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.

To fulfill the Language Proficiency Requirement, students must demonstrate proficiency through the 201 or equivalent (intermediate) level.

The Language Proficiency Requirement can be satisfied in a number of ways.

For most students, the traditional pathway toward fulfilling the language proficiency requirement includes:

  • Completing a course at the 201 level with a grade of "C" or higher at CSUMB
  • Completing a course at the 201, or equivalent level, with a grade of "C" or higher at another college
  • An Alternative Pathway may be available for students with Verified Learning Disability; please contact Student Disability Resources for more information.

Take your language courses early! If you're starting at the 101 level, it will require 3 semesters of work to complete the sequence. Language learning is cumulative. Some students who do not take their courses consecutively have needed to repeat courses due to forgotten material.

Students with intermediate language proficiency in their native/target/heritage language may elect to take one of the following courses:

  • JAPN 300: Introduction to Advanced Communication (4 units)
  • JAPN 301: Advanced Japanese Culture, Language and Communication (4 units)
  • SPAN 212: Spanish For Spanish Speakers I (4 units)*
  • SPAN 301: Comp/Oral Practice (4 units)

Students with heritage proficiency in the following languages may elect to take WLC 212: Language and Culture for Heritage Speakers (4 units)*:

  • Arabic
  • American Sign Language
  • Cantonese
  • Farsi
  • French
  • German
  • Hindi
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Swedish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Other languages will depend on the local availability of a qualified assessor.

* Students should be advised that registration in these courses requires permission numbers; contact or (831) 582-3863 for more information. Permission numbers will given to students who meet one of the following enrollment requirements:

  • Heritage speaker with moderate (intermediate) level of communication competency in reading, writing, listening, and speaking;
  • Native speaker who has completed formal instruction of the target language through junior high school, and can provide evidence (i.e., transcript);
  • Provide certificate through recognized institution or agency demonstrating learning experience with intermediate level of proficiency;
  • Participants of CSU-IP and other study abroad program with pre-approved appropriate course alignment may already meet campus language proficiency requirements without completing this course.

Students who score a 4 or 5 on the following AP Exams have satisfied the Language Proficiency Requirement:

  • Chinese Language & Culture
  • French Language & Culture
  • German Language & Culture
  • Italian Language & Culture
  • Japanese Language & Culture
  • Latin
  • Spanish Language & Culture
  • Spanish Literature & Culture

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 a 59 or above on the CLEP Level II in French, 60 in Level II German, or 63 in Level II 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.

If you have previous education in a language and plan on continuing to study that language at CSUMB, the School of World Languages and Cultures encourages you to enroll in an appropriate level of study based on your experience. Here is some information to help you find the appropriate level:

One year of high school language study is typically considered equivalent to one semester of college language study.

Therefore, 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.

High School Students that have scored a 3 on the Japanese or Spanish AP exams identified above should enroll at the 201 level to complete the Language Proficiency Requirement.

IB Students who score 5 or below on the IB should consult WLC faculty to determine appropriate placement; suggested placement is 101 for a score of 4 or below; 102 for a score of 5.

Transfer Students may look to to find the relationship and articulation agreement between your school and CSUMB.

You may elect to take this online exam to assist in determining the most appropriate placement for you. The test takes about 20-30 minutes to complete and will then send your score to your email address.

You can access the test at: and the password is otters1.

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 language requirement

High unit majors at CSUMB include:

  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy
  • Liberal Studies
  • Marine Science
  • Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Sustainable Hospitality Management

The Faculty members from the School of World Languages & Cultures are able to assist you with correct placement in language courses at CSUMB.

For American Sign Language: Darby Campbell at

For Japanese Language: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott at OR Dr. Shigeko Sekine at

For Spanish Language: Students with last names that start with A-M should contact Dr. Christine Fernandez at regarding placement and advising. Students with last names that start with N-Z should contact Dr. Rafael Gomez at regarding placement and advising.

Note: Most faculty are not regularly available during the summer; please be sure to allow enough time before registration if you have questions or concerns about placement.