Certificate of Advanced Level Proficiency in Spanish

For general questions, contact Spanish Advising.

For questions related to assessment, contact the Language Testing Program.

The Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish is a new option for undergraduate students who are interested in achieving advanced-level proficiency in Spanish, and having their skills formally recognized. It is open to Spanish majors and minors, as well as University of Minnesota undergraduate students from any college studying any discipline.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity watch our video presentation.

Benefits of the Certificate​

This certificate helps you move from intermediate-level proficiency to advanced-level, and provides you with an internationally-recognized marker of your advanced proficiency. This certificate also encourages the integration of language and culture learning across your academic and professional life while empowering you to be responsible for your own second language learning. 

How to Get Started

If you are interested in pursuing the certificate, please contact SPAdvise@umn.edu for additional information.

Requirements for Completion of the Certificate

  1. Pass two upper-level courses taught in Spanish with a C- or better. There are two options for completing this requirement:
    • Option 1: Spanish 3015w; Spanish Composition and Communication and one pre-approved content-based course
    • Option 2: Two pre-approved content-based courses.
  2. An intensive Spanish-language immersion experience. There are two options for completing this requirement:
    • Option 1: An academic study abroad experience of at least six weeks in a Spanish speaking country or territory that includes at least one course taught in Spanish.
    • Option 2: Completion of a pre-approved semester-long immersion experience. Non-semester-long versions of these courses do not count towards the Spanish Language Immersion requirement. Non-study abroad immersion options include:
          SPAN 3401 - Latino Immigration and Community Engagement 
      or SPAN 3404 - Medical Spanish and Community Health Service (3.0 cr)
      or Participation in the Community Engagement Scholars Program, with a focus on opportunities to engage with native Spanish speakers (requires 400 service hours)
      or Other option approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies
  3. Take 4 self-assessments and use your results in the critical reflection essay.  Contact SPAdvise@umn.edu for access.
  4. Pass the critical reflection essay: Submit a short essay (450–600 words) written in English that is both a self-assessment of your Spanish-language skills and also explains how you have used your language and cultural understanding skills at the university and beyond.
  5. Pass the ACTFL advanced-level exam in Spanish by achieving a rating of advanced-low or higher in all four sections. It is strongly recommended that you do not attempt the ACTFL exam until the self-assessment results indicate that you may have achieved advanced-level proficiency.

Additional Experiences to Increase Your Spanish Proficiency

We also recommend studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country for at least a semester, service learning in a Spanish-speaking community, volunteer or work experience in a Spanish-speaking community, participation in the Community Engagement Scholars Program, TandemPlus participation, participation in a language or culture-based Living and Learning Community, and actively using your Spanish for an average of 15-20 hours per week outside of class.

Cost to Complete Certificate

For additional information on the exam, please check our ACTFL Advanced-Level Exam page.

An exciting opportunity for students pursuing the Certificate of Advanced-Level Proficiency in Spanish! 

This year, eligible students can take three of the four ACTFL tests FOR FREE!  Thanks to funding from CLA and PACE, an assessment and curricular improvement project now in its fourth year, eligible Spanish Certificate students can take the ACTFL Reading, Listening and Speaking tests at NO COST, and pay only for the Writing test

Upon passing steps 1-5 listed above, you may register for all four tests: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing during the regular ACTFL registration period. After completing all tests, you will be charged only for the Writing test. Some restrictions may apply.

Important Certificate Completion Dates Spring 2020

  • January 21st-Friday, February 21st: Eligible students may submit a Critical Reflection Essay (CRE) and complete self-assessments. Students who have passed the CRE in a previous semester should retake their self-assessment and pre-register for the ACTFL tests.
    • Please contact spadvise@umn.edu to see if you are eligible to submit a Critical Reflection Essay.  If you are eligible, you will receive a link to give you access to the Spanish Certificate Canvas site to upload your materials.
  • We will be updating you in the coming weeks on alternative options. More information to come soon. Please contact Anna Hubbard at sisom008@umn.edu for questions or concerns.  
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