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Exceptions and Substitutions for College Core Requirements

The College Core program is the core of a TCNJ education, and the requirements of the program have been carefully developed by the faculty at TCNJ to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experiences that will ensure you are successful during and after college and in your professional and personal life. For that reason, all College Core requirements are essential, and exceptions to these requirements are granted only when compelling circumstances exist and the exception upholds the integrity of the College Core Program.

PAWS, through the Academic Requirements Report, provides students with information on what College Core requirements a student has remaining and which courses satisfy any remaining requirements. Therefore, students are responsible for understanding and knowing their remaining College Core requirements. If you are unsure what your Academic Requirements Report is indicating, you are responsible for seeking clarification from your academic advisor, your academic evaluator, or the College Core office.

In the absence of extenuating or mitigating circumstances (see below), no course may be used to meet a College Core requirement unless it has been officially designated to meet the requirement.

Acceptable reasons for seeking an exception or substitution

  1. Extenuating circumstances (e.g., financial, health, disability, unavailability of College Core courses) that make it difficult for a student to graduate in a timely manner and meet all College Core, major, and elective requirements.
  2. Documented, incorrect advising from an academic advisor of a student.
  3. Documented error in PAWS.
  4. Documented disability.

Unacceptable reasons for seeking an exception or substitution

  1. Lack of understanding of the College Core requirements.
  2. Failure to complete requirements indicated as outstanding on PAWS.
  3. Failure to implement an academic advisor’s suggestions.
  4. Desire to complete the requirements of a minor or second major.
  5. Poor course performance that is not associated with a documented disability.
  6. Course appears to meet the learning outcome for the College Core requirement.

To request an exception or substitution, please contact the Associate Provost for Curriculum and College Core ( The Associate Provost will direct students on the proper procedure based on the reason for seeking the exception or substitution.

Exceptions to the College Core Second Language Requirement

Change of major

Juniors or seniors who switch from a major that does not require a second language to a major that does may request an exemption from the language requirement of their new program if completion of the requirement would prevent them from completing their College Core and major requirements in a timely fashion (exemptions will not be granted to allow students to complete second majors, minors, or certificates). These exemptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis through collaboration between the student’s Assistant Dean and the chair of the Department of World Languages & Cultures.

Language Disability

Students with a documented disability for learning second languages are permitted to substitute other courses for this requirement. Such a disability can be documented through: 1) evaluation by TCNJ’s Accessibility Resource Center or 2) recommendation by TCNJ language instructors based on assessment of a student’s prior performances in that instructor’s language course(s). When instructors of language courses identify a student with an apparent disability, they will communicate to the chair of the Department of World Languages & Cultures the observations and evidence that indicate the disability, and the chair will make the determination whether accommodation is warranted.

Accommodation for language disabilities will involve substitution of courses that adhere to the guidelines of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Under these guidelines, language courses meet five criteria: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. A documented language disability indicates difficulty with Communication, but students with language disabilities should be able to master the remaining four C’s. Therefore, courses to be substituted for the language requirement must fulfill these criteria. For this reason, computer language courses will not be accepted as substitutes for language courses.

Courses for substitution will be approved by the chair of the Department of World Languages & Cultures. Substituted courses cannot be used to fulfill any other requirement (College Core, major, minor, or elective), as the language requirement is a stand-alone requirement.

Additional information about the College Core language requirement can be found on the College Core website page on Second Language.

Please note: The Liberal Learning Program has been renamed The College Core, and some of its components have also been renamed. Learn More