Choosing your language courses

Which language courses are right for you?

Students in some degree programs at UBC Okanagan are required or may choose to take courses in another language. The Department of Languages and World Literatures offers an exciting range of courses in French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Mandarin and Korean, as well as World Literature courses that introduce you to new cultural and linguistic contexts.

These courses provide important communication and intercultural skills which will be of use throughout your university degree and beyond.

How should I select my language courses?

Consider your high school background and interests to help identify the course(s) best suited for you. Our language courses must be taken in sequence. After a student successfully completes a language course, they can no longer go back and take a course in that subject at a lower level (e.g. a student who completes SPAN 201 can no longer go back to take 100-level SPAN courses).

Failure to register in the appropriate level will result in students being removed from the course.

Choose from the following options:

First year Mandarin Chinese courses are for beginners looking to start to learn a second language. Students will develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in the Chinese language, and will gain a basic understanding of Chinese culture.

Currently, our Chinese courses are designed for students who have no experience in Mandarin Chinese. If you have completed grade 12 or speak Mandarin, please consider another language.

Learn more

French language courses are designed to improve skills in reading, composition and oral communication, and foster critical analysis of cultural material as well as intercultural understanding.

How to choose FREN courses based on your high school level of French:

No high school French or high school French to grade 10

Start with FREN 101

High school French 11

Start with FREN 103 (you should not register in FREN 101 or FREN 102)

High school French 12

Start with FREN 122 (you should not register in FREN 101-104)

French Immersion

Start with FREN 222 and FREN 223. This series corresponds to level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)

FREN immersion with B2* level and francophones

Start with FREN221 (must have as a prerequisite to all 300 level content courses)

*All scores on B2 exams must be 20/25 and over to meet prerequisites for 300-level FREN grammar and writing courses. If scores are 20 or lower then students should take FREN 222 and FREN 223, in addition to FREN 221,  before registering in 300-level FREN courses.


Experience a practice-based approach to language learning, as well as literature, culture, history, film and the environment. Options for students taking German include beginner’s courses and intermediate level (A1—B1).

How to choose GERM courses based on your high school level of German:

No high school German or high school German to grade 11

Start with GERM 100

High school German 12

Start with GERM 200

Learn more

JPST language classes are full of in-class and online activities that develop essential speaking, listening, writing and reading skills for both collaborative and independent study contexts.

How to choose JPST courses based on your high school level of Japanese:

No high school Japanese or high school Japanese to grade 11

Start with JPST 100

High school Japanese 12

Start with JPST 101 or JPST 200. You should speak with the Japanese Advisor before registering for a course

Learn more

Korean courses expand Asian options for language study at UBC Okanagan, and also examine culture where related to language and communication, and everyday life in Korea.

How to choose KORN courses based on your high school level of Korean:

No high school Korean

Start with KORN 100

High school Korean 11 with 75% or higher

Start with KORN 101

High school Korean 12

Students who have completed grade 12 Korean or are fluent in Korean are not able to complete KORN courses.

It is recommended you contact us for a placement test,

Learn more

Courses offered in Spanish cover language, literature and culture. The language-learning aspect of the program covers practical skills and daily application of Spanish, as well as skills that are transferable to a work environment and an academic setting.

Students interested in studying Spanish can look into the Major in Languages, Minor in Spanish, or complete a General BA with a Concentration in Spanish

How to choose SPAN courses based off of your high school level of Spanish:

No high school Spanish or high school Spanish 10

Start with SPAN 101

Spanish 11 in high school and received a final grade of 70% or higher

Start with SPAN 102

Spanish 12 in high school and received a final grade of 70% or higher

Start with SPAN 201

Learn more

BA language/ linguistic appreciation requirement

Students who began their BA degree in 2021 at UBC Okanagan are required to take six credits of language acquisition or linguistic appreciation coursework.  These six credits can be from any combination of approved courses. For example, if you choose to take a FREN course you can take a course from a different language or subject to complete the final three credits.

Students outside of the BA program may use language courses to complete their electives (or depending on the degree program a Major in FREN or Minor in FREN or SPAN may be applicable). Students in International Relations are required to take 12 credits in one or two languages other than English in addition to the BA requirement.

Linguistic appreciation courses

There are also courses offered in Anthropology (ANTH) and World Literature (WRLD) approved to meet this requirement. The approved ANTH and WRLD courses provide more information about the development of language or the socio-cultural aspects of languages. View the list of approved courses.

Most of the WRLD approved courses are designed for the absolute beginner so if you have completed high school grade 12 in the language that is being taught you will not be able to complete that WRLD course.

BA Language Requirement prior to 2021

Students admitted to the BA prior to 2021W are required to complete the BA Language Requirement. The BA Language Requirement can be met with Grade 12 language courses (i.e. high school French 12) provided the course was completed prior to being admitted to UBC. If a student did not complete a Grade 12 language course before coming to UBC, they can use FREN 104, GERM 210, JPST 201, SPAN 202, or SPAN 204 to meet the BA language requirement.  Please note that each of these courses have firm prerequisites. Be sure to review the guidelines about how to select language courses for further information

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Majoring in Languages or French

Major in Languages

The core of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree program with a Language Major consists of courses in French and in Spanish covering language, literature and culture as well as a third language, such as German, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

More about a Major in Languages

Major in French

In addition to individual courses, students can choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA)—with a Major, Combined Major, or Minor—in our French program at UBC Okanagan.  The BA program includes language studies at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as courses in literature, culture and translation.

More about a Major in French


For help choosing the language course that is right for you, please contact the appropriate Subject Area Advisor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

For general questions about your requirements and degree, contact an Academic & Career Advisor.