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Foreign Language Requirements for Graduation/ Graduate Study


AVC does not have a general foreign language requirement for the AA or AS degree. Foreign language courses are one option in fulfilling the general education requirements for transfer to both CSU (See CSU GE Requirement) and UC  (See IGETC ).  

Students might, however, need foreign language courses because many universities have a general foreign language requirement for the BA/BS degree, because their major requires knowledge of a foreign language, or because they are preparing for graduate program language requirements. (See  below for more information.)

Most universities have their catalogs online, so it’s easy to find the general graduation requirements, requirements for a specific major and also graduate program requirements. The Transfer Center and AVC counselors can help students find the information they need.

Language courses taken here at AVC can meet these foreign language requirements.

BA/BS and Foreign Language Requirements


Transfer: There is no general foreign language in order to transfer to the CSU.

BA/BS:  Some CSU campuses have a general foreign language requirement for the Bachelor’s degree. It can be one semester (Bakersfield, Channel Islands), two semesters (Sacramento) or three semesters (Monterey Bay, San Diego [see requirement V] and San Marcos). This requirement can generally be met with courses taken in high school, through AP exams, proficiency exams or coursework taken at the community college as well as CSU coursework.  Information is available on each university’s website.

For CSUs with a three semester requirement, it is best to meet that requirement before transferring (For example, see CSU San Marcos Language Other than English Requirement.) Students transferring to Monterey Bay or San Diego (or any other university with such a foreign language requirement) should be sure the language they are taking is offered at that institution if they are not planning on completing the language requirement here at AVC before transferring; otherwise, they may not be able to complete the required course later.  For example, CSU Monterey Bay offers only Japanese and Spanish.  Students who transfer there with only two semesters of French, German, Chinese or Latin will not be able to take the required third semester course at Monterey Bay.


Transfer:  Transfer to a UC requires that students complete the second semester (102 course) as part of the IGETC. Two years of high school foreign language also meets this requirement.

BA/BS:  The UC does not require any additional foreign language courses as a general graduation requirement beyond the second level course, which is requirement for admission.

Other Universities

Students attending universities other than CSU and UC should also carefully research that university’s transfer requirements as well as the general graduation requirements for the BA/BS and the requirements for the major in order to determine if knowledge of a foreign language is required. Most universities also accept scores on AP exams or other proficiency exams that demonstrate students have achieved the equivalent level of mastery as well as course work. Here are a few examples:

Stanford:  one year of college-level foreign language

USC:   three semesters of college-level foreign language

Pomona College:  three semesters of college level foreign language

Foreign Language Requirements as Part of a Major

Many majors require some foreign language proficiency. Majoring in a foreign language, of course, requires many courses and much foreign language study.  Most BA programs in a foreign language also recommend study abroad. (See the section “Majoring in a Foreign Language” under Foreign Language Careers.)

Other majors, such as international business and global studies, often require two, three, or four semesters of foreign language. Some degrees require additional upper division courses and encourage study abroad. Majoring in English, linguistics, or European studies can require up to four semesters of foreign language, depending on the university. Voice programs often require at least one semester of several languages.

Students planning to transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a BA or BS degree should research the requirements for their major as well as the general graduation requirements. Often these courses are required in order to transfer with that major. For example, the UCLA Global Studies program requires students to have four semesters of college level foreign language before being accepted into the major. Lower division requirements can be met with courses taken here at AVC. Here are a few examples:

UCLA—Global Studies requires four semesters of college level foreign language (6 quarters at UCLA; 202 level at AVC) as preparation for the major

SDSU International Business:  16-22 units of foreign language study as well as a semester abroad

CSULB International Business:  four semesters (AVC’s 202 level course)

SDSU Voice transfer students must perform songs in two foreign languages

CSULB, BA, Spanish requires four semesters of an additional foreign language

Graduate Study and Foreign Language Requirements

Many graduate level programs require reading knowledge in a foreign language. It often takes a year of study or more to meet this requirement. Some majors require several foreign languages. Students who think they might pursue graduate studies should check out program requirements at several universities for their major to get an idea of what is likely to be required. Meeting a foreign language requirement with undergraduate courses might mean completing your degree more quickly. Listed below are examples of some graduate programs that require foreign language proficiency.

CSUN, MA, Linguistics requires three semesters of a Romance language or two semesters of a non-Romance language.

UCLA, PhD, English requires “a reading knowledge of any two foreign languages, or to demonstrate a superior proficiency in a single language.”

UCLA, MA, French and Francophone Studies requires students be able to take upper division courses in another foreign language.

CSULB, MA, English requires four semesters of a foreign language or demonstrated proficiency in another language or two semesters of language study plus two other courses.

CSUN, MA, Spanish requires reading competency in a second foreign language

UCSD, MA, History has a foreign language requirement for European history and Latin American history and encourages foreign language study for other areas of concentration.