IR Language Requirement

Language word cloud

As part of the IR program, students are required to take a certain number of language credits in addition to the Faculty of Arts language requirement.

  • IR Majors: 12 credits all in one language other than English
  • IR Minors: 6 credits all in one language other than English

Once students have completed their language requirement, they must email to have their degree navigator updated.

Please note the following with regards to the language requirement:

  • The language chosen for these credits can be the same one used to satisfy the Faculty of Arts requirement and carried to a higher level (eg. Span 101, 102, and 201 cannot be used toward IR if you are using Span 202 for your Arts language requirement), or it can be a different language entirely.
  • Courses taken toward the language requirement must be taught in the language and not in English. Be aware of courses which include a note that says “in English” or “in translation” as these cannot be used towards the IR language requirement.
  • The final course taken towards the language requirement must be taken for percentage grades, not credit/D/fail.
  • Credits taken toward the IR language requirement will be counted towards your BA elective requirements.
  • Students who have a grade 12 language can retake up to 6 credits in that language if there has been a pause in learning of 3+ years. For instance, a student completed “Spanish 12” in high school several years ago can request approval from the Program to go back in the sequence and take SPAN 201 and 202 to complete 6 of the 12 credits for IR.
  • French Immersion students would be considered to have completed the equivalent of FREN 302. If you are a French Immersion student intending to use French to count towards both the Arts and the IR language Requirements, you will just need to complete FREN 401 & FREN 402 at UBC.
  • As language immersion is a great way to learn a language, students may also wish to complete some of their language credits through an International Learning Experience such as exchange or group study or by participating in the Canadian Federal Government language immersion program: Summer Explore.

Language Testing

Students may satisfy the IR language requirement by proving the appropriate competency through examination. Arrangements for such examination must be made through the academic department providing instruction in the language. No course credit will be awarded for satisfaction of the IR language requirement in this manner.

Students who will be testing for their IR language requirement in the same language as their Arts requirement but at a higher level, need to make this clear to the department administering the competency exam to ensure that the correct language level is being tested.

Students who wish to present a language other than those instructed at UBC may be permitted to do so through a challenge examination, where appropriate expertise to test the student’s competency in the language is available. Once you have been accepted to the IR Major Program, arrangements for such examination can be made by emailing