Second Language Proficiency Requirements

ALL students at the University of Arizona must demonstrate either a second semester, fourth, or sixth semester proficiency at the university level in a second language in order to earn their degree(s).

Students in a Bachelor of Arts degree program must demonstrate fourth or sixth semester university level second language proficiency; students in a Bachelor of Science/Fine Arts/Science in Business must demonstrate second semester proficiency at the university level.

A student may “demonstrate” a level of proficiency in one of the following ways:

  1. Earn a 3, 4 or 5 on an Advanced Placement Exam in a second language: fourth semester proficiency achieved; no further coursework required
  2. Earn a 4 or 5 on the Higher Level International Baccalaureate in a second language: fourth semester proficiency achieved; no further coursework required
  3. Earn an appropriate score on a CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exam; second or fourth semester proficiency achieved; no further coursework required
  4. Complete an equivalent course, with a grade of C or better from another institution such as a community college or other university; this includes high school students obtaining dual enrollment credit. Please note that you may still need to take additional courses if the transfer coursework is not equivalent to a second or fourth semester UA course
  5. Take a proctored Computer Adaptive Proficiency Exam if you have studied one or more of the following languages: French, German, Latin, Russian, and/or Spanish. NOTE: The online version of this exam will only be used for the purpose of placing you into a course and cannot be used to satisfy your proficiency requirement. A proctored exam taken on campus must be completed should you wish to have your proficiency level verified and used towards your degree requirements. If the proficiency level you demonstrate for the proctored exam does not meet the required level for your degree program, you will be required to enroll in additional courses to satisfy this requirement. 
  6. Take two to six semesters of a second language at the college level
  7. International students who are native speakers of languages other than English may fulfill the Second Language Requirement with the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), provided that it was an admissions requirement and their score was satisfactory for admission to the University of Arizona. Alternatively, in lieu of an acceptable score on one of these standardized tests, an Endorsement from the External LinkCenter for English as a Second Language (CESL) may satisfy the Second Language Requirement.  U.S. citizens and international students from countries where English is the official language may not use the TOEFL, IELTS, or CESL Endorsement to satisfy the Second Language Requirement; those students must meet the requirement through one of the options stated above.

Students who have studied a language NOT listed above and who would like to take a proficiency or placement exam in the previously studied/known language, contact Marian Wiseley at For questions about American Sign Language please call the College of Education Office of Student Services at 520-621-7865, visit us in Education Building Room 247, or email

If you are an incoming freshman or transfer student who accessed this page via Next Steps and need to take an online Language Placement Exam, please return to Next Steps for the link to begin the exam.