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Undergraduate Petitions

The School of Biological Sciences strictly enforces major and university requirements set forth for all biology majors. Therefore, students who wish to deviate from these requirements (e.g. utilizing a course that is not prescribed for their biology major), must request an exception by submitting an Undergraduate Student Petition, along with supplemental documentation.  Please see below for additional instructions.

Undergraduate Petitions - School of Biological Sciences Exceptions

Departmental exceptions are considered when a student would like to request deviation from prescribed major requirements. Students planning to take major course work outside of UCSD should consult a biology advisor to ensure doing so will not impact ability to meet prerequisites, complete the  upper-division unit requirement, satisfy the Biology Residency Requirement, or receive degree conferral in a timely manner.

Students should review Assist to determine lower division transfer credit for California Community College coursework.

Students can review Coursework Taken Outside of the School of Biological Sciences to see a list of other previously reviewed courses for possible biology/major credit. All coursework that has expired, or that is not listed, must be petitioned to determine biology/major credit.

  • Complete the Undergraduate Student Petition, selecting “Departmental Exception”.
    • On the petition form, list the course code, course title, the institution at which the course was or will be taken, and the biology credit you wish to receive.
  • Obtain a detailed syllabus that contains the course description, textbooks used, and weekly topics. All course materials a student would like reviewed must be submitted at time of initial petition request.

If you plan to petition multiple courses, you must submit a separate petition for each course.

Petitions, syllabi, and other course materials should be submitted to

Petitions are not guaranteed to be approved and take approximately 4-5 weeks to be processed.

Notification of the decision is sent through the  Virtual Advising Center (VAC) . Outcomes are final and appeals to decisions will not be accepted.

Upon completion of coursework taken outside of UCSD, all official transcripts must be sent to the UC San Diego Admissions office for evaluation and posting to your academic history. Note: It takes approximately 10-12 weeks from the time you send transcripts for them to be received, evaluated and posted to your academic history.

Students who wish to petition course work towards their major must initiate the process. Biology Advising staff will NOT automatically review course work or update student records.

Undergraduate Petitions - University Exceptions

The School of Biological Sciences strictly enforces the policies set forth by the University. These include, but are not limited to, add and drop deadlines, the deadline to change the grading option, etc.

Therefore, students who wish to request an exception to university policy must engage in the university petition process:

  • Complete the Undergraduate Student Petition, selecting “University Exception”.
    • On the petition form, list the exception being requested.
    • Obtain instructor approval via signature on the petition form itself
  • Draft a detailed personal statement outlining the extenuating circumstance outside of the student’s control that prevented them from meeting the necessary deadline. This should be submitted as a separate word doc or pdf file from the petition form itself.
  • Obtain supporting documentation (e.g. doctor’s notes, etc.) that substantiates the extenuating circumstance.

Requests for exceptions to University Policies must be initiated by the student within one quarter from when the course in question was taken or appears on the academic record.

This kind of petition request requires approval from the instructor, the School of Biological Sciences, the student’s college, and Academic Senate (EPC). If denied by any reviewer, denial is the final decision and the petition will not move forward.

Biology’s Student and Instructional Services unit is responsible for processing these petitions on behalf of the School of Biological Sciences (e.g. department chair). All materials listed above can be submitted to Submissions that are missing any of the above documentation will not be considered and will be voided. Only complete petition packets will be processed.

University petitions are not guaranteed to be approved and take the School of Biological Sciences approximately 4-5 weeks to process. This does not include the college or Senate review timeframe.

Notification of the School of Biological Sciences’ decision is sent through the  Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

Questions? Contact Student & Instructional Services (Pacific Hall 1128) through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) or by phone at (858)534-0557.