Foreign Language Requirement


The College of Letters and Science has requirements that must be satisfied in order for a degree to be awarded, one of them is a foreign language requirement. Per this year’s UCLA Catalog 2017-2018,

“The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by one of the following methods: (1) completing a college-level foreign language course equivalent to level three or above at UCLA with a grade of C or Passed or better or (2) scoring 3, 4, or 5 on the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) foreign language examination in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish, or scoring 4 or 5 in Latin, thereby earning College credit or (3) presenting a UCLA foreign language departmental examination score indicating competency through level three. Consult the Schedule of Classes or the appropriate department for times and places of the regularly scheduled examinations. Students who wish to demonstrate proficiency in a language that is taught in a UCLA department that has no scheduled examination should contact the appropriate department to arrange for one. Students wishing to take an examination in a language not taught at UCLA should contact a College counselor.”


Students do not have to take 3 full quarters of language to fulfill the foreign language requirement for graduation at UCLA, though beginning language learners may have to or graduate/professional schools may require “a year’s” worth of language. Please note, some majors in the College may require more advanced levels of foreign language, which you are still responsible for.

Common Scenario: You take the placement exam and are recommended to enroll in Spanish 3. Successful completion and a passing grade of C or higher in Spanish 3 alone will allow you to meet the foreign language requirement for the university. If your major requires level 5, then you would take Spanish 3, 4, and 5 at UCLA or courses equivalent to those levels elsewhere.


  • At UCLA, the following classes offered by Spanish & Portuguese fulfill the foreign language requirement: Indigenous Languages of the Americas (Quechua)- 18C, Spanish 3, 4, 5, 10, 7a, 7b, 11b, or Portuguese 3, 11b
  • Take and pass the department’s Exemption exam
  • AP Spanish Language Exam score of 3, 4, or 5
  • Spanish or Portuguese course(s) taken at a community college or a 4 year college/university equivalent to the 3rd quarter of college level language

How do you make sure your course is the equivalent of level 3?

Send a complete course syllabus for department review prior to enrolling in the class. A professor will review the course and establish an equivalence here at UCLA, you will be contacted once the review is complete. Please note, there are high traffic times for these requests during the academic year and review can take up to 3 weeks. Plan accordingly. Reviews will not be rushed for individual students, they are reviewed in the order in which they are received.


  • Courses taken at a high school
  • AP Spanish Literature Exam scores
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • IB
  • Courses from non-approved, non-accredited programs including study abroad programs that have not been evaluated. (Note: the Department will not recommend outside programs to students. We highly encourage you to consider UCEAP or Travel Study and to make an appointment with an International Education Office advisor to select the best program for you).

*These are non-negotiable regulations set forth by the University which the department cannot and does not reevaluate or provide credit for these experiences toward the foreign language requirement.