Substitution for Intermediate Competency in Second Language

Students are able to request a Substitution for Intermediate Competency in Second Language (Second Language Substitution), previously known as Foreign Language Substitution, at any time during their educational career at UMW, in the same manner they are able to make requests for any other academic accommodation. Students can make requests for accommodations by contacting the Office of Disability Resources.

Disabilities that do not typically lend themselves to an approved Second Language Substitution include ADHD, chronic health, and psychological disabilities. Second Language Substitutions are provided for students with a language-based disability that directly impacts their ability to be successful in second language courses.

It is strongly recommended that students who wish to request a Second Language Substitution begin this process as early as possible in their educational career to avoid any issues with the student’s expected graduation timeline. Although students can make this request at any time, students should consider the impact on expected graduation, in the event they are not approved for a Second Language Substitution or have to take additional classes to fulfill the substitution requirement. The best way to avoid issues is for the student to initiate this process well before their junior year at UMW. Students who wait until their junior or senior year to begin this process should be aware that this could delay their anticipated graduation date, should the student be required to take courses to fulfill degree requirements that were unanticipated, or do not meet deadlines set by the Registrar’s office.

Students who are provided with a Second Language Substitution are not exempt from the credits needed, but rather, are given the option to take alternative classes to meet this requirement. Students must meet with their academic advisor to determine an alternative plan of courses. The Office of Disability Resources is unable to advise students on their program requirements or courses needed to fulfill their degree requirements. Note: Courses taken pass/fail can be used only for elective credits; they cannot be used to fulfill Major Program or General Education requirements (with the exception of the Experiential Learning requirement).

If the student has not already done so, the student will need to provide documentation that supports a Second Language Substitution to the Office of Disability Resources (ODR) at the time they make their request for consideration of a Second Language Substitution.

After review, ODR will contact the student to request an appointment in order to discuss their request for the Second Language Substitution. Please note that this review process can take several weeks.

If approved, ODR will notify the Office of the Registrar, the student’s Academic Advisor (as listed in the Student Profile within the Banner System) and the student approved for the Second Language Substitution. The Registrar will update the student’s degree evaluation to display a current list of approved alternate courses that fulfill the substitution requirement and will notify the student and advisor when the update is completed.

There is a 9-/12-credit requirement to fulfill the Second Language Substitution (depending upon which General Education curriculum the student is following). The student is responsible for making an appointment with their academic advisor to determine the appropriate class(s) required in order to fulfill the 9-/12-credit Second Language Substitution requirement. The student is responsible for ensuring any credits from outside institutions are transferred to UMW prior to being able to be considered towards fulfilling this requirement. The student is responsible for working with their Academic Advisor to determine whether any previous courses taken may count towards meeting this requirement, as well as developing a plan to take any courses needed to complete the 9-/12-credit requirement.

The approved alternate course list is shared with students after they are approved for a Second Language Substitution, or by request. The list contains three categories: Understanding of Language, World Literatures, and World History and Culture. Students are required to take a course from each category. Students who have previously taken second language courses may count successfully-completed courses as part of the 9-/12-credit requirement under the Understanding of Language category. If 6 credits still remain, one must come from World History and Culture and the other from World Literatures; if only 3 credits remain, the student can choose either category.

Students who have been approved for a Second Language Substitution also have the option to appeal to the General Education Committee for consideration to have a course that is not on the approved course list count towards their Second Language Substitution requirement. Students who wish to take advantage of this option must complete the Appeal form (available through ODR by request) and submit this form to the General Education Committee. It is recommended that this be done before taking the course as there is no guarantee that the appeal will be approved.