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, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work. A letter grade of C– or better is required.

How to Satisfy Foreign Language

Satisfying Foreign Language with High School Coursework or Exam


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:
   A2 Standard Level (SL)
   A2 Higher Level (HL)
   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-level or I/GCSE 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

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.
  • Continuing Berkeley students who have already completed course work at Berkeley may pursue a pre-approved course for Foreign Language at a California Community College during the summer, or while not enrolled at Berkeley during a fall or spring term. To identify pre-approved courses for Foreign Language, use ASSIST(link is external).
  • Transfer courses from accredited higher education institutions may also be considered. Talk to an L&S College Adviser or email sends e-mail) for more information.