Foreign Language

Guidelines for Foreign Language

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. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course. 

Passing Grade

C- or better

Grading Option

Letter graded only


First semester or equivalent of the foreign language you plan to take


All students must complete Foreign Language before graduation.

Because the second semester is required to satisfy this requirement, we recommend planning for this requirement early.

How to Satisfy Foreign Language

High School Coursework or Exam Score

Use the following table to determine if you have received a score on an exam that satisfies foreign language.


Minimum Grade/Score Required to Satisfy Foreign Language

Completion of high school foreign language (other than English) through the third year of instruction Letter grade of C- or higher
SAT Subject Test, language other than English 590

Advanced Placement Exam in World Languages and Cultures:
   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

3, 4, or 5

International Baccalaureate Exam 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 (SL)
   A: literature Higher Level (HL)
   A: language and literature Standard Level (SL)
   A: language and literature Higher Level (HL)

5, 6 or 7
GCE A-levels or IGCSE/GCSE/GCE O-level exam in a language other than English A, B, or C (or 1, 2, or 3)
Foreign Service Institute (FSI) or Defense Language Institute (DLI) exam 1-5

Berkeley Courses

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 foreign language instruction 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 breadth courses taught in a language other than English.
(3) Proficiency exam issued by a UC faculty.  NoteNot 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.

Transfer Courses

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

Students admitted with IGETC Certification or UC Reciprocity Foreign Language is satisfied. No additional course work is required.
California Community College Students can complete a pre-approved foreign language course at a California Community College. To identify pre-approved courses for Foreign Language, see our Transfer Credit: California Community College page for step-by-step instructions. 
Non-California Community College 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), must be reviewed and approved by L&S to satisfy Foreign Language. See our Transfer Credit: Other Higher Education Institution page for step-by-step instructions.