Course Substitutions

Students are expected to complete all requirements for graduation in order to earn a Bachelor’s degree from the College of General Studies. Occasionally, a course substitution may be appropriate. Such instances may include cases where you 1)  are prevented from taking the course due to extenuating circumstances (note: failure to enroll in a required course is not an extenuating circumstance), or 2) have identified a new course whose goals and content align with the goals and academic focus of your CGS major, minor, or certificate (e.g., study abroad courses).

Note the following Course Substitution limits. 

CGS Majors and CGS Certificates

Students may appeal for a maximum of two course substitutions for a major or a certificate, and only one course substitution can be applied to the core requirements of a major or certificate.

An exception is possible for students who study abroad.  Students may apply course substitutions for no more than three courses from an approved study abroad program, and only one of these can be applied to the core requirements of a major or certificate. 

CGS Minors

For students completing minors, course substitutions for the core requirements are not permissible.  Students completing minors can seek one course substitution for elective credit toward the minor, or two courses maximum if these courses are coming from an approved study abroad program. 

Transfer Credits & Course Substitutions

Students who have transferred in half of their credits for a major, certificate or minor cannot seek course substitutions.

Requesting Course Substitutions

Please review the information in the following sections to familiarize yourself with our guidelines and expectations for requesting course substitutions and to access the CGS Course Substitution Online Form. For information about the internship waiver process, visit the CGS Internship Policy webpage.

Guidelines and Expectations

The CGS Course Petition Committee and CGS Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs must review and approve any substitution of course requirements for your CGS program (major, minor, or certificate). Incomplete or inaccurately-completed petition requests may result in processing delays or even denial of the appeal. Therefore, it is essential that students meet with their CGS advisor to review their course selections, discuss the viability of their request, and consult on how to prepare a well-formulated petition. Please contact your advisor as soon as you know that you wish to explore the possibility of a course substitution.

Note: Students not officially in a CGS program (major, minor, or certificate) must declare their CGS academic plan first and then meet with an advisor to discuss their course options and needs. If you are a non-CGS student pursuing a CGS minor or a certificate and do not have an assigned CGS advisor, please come in to CGS during walk-in hours to meet with an on-duty advisor. See the advising page for the current walk-in schedule.

Preparing a well-formulated and completed petition request helps ensure faster processing times and reducing the chance of rejection. It is the committee’s expectation that a well-prepared and formulated request include the following components:

  1. A completed CGS Course Substitution form. The form is available online below. 
  2. A justification that sets forth the reasons for why the substitution request is being made and discusses the appropriateness of the proposed course substitution:
    • Note: Depending on the nature and complexity of the request, your advisor or the committee may request additional background information. Such information may include, but is not limited to, your standing in the academic program or previous course substitution appeals for the academic program in question, etc.;
  3. Required additional evidence (e.g., syllabi/catalog descriptions for course substitutions, etc.).
    • Note: it is your responsibility to collect and provide all required documentation for your request.

Submitting the CGS Course Substitution Online Form

If you advisor agrees that requesting a course petition is reasonable, you will submit your appeal via the following CGS Course Substitution Online Form link:

CGS Course Substitution Online Form

Notes: This form is to be used only if you are requesting a course substitution for your CGS major, minor, or certificate. For more information about general education course reviews and approvals, see your CGS advisor.

You may submit up to three course substitution requests using the form. Make sure that you discuss each course substitution request with your advisor prior to submitting your appeal.

You have submitted your course appeal. What’s next?

After you complete and submit the form along with the appropriate attachments, it will be sent to your CGS advisor, who will review it for completeness and clarity. The petition will then be reviewed by the CGS Course Petition Committee and CGS Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs who will either approve or deny the petition.

Notes:

  • The submission of your petition request does not guarantee approval.
  • The review of course substitutions may take a minimum of 10 business days. It is important that you submit your petition far enough in advance to allow for unplanned delays.
  • For the status of your appeal, please contact your CGS advisor or the CGS Director of Academic programs at boryana.dobreva@pitt.edu.