Foreign Language Substitution or Modification

Students with learning, speech, hearing, or other disabilities that significantly impact the ability to acquire a foreign language may request a course substitution or modification for a foreign language requirement.

Accommodations may include:

  • Course substitution
  • Elementary sequence of two different languages
  • P/D/F grade option
  • Permission to record lectures
  • Adjustments to class participation requirement

NB: Foreign language substitutions are not available for undergraduate majors or graduate programs when studying a new language is essential to the field of study.

Should I Request This Accommodation?

Having a learning disability alone is not a valid predictor of success with language acquisition. Some students with learning disabilities may be successful in learning a foreign language by utilizing the following resources:

  • Consult with an academic advisor when selecting a specific language to study.
  • Use approved accommodations through Disability Services.
  • Attend office hours or alternate sections of the course.
  • Receive tutoring services from the Language Resource Center.
  • Work with a Disability Services learning specialist to develop compensatory strategies.

How to Request This Accommodation

We recommend that students request this accommodation by the end of their sophomore year for undergraduate students and at the start of their academic program for graduate students. Requests will be considered at any point during the student’s academic program; however, requests made near the completion of the program may delay graduation.

  1. Register with Disability Services.
  2. Consult advisor or academic program about the language requirements of degree program.
  3. Submit to Disability Services:
    1. a completed Request for Foreign Language Substitution form
    2. a personal statement explaining reasons for the request
    3. documentation demonstrating significant difficulty with language-based tasks in reading, spelling, writing, speaking, or listening that impact language acquisition

Disability Services requires four to six weeks to evaluate foreign language substitution requests and all related documentation. Disability Services will also review the student’s educational history concerning language study, consult with previous professors or other university officials, and consider the requirements of the student’s academic program.

If an accommodation is approved by the student’s school or academic program and Disability Services, the student then consults with their academic program or advisor to determine which courses can substitute the original requirement. Final decisions on substitute courses are made by the advising dean and/or appropriate academic officials from the student’s school.