Course Accommodations

**Please note that the information below applies only to undergraduate students. If you are a graduate student seeking course accommodations, please contact SAS. Please also consult the Graduate Student Handbook for information about Academic Policies for graduate students.**

Reduced Course Load

Tufts University does not offer a part-time program for undergraduate students. However, some students at Tufts have disabilities or conditions which affect their ability to maintain the expected 4- to 5-credit course load per semester. You may petition the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office for a reduced course load as an accommodation if you can show that honoring the request is necessary for you to be successful.  Reduced course loads may be granted with full or reduced tuition depending upon the number of credits taken for the semester.

  • A course load in the range of one credit to 2.5 credits, is considered a reduced course load with reduced tuition.  Students must enroll in enough classes to achieve a minimum of one credit.

Students who have been granted permission to enroll in fewer than 2.5 credits will be allowed to use that semester toward the residence requirement of eight semesters of full-time study.

To petition for a reduced course load, you and your doctor must complete a reduced course load petition form and submit the completed form with appropriate documentation no later than January 5 for spring semesters, and August 15 for fall semesters to SAS. We do not accept late petitions for consideration. You must re-petition each semester you are seeking a reduced course load.

Once you submit your completed petition, you must meet with the director of the Student Accessibility Services Office and your Advising Dean to develop an appropriate academic plan.  Taking a reduced course load may affect the number of semesters you need to graduate, financial aid, work-study, health insurance, auto insurance, and other areas of student life. In rare instances, if you extend your educational career too long, you may have to retake coursework to meet current standards. It is your responsibility to be aware of the effects of a reduced course load if granted.

Students are expected to make sufficient academic progress during reduced course load semesters and are still subject to academic probation if satisfactory progress is not made.

Academic Progress Requirements

Students who take a reduced course load (1 to 2.5) credits are expected to have a grade of C- or better in each course to be considered in good academic standing. If you drop a course, take an incomplete, or have a grade of D or below may be considered for academic probation.

Engineering students

Engineering students must work collaboratively with their Advising Dean to ensure proper degree requirements are being met in as timely a manner as possible. Due to the progressive nature of engineering degrees, academic planning is essential for students who need reduced course loads. You assume the responsibility for the consequences of seeking and obtaining a reduced course load with the understanding that particular courses and course requirements will not be waived.

Financial Considerations

Financial aid is typically available for eight semesters only. If you take a reduced course load, you may need additional semesters to earn the credits necessary to complete your degree.  When you are approved for a reduced course load it is strongly recommended that you speak with Student Accounting Services, the Financial Aid Office, and your Advising Dean.

Students who are approved to take a reduced course load in the range of one credit to 2.5 credits per semester are eligible to request a tuition adjustment. You and your family will need to work with your Advising Dean to complete the necessary forms to request this adjustment. Please note tuition adjustments are not guaranteed.

If you are approved for a 2.5 credit reduced course load and drop a class, NO tuition adjustments will be made. Like all students at Tufts University, you have the opportunity to request a medical leave during the semester if you feel it is necessary.

Application Process

Students seeking the accommodation of a reduced course load must have complied with the petition and approval procedure of the SAS office. You must submit medical documentation of your disabling condition that supports the accommodation to SAS in accordance with the established dates and accommodation requirements published by SAS. It is your responsibility to get your doctor’s statement on time and ensure that he or she completes the form. Once the SAS office received your reduced course load petition, we will notify your dean of your application and work with your dean to coordinate academic planning with you. It is your responsibility to work with both the SAS office and your dean to ensure the timely and expedient processing of your petition.

How to Request Reduced Course Load

You  must complete the Reduced Course Load Petition Form before  August 15 for fall semester, and before January 5 for spring semester. You must meet with your advising dean each semester to review your academic progress. Compliance with school or college policies and procedures is mandatory.

If you are approved for a reduced course load, you must understand that there are implications of that status for your student account and financial assistance.

Early Registration

Some students may be eligible for early registration. For example, if you require assistive technology or audiobooks, you may be approved for early registration to allow ample time for the SAS office to prepare materials. If you are approved for early registration, you will work with the SAS office and your advising dean to complete the registration process.

How to Request Early Registration

We will determine your eligibility for early registration through a careful review of your medical documentation and a meeting with an SAS representative. If you are interested in utilizing this accommodation, please be sure to note this when sending in your documentation or in your initial meeting with an SAS representative. If you are approved for early registration, the SAS office will notify your advising dean.

Course Substitution

How to Request Course Substitution
Foreign Language Petition

Students in the School of Arts and Sciences must fulfill a foreign language requirement  as a part of your foundation requirement courses needed for your undergraduate degree from Tufts. This requirement is generally completed through taking a series of language courses or a combination of language and culture courses. You can find more specific information about the foreign language requirement in the Tufts University Bulletin.

If a disability has made it difficult for you to learn a foreign language, you may be granted a foreign language substitution, permitting you to substitute the language courses with additional culture courses. For example, rather than the standard requirement of  three language and three culture courses, or six language courses, you may submit a petition to complete three culture courses in classics and three culture courses in African American studies.


The Subcommittee on Specific Learning Disabilities, reviews and coordinates the core course substitution requests by students with disabilities. Members of this committee determine on a case-by-case basis if a student who submitted a petition is eligible, because of demonstrated disabilities, to substitution core Tuft course requirements.

The subcommittee consists of four or more voting faculty members from AS&E, including one member of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and one member of the Department of Child Study and Human Development, Occupational Therapy, Education or Psychology. In addition, the Dean of Academic Advising and Undergraduate Studies or designee, the Director of the Counseling Center, or designee, and the Director of Student Accessibility Services all participate in the meeting, offering feedback and suggestions. These members do not vote.

Requirements for Substitution Consideration:

The student must submit a complete case history to Student Accessibility Services to petition for a substitution of the core course requirement. Case history should include:

  1. A personal statement that addresses the student's disability or disorder;
  2. Any record of a previous experience with the subject matter (courses in high school or college);
  3. A description of any academic supports used when the student took or is taking the course (accommodations, tutoring, office hours, etc.);
  4. High school and/or college transcripts documenting a student's experience in taking the core course. If the course was not taken in high school, a history of difficulties in the academic areas must be included in the student's personal statement;
  5. A statement from the professor, if the student is currently enrolled in the course. This will be gathered by SAS staff and presented to the committee;
  6. A diagnostic evaluation and/or assessment data that includes a review of the student's difficulties in quantitative areas.

Diagnostic Documentation Requirements:

  • Diagnostic reports must include the names and titles of the evaluator as well as the date(s) of testing.
  • Professionals conducting assessment and rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities must be qualified to do so. Trained and certified and/or licensed.

The SAS Director will present your statement and documentation to a confidential faculty committee to determine your substitution eligibility. Most students wait until freshman spring semester to engage in this process, which can be submitted at any time.