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language req

Language Requirement

Students majoring in International Studies are required to demonstrate basic proficiency in a foreign language.  This requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways (see below for more information on each):

  • Completion of a fourth-quarter language course
  • Pass a Language Proficiency Exam
  • Earn a qualifying score on one of the following exams: AP Language, AP Literature, IB Language or SAT II Language
  • Attend high school outside of the United States where the language of instruction is not English

  • ISP Majors: Language courses may be taken for a letter or Pass/No Pass grade.
  • ISP Minors: To earn minor credit for language courses taken at UCSD, courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better.

Language Course Completion: UC San Diego

Completion of a fourth quarter (or higher level) college language course at UCSD. 

  • Language courses may be taken for a letter grade or P/NP.
  • International Studies minors: To earn minor credit for language courses, these courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better.
  • LIDS 19 does not complete ISP Language Requirement
  • In alignment with the Linguistics and Language Program at UCSD, ISP does not accept UCSD Extension courses to fulfill the ISP Language Requirement. 

Placement Examinations: Students are required to follow the directions for placement into language courses as determined by the individual department offering the language.

*All students must take a placement test if they’re interested in taking Chinese or Japanese courses, regardless of their AP score or credit earned from the articulated language courses taken at community colleges. 

Note: If students place into the 5th quarter level or higher of a language at UCSD, ISP Advising will waive their ISP Language Requirement in lieu of a Proficiency Exam. Please send placement confirmation to with your PID and a short note about waiving the ISP Language Requirement. 

Language Course Offerings

It is important to note when sequential language courses are offered and create your academic plan accordingly.  A helpful tool is located on Revelle’s Website or the Linguistics Language Programs Course Offerings webiste.

Language Sequence Flowchart

  • For languages offered through Linguistics Language Program:
    • LIxx 1A/AX 
    • LIxx 1B/BX
    • LIxx 1C/CX
      • LIxx 1D/DX (meets Proficiency)
      • LTxx 2A (meets Proficiency)

Language Course Completion: Transfer Courses

Language Courses transferred to UC San Diego from:

Community College

  • Verify articulation to fourth quarter course using
  • If there is not an articulation posted to, students will need to submit a petition to the Linguistics Language Program (most languages) or appropriate language department for evaluation of the level equivalency. 
  • Please note that fulfillment of IGETC does not fulfill the language requirement for the ISP major. 

UC University

  • Quarter system: International Studies will automatically accept 4th quarter level language course to fulfill our major requirements.
  • Semester system: International Studies requires that students transferring from a school on the semester system submit a petition to the appropriate language department to verify the level of coursework.

U.S. University

Study Abroad/Non-U.S. University

Heritage Language Courses for Bilingual Speakers

Completion of one (1) upper-division Heritage Language course for a letter grade or P/NP will fulfill the International Studies major language requirement.

Refer to Heritage Language Program for more information.


  • LIHL 113. Armenian for Armenian Speakers


  • LIHL 118. Cantonese for Cantonese Speakers

Filipino (Tagalog):

  • LIHL 112. Filipino for Filipino Speakers
  • LIHL 132. Advanced Filipino for Filipino Speakers


  • LIHL 119. Hindi for Hindi Speakers
  • LIHL 139. Advanced Hindi for Hindi Speakers


  • LIHL 115. Korean for Korean Speakers
  • LIHL 135. Advanced Korean for Korean Speakers


  • LIHL 117. Persian for Persian Speakers
  • LIHL 137. Advanced Persian for Persian Speakers


  • LIHL 114. Vietnamese for Vietnamese Speakers
  • LIHL 124. Intermediate Vietnamese for Vietnamese Speakers
  • LIHL 134.  Advanced Vietnamese for Vietnamese Speakers

Proficiency Exam

Proficiency Exam Process for 2020-2021 Academic Year:

See Proficiency Exam Procedures on the Linguistics Language Program website.

Students should take a proficiency exam if they have completed four or more years of foreign language in high school, community college, or if they are bilingual. There are two components to the proficiency exam: written and oral. Test scores are not recorded to the academic history unless both the written and oral proficiency exams are passed.

Refer to Linguistics Language Program website for a list of test administrators and instructions.  You can also find more information on the for the Chinese and Japanese proficiency exams at the links below:

AP Language, AP Literature, IB Language or SAT II Language Exam

AP Language Exam (excludes English)

  • Score of 4 or better completes the International Studies language requirement.
    • Score of 3 exempts only LIFR/LIGM/LIIT/LISP 1C/ICX.
    • See UCSD's AP Credits Chart
      • AP Japanese scores are not automatically articulated on degree audits. Students who scored 4 or better on the AP Japanese Language exam will need to reach out to ISP Advising via the VAC to update their degree audits. 

AP Literature Exam (excludes English)

  • Score of 3 or better completes the International Studies language requirement.

Higher Level IB Language A Exam (excludes English)

  • Score of 6 or 7 completes the International Studies language requirement.*
    • *Only Higher Level Exams are accepted for credit by the University of California; Standard Level Exams are not given credit. See UCSD's IB Credits Chart. 
    • Score of 5 on Higher Level A Exam exempts LING 1C/1CX.
  • Higher level Language B exams with a score of 5, 6, or 7 equal 8 units of elective credit. Please refer to Language Course Completion: UC San Diego (above). 

SAT II Language Exam (excludes English)

  • Score of 700 or better completes the International Studies language requirement.

High School Outside of the United States

To clear the ISP Language Requirement, students must meet the following requirements

  • Attended at least one year of high school (9th- 12th grade) taught in a language other than English.
  • Official High School transcripts sent to UCSD Admissions and posted to formal record.
  • Complete the language waiver below:

The International Studies Program does not accept the IGETC Language Other than English Certification.