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Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity

Division of Student Affairs

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Course Substitutions

Course requirements for degrees granted by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) are designed to provide a comprehensive education in both general education and in the student’s major field of study. In awarding a degree, VCU recognizes the satisfactory completion of courses essential for the practice of the student’s chosen profession or continued field of study and research. All admitted students are regarded as “otherwise qualified” to participate in any academic program with or without reasonable accommodations. Therefore, students with disabilities are not excused from degree requirements.

In certain limited instances where a student has a disability that is so profound that it precludes their ability to meet a course requirement, the student may petition for a course substitution. These requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Course Substitution Requests are reviewed once per month throughout the semester. Students who are granted course substitutions will be required to replace the substituted course with one that teaches comparable skills and/or information. Therefore, students are strongly encouraged to request course substitution as early as possible prior to their graduation date. Exceptions will not be made for students who fail to request course substitutions well in advance of their anticipated graduation date. 

Requesting a Course Substitution

1. Submit a Course Substitution Request

2. Submit Documentation

Submit documentation of the impairment/disability that supports the request. Documentation should be current and comprehensive in light of the request. It must consist of an evaluation by an appropriate professional confirming a disability and describing the current functional impact of the condition or disability on a specific skill-set necessary for the completion of the course.

3. Additional materials

High school and college transcripts (including an unofficial VCU transcript) are strongly encouraged. Students may also elect to provide any additional materials related to their request.

Course substitutions will only be considered if the following conditions hold true:

  1. The student would be unable to complete the required course, even with appropriate accommodations and academic supports in place.
  2. Approving a substitution would not constitute a fundamental alteration to the academic program.
  3. The course is not essential to the program of study or to meet licensing or certification requirements.
  4. The course does not serve as a prerequisite to establish a skill-set required for other courses essential to the program of study or to meet licensing or certification requirements.
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