Office of International Programs

Language Requirements

Where possible, Brown requires students to pursue their studies entirely in the language spoken in the host country. For this reason, students must demonstrate competency in the host country's local language before studying abroad. 

If the language of the host country in which you want to study is French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish, in most cases you must demonstrate a certain level of language competency before applying to the program and take your coursework in the local language (there are a few exceptions to this rule - see below). See the course requirements for each language using the chart below. 

English Language Programs
Students may enroll in English language study abroad programs at institutions where the local language is not normally offered at Brown. In such cases, students are required to study the local language as part of their academic program. Programs in English-speaking locations (such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand) are also available.  


Brown in France - Paris and Lyon University Studies: FREN 0600/Writing and Speaking French II (sixth-semester college level French), or the equivalent, with a grade of B or better. Students are required to take at least one course in French the year before departure.

Brown in France - Paris Engineering Program: Students with no previous French language experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Recommended: FREN 0100/Basic French I or FREN 0200/Basic French II. 

Non-Brown Programs: FREN 0600. This prerequisite applies to approved and petition programs in France or Francophone Countries (i.e. Francophone Africa, Switzerland, etc.)


Brown in Germany Track 1: GRMN 0500/Twentieth Century German Culture (fifth-semester college level German) or the equivalent.

Brown in Germany Track 2: GRMN 0300/Intermediate German I (third-semester college level German) or the equivalent.


Brown in Bologna: ITAL 0300/Intermediate Italian I (third-semester college level Italian) or the equivalent.   

Exception: Concentrators in Art/Semiotics, Classics, History of Art and Architecture, Urban Studies, or Visual Arts do not need to have studied Italian previously and may choose from the list of Approved Alternative Programs or petition other programs specifically designed for those concentrations.


Minimum Requirement: Students must pass JAPN 0400/Intermediate Japanese before attending the fall or full year program. Students are required to complete Japanese 0500/Advanced Japanese I in order to study abroad during the Spring semester.

Note: For students applying to a Brown in Japan program, all students attending KCJS will be required to take Japanese language along with two English language electives. At Keio, students fluent in Japanese may take courses at the regular University. Otherwise, they will take courses taught in English at the university's International Division.


Minimum Requirement: POBS 0400/Writing and Speaking Portuguese (fourth-semester college level Portuguese) or the equivalent.

Note: Students planning to study in Brazil are expected to have taken at least one course focusing entirely on Brazil in Literature, History or the Social Sciences.


Brown/CASA in Argentina: HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II.  

Brown/CASA in Chile: HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II

Brown/CASA in Cuba: HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II.  

Brown/CASA in Spain - Barcelona: HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II.  

Brown in Spain - Cantabria Engineering/Physics:  No previous Spanish language study is required. Intensive Basic Spanish/HISP 0110 or Basic Spanish/HISP 0200 (second semester college-level Spanish) or the equivalent is recommended.

Brown/CASA in Spain - Granada:  

  • Students with no previous Spanish language study or who have taken beginner through intermediate levels of proficiency are eligible for the Intensive Language (CILE) track. 

  • Students who have taken HISP 0300/Intermediate Spanish I – HISP 0500/Advanced Spanish I are eligible for the Hispanic Studies (CEH) track. 

  • Students who have taken HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II are required to enroll in the University Studies (UGR) direct enrollment track at the University of Granada.  

  • Students who have taken at least one course beyond HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II are required to participate in either the University Studies (UGR) or Translation and Interpretation (TRAD) track at the University of Granada.  

Petition ProgramsFor Spain, Latin America, and Caribbean programs: minimum requirement HISP 0600/Advanced Spanish II, except for the approved CIEE and SFS environmental programs in Costa Rica.

For questions on language placement and programs, please contact your OIP advisor.

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