Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs


Placement in Mathematics, Chemistry, and English

New Student Orientation (NSO) assists new first-year students in evaluating their educational plans by providing them, prior to initial registration, with a comprehensive program of testing and individualized educational planning and academic advising. The testing component of NSO is used for educational planning and academic advising purposes, to determine a student’s appropriate starting levels in mathematics and chemistry course sequences. English composition course placement is determined by the SAT-W score.


Mathematics Placement -- All students are required to take an adaptive online mathematics placement assessment. This examination is used to place students in college algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus courses. Students who wish to improve their scores will have the opportunity to complete online learning modules and re-test.

Chemistry Placement -- Students intending to pursue majors that might require chemistry will be placed into chemistry courses on the basis of their prior experience with high-school chemistry and their mathematics placement test results. Students who demonstrate a command of algebra on the mathematics assessment are admitted to CHEM 110. Students with limited chemistry background and whose mathematics assessment indicates difficulties in college algebra should enroll in CHEM 108 concurrently with CHEM 110. Those who have not taken high-school chemistry should complete CHEM 101 prior to scheduling CHEM 110. Students who do very well on the chemistry placement test may obtain credit for CHEM 110 and CHEM 111 by taking an equivalent of a final exam in CHEM 110 through a mechanism known as credit by examination. A fee is charged for credit by examination and students must achieve a grade of C or better to obtain credit. (Credit by examination is also available for CHEM 112 and 113.) 

English Placement -- Entering first-year students are placed in the composition program based on their demonstrated writing skill as measured by the SAT-Writing exam. Students who do not have SAT-W scores need to consult with an academic adviser to determine appropriate placement. Most students demonstrate adequate preparation and are placed into ENGL 015. Those who demonstrate strong preparation are encouraged to take an honors composition course. Students whose SAT-W scores indicate weakness in their preparation may need to schedule ENGL 004 (Basic Writing Skills) before scheduling ENGL 015. Students enrolled in ENGL 004 or ENGL 015 may also concurrently schedule ENGL 005 (Writing Tutorial), a 1-credit course that offers additional writing support.


Updated: 12/5/13


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking