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GBM Foreign Language Competency Requirement Information

Foreign Language Competency


All GBM students must demonstrate advanced proficiency in a foreign language as part of their GBM graduation requirements. This proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  1. Passing the Berlitz foreign language exam at proficiency level of "6" or better. This tests all four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  2. Submitting a birth certificate or passport from the foreign country and either a high school diploma or college diploma from a country that speaks the foreign language for which the student is trying to demonstrate proficiency. All documents must be translated into English by a certified translator or company and signed by the translator or company as such or verified by an on-campus, full-time instructor that the documents are what they are presented to be and signed by that instructor on CSUSM letterhead stationery.

Reason for an Advanced Proficiency Level

Although much of the world conducts business in English, being able to communicate fluently in a foreign language significantly enhances your ability to be effective in international business. An advanced level means that a number of sources of information are available to you that otherwise would not be. This includes both written sources and people such as organizational personnel, citizens, and many others. Speaking a foreign language enhances your image among those people and gives you a competitive advantage as an individual. Most programs only require a certain number of credits in the foreign language. There is a false assumption that a certain number of credits equal fluency. One of the distinctive aspects about our program is that our students ARE fluent and can conduct business in that language immediately. This increases your marketability.

Berlitz Language Center Information

Berlitz is the most widely accepted foreign language learning and testing institute in the world. It is because of its reputation and standardized testing procedures that we use Berlitz. Although subject to change, cost of the exam for common languages is $175 and for less common languages, the cost can be up to $200. You will need to make an appointment with the Center in San Diego when you are ready to take this test. See their contact information to the right.

Preparation for the Language Competency Exam

There are a number of ways to prepare for the exam:

  1. Individual study and/or tutoring.
  2. Take foreign language courses where they are available.
  3. Study abroad programs (IP) and/or doing GBM 497 in the foreign country where that language is spoken.

For Spanish speakers, we currently have the Berlitz book and tapes that correspond to proficiency levels 5-8 (remember that “6” is the required passing level). This is available in CSUSM’s Academic Success Center in University Hall 240. You are highly encouraged to review these materials for the Spanish-speaking exam to help you determine your readiness. In the future, we hope to be able to purchase other language materials for those languages that represent the most common among our GBM students.