B2 Certification

The 4-year moratorium on the requirement to certify a B2 level in a third language has been approved. As a result, students who begin a bachelor’s degree at UIC Barcelona during or after the 2018-2019 academic year will be required to certify a B2 level prior to graduation.

Law 2/2014, of 27 January, on Fiscal, Administrative and Financial Measures and the Public Sector established the legal requirement whereby anyone beginning a bachelor's degree at a Catalan university during or after the 2014-2015 academic year was required to certify a B2 level in a third language (German, English, French or Italian) in order to graduate.

In a unanimous decision, the Parliament of Catalonia recently approved Law 1/2018, of 8 May, amending Law 2/2014, under which third-language certification is now a requirement for students who begin their undergraduate studies from the 2018-2019 academic year onwards, and not those graduating during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Though this legal moratorium affects current students, we at UIC Barcelona will continue to encourage all students to certify their knowledge of a third language and take steps to incentivise certification.

As a result of this 4-year moratorium:

  • Students who began a bachelor’s degree between the 2014-2015 and 2017-2018 academic years (inclusive) may graduate without certifying a B2 level. However, UIC Barcelona will continue to ask students to certify a B2 level prior to graduation, as we feel that, in today's globalised world, students need at least a B2 level in a third language to meet the demands of their professional reality.
  • Students who certify a B2 level will receive recognition on their Diploma Supplement (DS).
  • Generally speaking, students who begin a bachelor’s degree as of the 2018-2019 academic year will be required to certify a B2 level in order to graduate.

Law 2/2014, of 27 January, on Fiscal, Administrative and Financial Measures and the Public Sector establishes the legal requirement whereby anyone who begins a bachelor's degree at a Catalan university must certify a B2 level in a third language (German, English, French or Italian) in order to graduate.

This article reads as follows:

Article 211: Certification of knowledge of a third language

  1. Any students who begin a bachelor's degree at a Catalan university during or after the 2018-2019 academic year must certify, prior to finishing their studies, knowledge of one of the foreign languages included in the Spanish university entrance exams (PAU) at a B2 level, under the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  2. The certification referred two in point 1 may also be earned through other official language certificates recognised as equivalent under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The department responsible for university matters will, through the Interuniversity Council of Catalonia, ensure that the process is undertaken correctly.

Grants and funding for certifying a B2 level

The Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR), through the Parla3 Programme, provides funding for students who began a bachelor's degree at a Catalan university for the first time during or after the 2014-2015 academic year and have attained a B1, B2.1 or B2.2 level of language knowledge under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) through courses offered by the Catalan universities, the Official School of Languages (EOI) or the Open Institute of Catalonia (IOC).

To apply for a grant, please contact the Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does a B2 level mean?
    The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) has established criteria that are common to the whole of Europe and which define communicative competences in a specific language. Users with a B2 level have limited operational proficiency in the language in question and can interact effectively in this language in everyday situations.
  2. How many hours of study are required to reach a B2 level? 
    We need to bear in mind that learning a language involves both time and effort. The CEFRL not only defines levels of competence, but also determines the approximate number of study hours required to reach each level:
    • A1 90-100 hours
    • A2 180-200 hours
    • B1 350-400 hours
    • B2 500-600 hours
    • C1 700-800 hours
    • C2 1,000-1,200 hours

    In other words, if you have an A2 level, it is understood that you have spent between 180 and 200 hours studying the language and that you need a further 200 hours to reach a B1 level. According to the CEFRL, you need approximately 600 study hours to reach a B2 level.

  3. How can I find out what my current level is? 
    The Institute for Multilingualism at UIC Barcelona offers free online level tests and personal guidance. To set up an interview with a lecturer from our department, please send an e-mail to multiling@uic.cat.
  4. Which students are required to accredit a B2 level in a third language? 
    According to Law 1/2018, of 8 May, amending Law 2/2014, all students who begin a bachelor's degree at a Catalan university during or after the 2018-2019 academic year. Law 1/2018 has established a 4-year moratorium on the certification requirement. As a result, only students who begin a bachelor’s degree as of the 2018-2019 academic year are required to certify a B2 level.
  5. Why and when do I need to accredit a B2 level in a third language? 
    You must certify it in order to graduate, though you do not need to wait until you have passed all the ECTS credits for your bachelor's degree. As soon as you have the accreditation you may present it to the centre you are studying in so that the accreditation may be added to your academic record.
  6. What happens if I pass all the ECTS credits for my bachelor's degree and have not yet certified a B2 level in a third language? 
    You will not be able to apply for an official bachelor's degree qualification until you present your accreditation.
  7. Which languages can I accredit? 
    You may accredit any of the languages that are included in the Spanish university entrance exams (PAU). Currently, these are English, French, German and Italian.
  8. How can I certify a B2 level? 
    By passing an exam that is common to the entire Catalan university system (the CLUC Exam) or by presenting a certificate accrediting a B2 level or higher of language knowledge.
  9. Which language certificates are accepted to accredit a B2 level? 
    Any certificates, qualifications or diplomas that are recognised as equivalent under the CEFRL, which are listed on the Institute for Multilingualism's website.
  10. Do I have to enrol for language credits to certify a B2 level? 
    You only need to enrol for language credits if they are included in the curriculum for your particular bachelor's degree programme. If not, all you need to do is certify a B2 level through one of the two routes indicated above (by passing a test at the University or presenting a certificate that accredits the level).
  11. If, to certify the level, I take foreign language courses, will these courses be considered optional subjects and will the results obtained be incorporated into my academic record? 
    Only marks corresponding to subjects that form part of the official curriculum will be included in your academic record. However, the certification of a B2 level in a third language will appear on your Diploma Supplement (DS).
  12. I have a qualification or certificate I think accredits a B2 level, but I'm not sure. Who can I ask? 
    Ask at your Faculty or the Institute for Multilingualism at UIC Barcelona. We will forward the relevant documentation or question to the Advisory Committee for the Accreditation of Levels of Competence in Foreign Languages.
  13. If my bachelor's degree is taught in English, do I still need to certify a B2 level to graduate? 
    There is no need to certify the level if you earned an upper-secondary or equivalent qualification in your country in this language.
  14. If I am a foreign student and a native speaker of English, French, etc., do I still need to certify a B2 level? 
    No, you are not required to certify your level if you earned an upper-secondary degree in your country and in one of the above languages.
  15. If I am not a foreign student and native speaker but I studied at a foreign school, do I need to certify a B2 level in that particular third language? 
    There is no need to certify the level if you earned an upper-secondary or equivalent qualification at an accredited foreign school, whether in Spain or abroad.
  16. Will my B2 certificate expire? 
    No, it won't expire, unless the certificate specifies a period of validity.
  17. I have finished my first bachelor's degree and have certified a B2 level, and I would now like to begin a second university degree. Do I need to certify a B2 level again to obtain the second degree? 
    No, if you have already certified a B2 level during your first university degree, you do not need to accredit this level again for a second university degree.