space in their schedules for a minor.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Certificate Information Sessions

At least two information sessions on the Foreign Language Certificate programs will be held each fall and spring semester. These sessions will explain the requirements for the certificates in each language as well as how having this extra credential on their transcript benefits students.

Oral Proficiency Interview

The Oral Proficiency Interview by computer (OPIc) is required for all students pursuing a certificate in a foreign language. This internationally recognized language assessment is offered through Language Testing International, an affiliate of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Two OPIc information sessions will be offered each fall and spring semester. During these sessions, students will learn how to register for the OPIc, how the assessment is structured, and how to pay for it.

Oral Proficiency Interview by Computer (OPIc)

The Oral Proficiency Interview by computer is an integral part of any Foreign Language Certificate program.

Students who take the OPIc will receive an official document from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages that attests to their proficiency level and describes which language functions they can comfortably perform.

Many employers value the OPIc, since it accurately conveys the language proficiency of potential employees. Learn more about the OPIc on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages website.

Study Abroad

You have the opportunity to study abroad through the Office of International Education. You can choose from programs in a variety of cities and of varying lengths. Living and studying abroad allows you to be immersed in a language and culture and to develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives and world views. Learn more through the Office of International Education website or through informational workshops on studying abroad.

Language Clubs

The French Club (IUP CAFE), German Club, Chinese Language and Culture Club, Japanese Student Association, and Spanish Club (Andale) are recognized organizations at the university. All are culture-focused clubs, and every member of the IUP community is welcome to join. Skills in these languages are not required. Meeting dates and times are determined at the beginning of each semester.

Past events have focused on movies, trivia, food, music, and more from each country. Contact Heide Witthöft at heide@iup.edu for more information about the German Club and Jean-Louis Dassier at dassier@iup.edu for information about IUP CAFE.