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Foreign Language Requirement and Disability

Undergraduate students at William & Mary are required to complete the College foreign language requirement. Accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities and are considered on a case-by-case basis by the Assistant Dean of Students for Disability Services. While the majority of students with disabilities are able to fulfill the foreign language requirement with little or no accommodation, students with disabilities severe enough to interfere with their ability to complete the basic expectations may be eligible for substitution of the requirement. Waivers are never granted.

The following diagnoses may lend themselves to substitution of the College foreign language requirement under certain circumstances with appropriate documentation:

  • Specific Learning Disabilities that affect language development and acquisition
  • Hearing Impairment/Deafness
  • Speech Impairment (primary or secondary to other medical conditions)

The following diagnoses are examples of disabilities which generally do not lend themselves to substitution of the College foreign language requirement:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Vision Impairment

When possible, a student with a disability will be expected to make a good faith effort in a language course with accommodation before substitution will be considered. If accommodation and a good faith effort prove unworkable, the student may petition the Committee on Degrees for authorization to substitute select culture courses for foreign language courses. Students should petition as soon as possible, but no later than the pre-registration period of the first semester of their senior year. Substitute courses are approved by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with the Chair of the Modern Languages and Literatures Department or his/her designee. All students approved for modification of this degree requirement must successfully complete a pre-authorized substitute course for every semester of required foreign language not taken.

Documentation Requirements

Specific documentation criteria apply whether the student is seeking accommodation for or substitution of the foreign language requirement. Please refer to the Disability Services webpage to determine documentation criteria.