The ability to use a language other than English to communicate, interpret, and present information is essential for success in the 21st century.  It demonstrates that you can be flexible in difficult situations and adaptable in new environments.  It also shows that you have the capacity to see the world through multiple perspectives.

Through the language learning experience, you will expand your understanding of the world and what it means to be a global citizen, giving you the confidence to take on new challenges in a collaborative environment.

Meeting the CSUMB Language Proficiency Requirement enables you to communicate with culturally appropriate manners at an intermediate level in your language of study, with basic knowledge of cultural customs, practices, products and perspectives on familiar topics; and to be able to meaningfully compare your own culture with other languages and cultures.

Students are required to demonstrate proficiency through the 201 or equivalent (intermediate) level. 

This requirement can be met through a variety of pathways, including:

  • Complete a course at the 201 level at CSUMB with a grade of "C" or higher
  • Complete a course at the 201 level at another college (be sure alternate institution offers the target language through the required level) with a grade of "C" or higher
  • Demonstrate proficiency through assessment of prior learning (see approved languages)
  • Alternative Examination, including AP, IB and CLEP
  • Alternative Pathway (substitution with culture courses) for students with Verified Learning Disability

Language Proficiency Requirements for Transfer Students

The following junior transfer students are exempted from the language proficiency requirement:

  • Transfer Students entering into (and graduating from) a high unit major (listed below) with area A-E complete are exempted from the language requirement
  • Transfer Students entering into (and graduating from) a high unit major (listed below)  and entering with 60 or more units are exempted from the langauge requirement

Non-high-unit major junior transfer students must complete the Language Proficiency requirement.
Current approved high unit majors at CSUMB are: Biology; Business Administration; Computer Science and Information Technology; Environmental Sciences, Technology & Policy; Liberal Studies; Marine Science; and Mathematics.

Freshmen with Qualifying External Examinations

CSUMB will award baccalaureate credit to be applied to the degree to students who pass any of the following standardized external examinations, including AP, CLEP and IB, according to Coded Memo found at The following exams have been aligned with the CSUMB Language Proficiency Requirement.

Advancement Placement (AP)Language Proficiency and/or Placement:

Students who score a 4 or 5 on the AP Exam in the following languages have satisfied the Language Requirement. Accepted exams are: Chinese Language and Culture, French Language, German Language, Italian Language, Japanese Language and Culture, Latin, Spanish Language, and Spanish Literature and Culture.

Students who score a 3 on the above Japanese or Spanish Exams should enroll at the 201 level in order to complete the language proficiency requirement.

International Baccalaureate (IB) HL Exam

Students who score a 6 or 7 on the Foreign Language (HL) A1, A2, or B exam have satisfied the Language Proficiency Requirement. Note, the SL Exam does not meet the requirement.

Students who score 5 or below on the IB should determine appropriate placement in order to complete the requirement. Suggested placement is 101 for a score of 4 or below; 102 for a score of 5.

College Level Entrance Program (CLEP) Test Scores

Students who score a 59 or above on the CLEP Level II in French, 60 in German, or 63 in Spanish have satisfied the Language Proficiency Requirement.

Students who score below these levels on the CLEP should determine appropriate placement in order to complete the requirement. 


Students with two years of high school language study should enroll at the 102 level of the language  previously studied. Students with three years of high school study should start at 201.

Additional placement accuracy is provided for students of Spanish through the online Spanish Language Placement exam that can help place the student in a course appropriate to his/her level. Scoring high on this test will not earn the student units, but will simply place him/her in an appropriate course. The test takes about 20-30 minutes to complete and will then post the student's score to his/her email address. Spanish Placement Exam access information can be found at

Assessment of Prior Learning

Students may be able to meet the language requirement through assessment of prior learning in the following languages: Arabic (ARAB), American Sign Language (ASL), Cantonese (CANT), Chinese (CHIN), Farsi (FRSI), French (FREN), German (GERM), Greek (GK), Hebrew (HEBR), Italian (ITAL), Japanese (JAPN), Korean (KOREAN), Mandarin (MAND), Polish (POL), Portuguese (PORT), Russian (RUS), Spanish (SPAN), Tagalog (TAG), Thai (THAI), Turkish (TURK) and Vietnamese (VIET). Students may enroll in the section of 201 language level with course section designator 99. Contact the School of World Languages and Cultures for permission numbers to add these sections.

Additional information and FAQ

Additional information and a FAQ regarding language proficiency can be found at More questions? Contact the School of World Langauges and Cultures or email