Civics Literacy Proficiency

Welcome to the Civics Literacy Proficiency homepage!

In June 2021, the Purdue University Board of Trustees adopted a civics literacy graduation requirement for undergraduates, including all transfer students. This requirement applies to all undergraduate students who enter Purdue University Northwest in Fall 2022 or any subsequent semester.

The Civics Literacy Proficiency activities were created to enhance the educational experience of PNW students and graduate a more informed citizenry.

Activities and Outcomes

The activities and required tests to establish Civics Literacy Proficiency will build and increase your civics knowledge.

The Civics Literacy Proficiency activities will:

  • Increase your understanding of important contemporary political issues.
  • Identify opportunities to grow your engagement in American politics.
  • Expand your awareness of and options for civic participation.
  • The civics literacy program is a graduation requirement for all undergraduate students beginning in the fall of 2022. Once the activities are completed, a notation of Civics Literacy Proficiency will be placed on a student’s transcript.
  • Civics Literacy Proficiency activities are accessed via Brightspace*. Students for whom Civics Literacy Proficiency is a graduation requirement will have automatic accessibility to Brightspace where the activities are housed. Students who complete the activities voluntarily can request and register through the myPNW portal*.

*Brightspace and myPNWPlan access will be available at a later date.

Test Resources

PNW Civics Knowledge Test resources for students:

Educational Activity Options

To obtain the Civics Literacy Proficiency, students will complete an educational activity as part of their chosen Civics Literacy Pathway and pass the PNW Civics knowledge test.  There are three different pathways:

Attend six approved Civics Events and pass the required exam.

Complete 12 podcasts created by the Purdue Center for C-SPAN Scholarship & Engagement that use C-SPAN material and pass the required exam.

Complete one of the following courses and pass the required exam:

  • COM 21000 Debating Public Issues
  • COM 31200 Rhetoric in the Western World
  • HIST 12100 Civic Responsibility
  • HIST 15100 American History To 1877
  • HIST 15200 United States Since 1877
  • HIST 38200 American Constitutional History
  • POL 10100 American Government and Politics
  • POL 31500 Public Opinion and Elections
  • POL 34600 Law and Society
  • POL 35400 Civil Liberties and the Constitution
  • POL 46100 US Constitutional Law I

Submit Your Civics Event

The campus community is encouraged to submit their events with a focus on civics to the Civics Literacy Proficiency page. Student organizations, colleges, departments and other groups looking to submit their events will do so through an Event-Submission form that will be available soon. To be listed as a Civics Literacy Proficiency event, the event must be designed to address one or more of these:

  • Increase understanding of important contemporary political issues.
  • Grow student engagement in American politics.
  • Expand awareness of processes and options for civic participation.
  • Increase civics knowledge.

Look for an event-submission form in the coming months. Questions may be directed to


Requirement Questions

Students will complete the Proficiency by passing a test of civic literacy (currently undergoing validation and analysis), and one of three paths:

  • Civics event path: more information to come.
  • Civics literacy podcast path: Completing 12 podcasts created by the Purdue Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement that use C-SPAN material.
  • Approved course path: more information to come.

The Civics Literacy Graduation requirement applies to all Purdue University Northwest students who enter PNW on or after the fall 2022 catalog term, including transfer students. Students enrolled prior to the fall 2022 catalog term do not have to complete the requirement but may choose to do so on a voluntary basis.

The Civics Literacy Proficiency program was created with the goal of adding to the educational experience of PNW students in an effort to graduate a more informed citizenry.

The desired learning outcomes include:

  • Increasing student understanding of important contemporary political issues.
  • Identifying opportunities to grow one’s engagement in American politics.
  • Raising student awareness of, and options for, civic participation.

To meet the degree requirement for the Civics Knowledge Test, students will test in person at the Testing Services Center at Hammond or Westville.

Students should complete Civics Literacy activities and the Civics Knowledge Test as early as possible, as demand will increase with each subsequent incoming class and it may become more difficult to schedule at a convenient time. Failure to complete this requirement in a timely manner may delay graduation.

The Civics Knowledge Test is a 90-minute exam consisting of 50 questions. Students may take the test as many times as they need in order to achieve a passing score of at least 80%.

Testing Center Policies apply during exam administration.

Schedule Your Civics Literacy Exam

More information about how to complete the requirement and register for the test is available on the Civics Literacy Student Dashboard in the MyPNW portal and on the Testing Center website.


Exceptions, Exclusions and Graduate Requirements

The intent is for all incoming undergraduate students, including transfer students, from catalog term fall 2022, to complete this requirement at some point during their time at PNW. Therefore, it will be required to graduate.

There are no exceptions identified at this time.

Once the required test and one of the three options have been completed, a designation of “Civics Literacy Proficiency” will be placed on a student’s transcript in the semester in which activities were completed. If you believe you completed the requirements and, at the end of the semester, this notation does not occur, please email:

One of the options for satisfaction (plus a required test) is the completion of a course on an approved list. These courses may be completed at PNW. Additionally, AP credit earned for these courses will count for completion. Courses transferred in as equivalent to a PNW course will also count toward completion. Questions about transfer credit may be directed to:

Students must still pass the exam.

Students can monitor their completion of the graduation requirement on their degree audit in myPNWPlan.


Grade Requirements, Technical Issues and Submitting Events

A grade of “C-“or higher is required when a course is taken for a grade.

Yes, students may retake the test as many times as needed to achieve successful completion. A study guide for the exam is available.

Please contact:

Please contact Connie Doebele

Register your event through an Event-Submission Form* and ask for it to be counted for Civics Literacy Proficiency.  A review team will approve or deny your request.

*This form will be available soon

A Civics Literacy Resource Guide is available here.