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Cornell University

Adaptation of PE Requirement

Physical Education offers a wide array of courses where the level of physical activity is less strenuous and/or low impact. For students seeking a modification of the Physical Education or Swim Requirement, they must make their request through Student Disability Services before any substitution, adaptation, or postponement will be considered. When meeting with SDS, please review their documentation guidelines to understand what documentation they require. The Physical Education Office will adapt a physical education program and/or the swim requirement to the individual needs of a student with a disability whenever possible. 

Permission for modification of the Physical Education requirement due to any non-disability related issue must be granted by the University Faculty Committee on Physical Education or the Director of Physical Education. Final authority for interpreting and ruling on requests for substitution, adaptation or postponement rests with the committee.

Procedure for Requesting PE Adaptations or Considerations:

Cornell offers over 250 PE courses ranging from low to high physical exertion levels that appeal to a wide variety of interests, skill levels, and physical abilities. Many students are able to identify and enroll in courses that will be conducive to their individual interests and needs.

  • If you are concerned about finding a PE course due to disability-related access barriers, please complete the online Disability Self-Disclosure and Request for Access Accommodations Form.
  • If necessary and appropriate, SDS and PE instructors will work to adapt course activities and/or implement needed modifications so you can fully participate in the course. These might include the following: rest breaks during class, modifying certain aspects of the course activities, or providing adapted course equipment. 
  • Please note that if you have concerns about both the PE course and swim requirement, you only need to submit the online Disability Self-Disclosure Form once, describing your concerns and needs related to both PE and the swim requirement on that one form.