Course Substitution Policy for Foreign Languages

As an integral part of a liberal arts education, the faculty of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures develops students' understanding of a foreign culture and civilization through training in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing in the language.

Students who master another language are uniquely prepared to interact with linguistically diverse populations and to promote cross-cultural understanding.

However, for students with a clearly documented language-based disability, fulfilling this graduation requirement might be impossible. Although Gustavus does not grant exemptions or waivers to the General Education Curriculum, qualified students may petition to complete faculty-approved alternative courses to fulfill the intent of this requirement.

Category of Student

  1. Students with documented language-based disability
    Procedure
    1. The student should consult with the Disability Services Coordinator and submit appropriate documentation of the disability before attempting a foreign language or after attempting a foreign language and failing the course. (Students who have a documented language-based learning disability generally will be permitted to substitute faculty-approved alternative courses by means of petitioning.)
    2. The student should submit a petition requesting course substitutions to the Registrar's Office for the Petitions Committee. As part of the petition, the Disability Services Coordinator will verify the documentation and assure that it meets the requirements for course substitution. (The Disability Services Coordinator will consult with the student's evaluator if necessary to verify eligibility.)
    3. When the petition is honored, the student can choose (2) courses from the approved alternative course list in lieu of 2 semesters of a foreign language. It is the student's responsibility to let the Registrar's Office know when the courses are finished so they will be placed on the degree audit to fulfill the non-English language requirement.
  2. Students with documentation but not specific to language-based disability, who have not yet manifested a problem learning a foreign language or have attempted and failed.
    Procedure
    1. If the student consults with the Disability Services Coordinator before attempting a foreign language or after failing a foreign language, he/she will be given a screening test to determine whether or not there is reason to enroll in at least one semester of a foreign language and demonstrate a reasonable effort to learn the language, i.e. working with the professor, tutors, the language lab. Effort will be verified by the professor and the Disability Services Coordinator.
      Or
    2. Try one language course at a time in summer school and transfer the credit to Gustavus.
    3. If these attempts fail, the student may seek diagnostic testing and begin the petition process for course substitutions.
  3. Students who have no documentation and are not receiving services from the Disability Services Coordinator.
    Procedure
    1. The student may consult with the Disability Services Coordinator and be given a screening test to determine further referral for diagnostic testing.
    2. If the language-based disability is verified, the student should use the procedure in #1.
    3. If the disability is not verified, the student should try one course while using all of the academic supports available or should try one course at a time during summer school and transfer the credit to Gustavus