Course Substitution

Policy for Course Substitutions

The ADA requires that all colleges provide accommodations to students with disabilities. Regarding the request for course substitutions, we acknowledge and support the university’s aim to prepare its students for a world of increasing interdependence and complexity. General Education Requirements have a crucial role to play in the overall education offered at Arcadia University. At the same time, the university recognizes that otherwise qualified students with disabilities may find the conditions of certain courses within the General Education Requirements to be a barrier to degree completion. However, the university does not grant course waivers for students with disabilities. Accommodations will be made for students who have documented disabilities that affect the ability to complete certain required General Education courses. If reasonable accommodations cannot be provided, a student may petition for a course substitution which will be considered on a case-by- case basis.

In order to qualify for a course substitution based on disability the following conditions must be

  • Documentation must be current and accepted according to university guidelines.
  • The documentation must specifically address the issue related to the course requirement. Evidence of the student’s functional limitations as they are related to the course requirements must be provided in the documentation. For example, the documentation must provide evidence of a math-based disability, such as dyscalculia, or a language-based disability in the case of foreign languages.
  • The student must have a demonstrated history of difficulty with the course area, preferably at the post-secondary level.
  • If the course is an essential part of the degree requirements of the student’s chosen major, the student must receive approval from his/her adviser and the chair of the department in which the course is taught.

Process for Course Substitutions

  • The student must have identified him or herself with Office of Academic Development and have on file documentation of how his/her disability condition affects the ability to learn the relevant course. This documentation must be complete and approved as acceptable documentation by the Division of Student Success and the Office of Academic Development
  • The student must schedule an appointment to meet with the Director of Academic Development to discuss the policy and procedures for requesting a course substitution.
  • The student will receive a suggested list of approved course substitutions.
  • The student must submit a petition to the Division of Student Success outlining his/her request for the course substitution. Petition for Course Substitution here. 
    • The petition should be no more than one or two paragraphs explaining the difficulties the student has had with learning or otherwise accessing course content in relation to a disability condition. A discussion of attempts to take similar courses and resulting grades should be included. Preferably, the student should have attempted at least one course in the subject area at the post-secondary level, with appropriate disability accommodations before making a petition.
    • The petition will be sent to the Office of Academic Development where it will be reviewed by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Academic Development.
    • If the course is also a requirement for the student’s major, a course substitution cannot be made without the approval of the student’s adviser and the chair of the department in which the course is taught.
    • The approved petition for course substitution is sent to the student, student’s Adviser, DSS, Associate Dean, and Registrar.
Substitute Courses for Modern Languages

N.B. Courses that will reasonably substitute should deal in English, with the culture or literature of a non-English speaking people, or with the history or description of language. These courses may be drawn from University Seminars, Linguistics or Literature in English translation courses, Anthropology, History, Religion or other department courses that deal exclusively with a specific non-English speaking country or culture.