Stay up to date with courses and trends in Humanities and Languages

"When you're getting feedback, you get it from different types of people, different cultures."
Read more from Lyn Aye.

Become a true global citizen—improve your language proficiency to enrich your social, cultural and professional experiences. Round out your education with courses on history, literature, philosophy and cultural studies. Brush up on your conversational French, learn Mandarin for your next business trip to China, or improve your English writing and speaking skills. Courses are held in Berkeley, San Francisco, Belmont and online.


Lyn Aye,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
Program in Writing

Professional certificates and specialized programs of study

Professional certificates are the highest level of academic achievement from UC Berkeley Extension. Specialized programs of study provide focused subject concentrations to develop skills within specific disciplines. Learn more.

Transforming students into global citizens

Pamela Lim-McAlister

In the U.S., Spanish is already the second most commonly used language. The result? Those who speak Spanish will enjoy greater employment opportunities and be better prepared to understand and participate in the global economy. “Learning a new language also gives you deeper cultural knowledge and awareness,” says instructor Pamela Lim-McAlister, who has taught Spanish: Intermediate I and Spanish: Advanced IV as part of UC Berkeley Extension’s Professional Program in Spanish Language. She recently talked with us about why she teaches at Extension and how her passion for the language fuels a commitment to her students. Read more.

Discover Oxford

Study and live at the University of Oxford during this unique three-week summer program. Take a seminar within the hallowed walls of one of the world's most prestigious universities and experience local culture and Oxford's storied traditions alongside classmates from around the country.

2017 Oxford Berkeley program dates announced. Visit the new website to learn more about this unique study abroad opportunity.

Explore the Oxford Berkeley Program!

Learn a New Language!

Globalization has made the study of foreign languages pertinent to professional success in the global workplace. Professionals in business, government, healthcare, higher education and law enforcement report the urgent need for greater cultural competence and foreign language skills in the U.S. workforce. Our updated language courses meet the professional, heritage and enrichment needs of this increasingly interconnected world.

View all Languages courses.

Which ESL Course Is Best for You?

Intermediate courses are for nonnative speakers who:

  • can speak or write in sentences or short paragraphs about familiar topics but have difficulty expressing themselves in longer paragraphs,
  • have studied grammar but have trouble using correct grammar within speaking or writing contexts,
  • sometimes have trouble finding the correct word or phrase to express their meaning.

High-intermediate to low-advanced courses are for nonnative speakers who:

  • can speak and write with some ease in full paragraphs about a wide range of subjects, with a high degree of grammatical accuracy;
  • need to improve their sensitivity to formal and informal language and the appropriateness of expressions in certain situations;
  • can express their meaning but need to improve use of vocabulary and idioms.

Advanced courses are for nonnative speakers who:

  • can speak and write fluently but need more complex vocabulary and grammar;
  • make occasional grammar and vocabulary errors that do not interfere with comprehension;
  • can frequently, but not always, speak and write with appropriate tone and style.

You are welcome to attend the first class to consult the instructor about your English-language level, but space in the class is not guaranteed. If you have any questions, prior to enrollment, please contact the Education department at (510) 642-1172 or email questions to

View all courses in English as a Second Language.

Contact the Humanities and Languages Department

Humanities and Languages: | (510) 643-1110

ESL: | (510) 642-1172

Ramu Nagappan
Humanities and Education
Liz McDonough
Program Director
Languages, Humanities, Writing and Editing
Sigrid Mueller
Acting Program Manager