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IECP Certification

What is IECP Certification? NEW FALL 2016

International students seeking admission to Penn State must meet an English proficiency requirement. Refer to International Requirements: Penn State English Language Proficiency for undergraduate admission. Refer to departmental websites and graduate admissions procedures for your specific graduate program for requirements. Graduate applications are processed by individual graduate departments. The PSU Graduate School accepts IECP Certification, but specific graduate programs have different requirements.

One way to meet the English Language Proficiency requirement is to receive the required TOEFL or IELTS score. Another way is to receive IECP Certification. IECP Certification can be issued for meeting the English Language Proficiency Requirement for undergraduate or graduate admission.

IECP certification is an official statement saying that the program believes the student has the English language proficiency and positive student behaviors necessary for undergraduate or graduate study at Penn State. In addition to simply evaluating English proficiency, as the TOEFL does, we also take into consideration the individual’s academic standing as a student in our program.

Certification is never automatic. IECP Certification decisions are based on IECP grades and a sustained record of performance of meeting IECP Student Responsibilities (see the IECP Student Handbook).

How do I earn IECP Certification?

Students who wish to apply for certification MUST attend the Certification Info Session offered each semester. Only level 140 students may attend the workshop. 

ALL applicants must be in all level-140 classes to be eligible for certification.


    Certification Criteria

     Students are no longer required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.

    For those entering an undergraduate program at Penn State:

    Successfully passing all level-140 classes will automatically earn you certification. You still must attend the Info Session and apply here.

     For those entering a graduate program at Penn State:

    1. Attend IECP Info Session, Wednesday of Week 2

    - learn about the details of the policies and procedures of IECP certification

    - receive an email with essay topics and log in information

    -receive an email with certification qualifying application login and password

    2. Enter Qualifying Phase, Wednesday of Week 4

    -compose an essay based on one of the topics from the email

    -submit essay to 

    -submit online qualifying application here.

    The IECP Certification Panel will review applications and writing samples to determine who qualifies to enter the Advancement Phase. If you qualify, you will be invited to the Advancement Phase. If you do not qualify, you can try to apply for Certification again in the following semester.

    Students will be notified via email whether or not they are qualified to proceed with the Certification Application Process.

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    3. Accept invitation to Advancement Phase, Monday of Week 5

    • receive an email with oral presentation topics
    • prepare an oral presentation to be given at the IECP Symposium (sometime during Week 8)

    After the Symposium, the IECP Certification Panel will review the essay, video-recording of Symposium, test score, and overall academic standing at the IECP of each applicant.

    Certification decisions will be emailed to students on the Wednesday after classes end.

    The IECP will notify the appropriate Penn State admissions office and provide a copy of the IECP Certification Decision Form to the student.

    IECP Certification decisions are final and certification is valid for six months.

    If you have questions about IECP Certification, please contact the Academic Coordinator.

    IECP Certification Policies

    Questions about IECP Certification policies and procedures should be directed the Academic Coordinator (Jackie,

    • Do not talk to your teachers or IECP staff about certification.
    • Do NOT consult with teachers about your certification materials
    • IECP Faculty and ITC tutors do not know Certification criteria


    IECP Faculty or ITC tutor evaluations of materials have no impact on Certification decisions

    Grounds for disqualification:

    • Acts of plagiarism  in classes or Certification materials
    • Excessive absences or tardies (See Attendance Policy)
    • Unsatisfactory Progress Reports (academic and behavioral)
    • Failure to meet ALL Certification deadlines


    The IECP will email the student with the result.

    All Certification decisions are final.

    By applying, students waive the ability to review the certification decision.

    The IECP will notify Undergraduate Admissions and The Graduate School of IECP Certification.