Foreign Language Requirement

Guidelines for Foreign Language Requirement 

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work. A letter grade of C– or better is required.

Satisfying Foreign Language Requirement with High School Coursework or Exam

  • Completion of high school foreign language (other than English) through the third year of instruction - Minimum Grade: C-
  • SAT Subject Test, language other than English - Minimum Score: 590
  • Advanced Placement World Languages and Culture Exam  - Score 3, 4, or 5 in:

Chinese Language and Culture
French Language and Culture
German Language and Culture
Italian Language and Culture
Japanese Language and Culture
Spanish Language and Culture 
Spanish Literature and Culture

  • International Baccalaureate Exam - Score 5, 6, or 7 in:

Language (other than English) acquisition:
B Standard Level (SL)
B Higher Level (HL) 

Studies in language (other than English) and literature:
A: literature Standard Level (HL
A: literature Higher Level (HL)
A: language and literature Standard Level (SL)
A: language and literature Higher Level (HL)

  • GCE A-level or IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O-level exam in a language other than English - Score A, B, or C
  • Foreign Service Institute (FSI) or Defense Language Institute (DLI) exam - Score 1-5

Satisfying Foreign Language with a Berkeley Course

There are three options for satisfying Foreign Language at Berkeley:

(1) Completion of second semester or higher of foreign language instruction with a C- or higher. Review list of approved courses. 
(2) Completion of a pre-approved breadth course that is taught in a language other than English and requires an advanced language instruction course as a prerequisite. For this option, students may use the course to fulfill Foreign Language and one of the approved Seven-Course Breadth areas, provided the course is completed with a letter grade of C- or higher. Review list of approved courses. 
(3) Proficiency exam issued by a UC faculty.  Note: Not all language departments/faculty administer proficiency exams. Check with the department for your language of interest to confirm that this option is available. The faculty administering the exam must issue the results on UC departmental letterhead, and confirm proficiency (i.e. C- or higher) in reading, writing, speaking and listening at a level equivalent to what the student would have otherwise achieved by completion of instruction through the second semester (or third quarter) of instruction in a language other than English. After the college confirms the results, they are shared with the Central Evaluation Unit, which updates students' Academic Progress Reports (APR) to reflect satisfaction of the requirement. APRs will be updated in mid-November for results received in Fall, and in mid-April for results received in Spring.

Satisfying Foreign Language with a Transfer Course

All transfer courses pursued for Foreign Language must be completed with a C- or higher. 

  • Students admitted with IGETC Certification or UC Reciprocity have satisfied Foreign Language. No additional course work is required.
  • Students can complete a pre-approved foreign language course at a California Community College. Pre-approved courses can be found on ASSIST. Refer to the L&S Transfer Coursework page for instructions on how to submit your transcripts to UC Berkeley to receive credit for your language course. 
  • Transfer courses from accredited higher education institutions (i.e. 2-year or 4-year campus in the U.S. or non-UCEAP courses from abroad) to satisfy Foreign Language, must be reviewed and approved by L&S. You may request a review of your language course by completing the Breadth and Essential Skills Transfer Review Google form. Please allow up to 4-6 weeks to receive a response from the Transfer Credit Review Committee upon receipt of all required information; failure to provide all required information will delay the review of your request.
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