The foreign language requirement applies to students earning a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree as well as all degrees granted by, or under the jurisdiction of, the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Placement in elementary and intermediate foreign language courses is made by the appropriate placement examination. Students who have previous experience with a foreign language in high school, or elsewhere, prior to enrolling at USC must take the placement examination.

Transfer courses certified as equivalent to a USC elementary or intermediate foreign language course DO NOT fulfill the prerequisite for the next course in the sequence. Students may be advised, although not required, to repeat, without additional credit, a semester or semesters of instruction if their skills are judged insufficient at the time of testing.

  • The foreign language requirement may be satisfied only by

    • earning a passing grade in language Level III of a foreign language sequence at USC or its equivalent elsewhere*, or
    • scoring on the placement examination at a level considered by the language program as equivalent to the completion of Course III, or
    • scoring on a national or international examination (AP or International Baccalaureate Higher Level only) at a level set by the department and approved by the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, or
    • passing a competency exam of language skills, administered at USC, subject to the availability of suitable academic examiners. The competency exam will test proficiency in listening, reading and writing skills.

    * This determination is administered by the USC Transfer Credit Office.

  • International students whose native language is not English may be exempt from the foreign language requirement. This appears on a STARS report as: “FOREIGN LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT WAIVED BY VIRTUE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT STATUS AND COUNTRY OF ORIGIN”. This determination is made by international student admissions, based in part on the default language of instruction during secondary school.

    Students who can supply proof of at least two years of full-time secondary schooling beyond the age of 14, taught in a foreign language in a country where English is not an official language or de facto official language, may request an exemption from the foreign language requirement. N.B., This does not mean that you studied two years of foreign language in high school in an English-speaking country.  Furthermore, students who studied at English-language “international schools” are not exempt from the foreign language requirement.

  • It is strongly recommended that all students who as freshmen are enrolled in degree programs that have a language requirement fulfill that requirement by the time they have completed 64 units. All other students for whom it is a requirement should fulfill it before they have completed 96 units.

  • Students with documented learning disabilities or physical impairments inhibiting language acquisition may petition for substitution. The first point of contact is the USC Office of Student Accessibility Services.