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Language Substitutions

All students completing an B.A. or B.S. degree in the College must demonstrate fourth-term proficiency in a language other than English prior to graduation. You can fulfill this requirement either by electing the necessary language courses or through placement testing. However, the College recognizes that there are some students with a language learning disability who would not be able to meet this requirement with language courses.

Criteria for exception:

Students who have received the exception in the past typically have all of the following:

  • A documented history of extreme difficulty in learning a foreign language

  • Exerted a “good-faith effort” (i.e. perfect or near perfect attendance; completion of all assignments and exams; frequenting instructor’s office hours) at learning a language at the college level through taking foreign language courses at UM;

  • Earned a grade of C- or below in the last language course; 

  • Achieved a score on the MLAT (Modern Language Aptitude Test) consistent with a language learning disability.

How Do I Start the Petition Process?

  • Meet with a member of the Academic Standards Board who serves on the Language Exception Committee. The Board member will talk with you about the criteria for approving an exception and about the petition process.

  • Contact the instructor(s) of the course(s) you have taken regarding their role in the petitioning process.

  • You must be taking or should have taken a foreign language course here within the last 12 calendar months.

What Happens If My Petition Is Granted?

You will be allowed to substitute culture courses for language courses to meet the requirement. You will meet with one of the Language Requirement Committee members to determine which courses you will use. These courses cannot be used to fulfill your distribution requirement. The courses must be approved in advance by a committee member.

What Happens If My Petition Is Denied?

You are encouraged to meet with a member of the Language Requirement Committee. They will help you assess degree options and next steps.