All students completing an A.B. or B.S. degree in the College must demonstrate a 4th-term proficiency in a language other than English prior to graduation. Students 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.

Students may petition the Academic Standards Board for a Language Requirement Substitution. The criteria students must meet to obtain this exception include the following:

  1. A documented history of extreme difficulty in learning a foreign language;
  2. A score on the MLAT (Modern Language Aptitude Test) consistent with a language learning disability.

In their petition for the language substitution, students should relate their experience with foreign language learning throughout their educational career. The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (734.763.3000; http://ssd.umich.edu) offers the MLAT at various times throughout the year; students will need to have completed this test prior to their petitioning for the foreign language substitution. Students will also need to include with their petition a letter from one of their language instructors commenting on their attendance, effort, and capability for language learning.

If the Board's language committee grants the student's petition, then the student will meet with one of the committee members to determine which courses the student will use as a substitution for their remaining terms of foreign language. If the committee denies the student's petition, the student is welcome to meet with a member of the committee to discuss other options for the student.

sample instructor letter for foreign language substitution (Word document)