Disability Services for Students

302 Memorial Union Univeristy of Rhode Island Kingston, RI 02881


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302 Memorial Union
50 Lower College Road
Kingston, RI 02881
T: 401-874-2098
F: 401-874-5694
TT via RI Relay: 711
E: dss@etal.uri.edu

Course Substitution-Foreign Language: A Step-by-Step Guide

Students who have qualifying disabilities for this program accommodation should contact Disability Services for Students as early as possible in their degree program.

The University of Rhode Island makes available a course substitution petition process for students with qualifying disabilities (such as but not limited to: language-based learning disability, hearing disability, other communication disability, etc.). Disability Services for Students acts as the liaison between you and the degree granting college in recommending the course substitution as a reasonable accommodation.

The following programs and colleges at the University of Rhode Island require foreign language study for graduation:

  • College of Arts and Sciences – Bachelor of Arts degrees; some Bachelor of Science degrees.
  • College of Business-all degrees;
  • Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies: School of Education degrees (reflecting the BA of Arts and Sciences); and
  • College of Environment & Life Sciences – Marine Affairs, Bachelor of Arts

Petitions for foreign language course substitutions are relevant only to these colleges and programs; please confirm your foreign language/foreign culture requirements with your dean’s office.   As of Fall 2016 the General Education requirements allow greater flexibility with the Global responsibilities requirement,  but many programs still require Foreign Language as part of the core requirements.  Please check with your academic advisor about your program requirements.

Follow this procedure if you believe you have a qualifying disability and are seeking a substitution for the Foreign Language degree requirement:

  1. Make an appointment with a counselor in Disability Services for Students (dss@etal.uri.edu or phone 401-874-2098) as soon as possible in your degree program.
  2. Prior to the first appointment, please provide Disability Services for Students with comprehensive diagnostic data about your qualifying disability. (See Documentation – for a description of required evidence). This documentation must substantiate the disability and its specific impact upon your ability to learn a foreign language. The DSS counselor will discuss your concerns and difficulties with you.
  3. Please also provide a complete personal statement to describe your history of difficulty in foreign-language learning from high school until now. This statement or case history should include: a) your personal statement indicating the reasons for the request including prior experiences with foreign language courses; and b) the names of courses attempted and grades received attesting to your efforts and diligence in attempting to master foreign language courses with or without accommodations.
  4. The accommodation committee in Disability Services for Students will review your statement, supporting evidence, and documentation; they will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant the course substitution as a reasonable program accommodation. You will be informed of our decision.
  5. If there is sufficient evidence, the DSS committee will forward a formal petition, on your behalf, to the Academic Standing Committee of the respective College for their decision and recommendation.
  6. The respective College Assistant Dean will send their decision directly to you with a copy to Disability Services for Students.
  7. Upon approval, you are expected to complete the substituted Foreign Culture General Education requirement as recommended by your Dean’s office (generally two foreign culture courses, conducted in English).
  8. Foreign culture courses (sometimes cross listed in multiple Gen Ed areas) may be used in only one General Education area for graduation.
  9. You are urged to seek academic advisement about fulfilling your Foreign Culture Gen Ed requirement. Please refer to the General Education requirements outlined in the Undergraduate Bulletin for the year in which you matriculated at the University.

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