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Language Requirement

Basic conversational and reading proficiency in a modern foreign language, or advanced reading proficiency in a classical language.

This requirement may be taken Pass/Not Pass.

The language requirement may be satisfied by:

  • Passing a UC San Diego language proficiency exam which consists of a satisfactory score on a standard reading examination and conversational proficiency in an oral interview.
  • Completion of a fourth quarter (or higher level) college language course (completion of a third semester intermediate level course if taken outside of UCSD).
  • Completion of a UCSD Heritage Language course for bilingual speakers.
  • Appropriate AP or IB score.
  • Score of 700 or higher on the SATII Language Exam.
  • A native speaker of a language other than English and having attended at least one year of high school taught in that language in a foreign country.

Proficiency Exams

High School Abroad

English as a Second Language

If your native language is not English AND you attended at least one year of high school abroad (9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade) taught in a language other than English, you will satisfy the language proficiency requirement.

Please contact Revelle Advising through the VAC. You will need to provide a copy of your high school transcript.

Language Placement

Placement exams in
French, German, Italian and Spanish

Placement in language is determined by the results of the online language placement exam. Anyone with previous coursework in language is required to take the placement exam. Enroll in the course where you are placed. The placement exam cannot be repeated.

Exemptions from language placement exam:

  • Native speaker
  • AP score of 3 or above - follow the AP chart for language.
  • Three or more semesters of community college or 4 quarters or more of college language study.

After students complete French, German, Italian, or Spanish LI**1C/1CX, they have the option to take either their final language course through the Linguistics Department (LI**1D/1DX) or through the Literature Department (LT**2A). See here for considerations.

If placement is above fourth quarter (1D/1DX), please contact Revelle Advising

Placement in American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew,
Japanese, Korean, Latin, Portuguese, and Russian
If no former study of this language, enroll in this first course in the sequence If you have ever studied or had exposure to the language, take placement exam Course Needed for Proficiency*
American Sign Language LISL 1A/1AX Contact ASL Academic Coordinator Peggy Lott LISL 1D/DX 
Arabic LIAB 1A/1AX Contact one of the Arabic Instructors LIAB 1D/1DX 
Chinese CHIN 10A All students must take a placement interview before enrolling in a CHIN course. Click here for more information. CHIN 20A 
Greek LTGK 1 Contact the instructor of Greek language in the Department of Literature LTGK 101, 102, 103, 104, or 105
Hebrew JWSP 1 Contact the Jewish Studies advisor to schedule placement test JWSP 101 or 104 
Japanese JAPN 10A

All students must take a placement test before enrolling in a JAPN course. Follow instructions here



Bilingual speakers, see Heritage Language section below

LTKO 1A See instructor Jeyseon Lee  for placement text LTKO 2A 
Latin LTLA 1 Contact the Classics advisor in the Department of Literature  LTLA 100, 102, 103, 104, or 105
Portuguese LIPO 1A/1AX Contact one of the Portuguese Instructors LIPO 1D/DX 
Russian LTRU 1A Possible to place higher than first course. Contact Rebecca Wells LTRU 2A 

*If placement is higher than courses listed, please contact Revelle Advising

Language Placement with AP or IB Credit

Score Requirement Satisfied Units Exempt Enroll In
AP French/German/ Italian/Spanish Language 3 Unit Credit 8 Ling. 1C/1CX Ling. 1D/1DX or Lit 2A or try
proficiency exam
4 Proficiency 8 Ling. 1D/1DX or Lit. 2A Lit. 2B
5 Proficiency 8 Lit. 2B Lit. 2C
AP Spanish Literature 3 Proficiency 8 LISP 1D/1DX or LTSP 2A LTSP 2B
4 Proficiency 8 LTSP 2B LTSP 2C
5 Proficiency 8 LTSP 2C LTSP 50A or UD LTSP
AP Chinese Culture and Language 3 Petition for proficiency if placement is above CHIN 20A 8 Determined by Chinese Studies  See Chinese
4 Proficiency 8
5 Proficiency 8
AP Latin Virgil or Literature 3, 4, 5 Unit Credit 4 per exam Exempt LTLA 1, 2, 3 LTLA 100
AP Japanese Language and Culture 3 Unit Credit 8 Determined by Japanese Studies Department See Japanese
4 Proficiency 8
5 Proficiency 8


Score Requirement Satisfied Units Exempt Enroll In
IB Higher Level Language B 5, 6, 7 Unit Credit 8 Elective credit only Try proficiency exam
IB Higher Level Linguistics  (Language A) 5 Unit credit 8 Language 1C/1CX Ling. 1D/1DX or Lit 2A or try
proficiency exam
6, 7 Proficiency 8 Language 1D/1DX Lit. 2B
IB Higher Level Latin 5, 6, 7 Unit credit 8 LTLA 1, 2, 3 LTLA 100 or try proficiency exam


Note: If you receive AP, IB or previous college credit, you will not be given credit for repeating the equivalent course, or taking a lower level course.

When Language Courses are Offered

Courses Offered by the Linguistics Department
Department Fall Winter Spring
Spanish (LISP), French (LIFR), American Sign Language (LISL), German (LIGM), Arabic (LIAB), Italian (LIIT), Portuguese (LIPO) 1A/1AX 1B/1BX 1C/1CX
Spanish (LISP), French (LIFR), American Sign Language (LISL) 1A/1AX
1B/1BX 1C/1CX 1D/1DX*

Linguistics classes consist of two separate 2.5 unit courses.
*Satisfies proficiency requirement

Courses Offered by the Institute of Arts and Humanities
Department Level Fall Winter Spring
Chinese (CHIN) 1st year 10AN/10AM/10AD 10BN/10BM/10BD 10CN/10CM/10CD
Chinese (CHIN) 2nd year 20AN/20AM/20AD* 20BN/20BM/20BD* 20CN/20CD*
Hebrew (JWSP) 1st year 1 2 3
Hebrew (JWSP) 2nd year 104*
Japanese (JAPN) 1st year 10A 10B 10C
Japanese (JAPN) 2nd year 20A* 20B 

*Satisfies proficiency requirement 

Courses Offered by the Literature Department
Department Level Fall Winter Spring
Spanish (LTSP), French (LTFR) 2nd year 2A* 2A*
German (LTGM) 2nd year 2A*
Greek (LTGK) 1st year 1 2 3
Greek (LTGK) 2nd year LTGK 104*
Italian (LTIT) 2nd year 2A*
Korean (LTKO), Russian (LTRU) 1st year 1A 1B 1C
Korean (LTKO), Russian (LTRU) 2nd year 2A*
Latin (LTLA) 1st year 1 2 3
Latin (LTLA) 2nd year 100* 105*

*Satisfies proficiency requirement

Heritage Languages for Bilingual Speakers

Heritage Language Program (HLP) courses can be taken three times for credit. Topics vary each quarter.

Armenian LIHL 113*
Cantonese LIHL 118*
Filipino (Tagalog) LIHL 112*
Hindi LIHL 119*
Korean LIHL 115*
Persian LIHL 117*
Vietnamese LIHL 114*

*Satisfies proficiency requirement