Undergraduate Departmental Petition Instructions

The Division of Biological Sciences strictly enforces the requirements set forth for all biology majors. Therefore, students who wish to utilize a course that is not prescribed for their biology major must request an exception by submitting an Undergraduate Student Petition. The petition must be accompanied by supporting documentation and will be reviewed by a biology faculty member to determine if major credit can be granted.

Generally, petitions are submitted and reviewed for potential major credit after you complete the course and it is posted to your academic history*. If you have an extenuating circumstance that legitimizes the need for you to have the course evaluated prior to completion, contact the Division of Biological Sciences to discuss the possibility of having the course conditionally reviewed.

Petitions are not guaranteed to be approved and take approximately 3-4 weeks to be processed (petitions for courses taken at UC San Diego take 4-8 weeks for processing). Notification of the decision is sent through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC). All petitions can be submitted to the front desk of the Biology Undergraduate Student and Instructional Services Office (USIS) located in Pacific Hall 1128.

Please see instructions below regarding petitioning course work. If you plan to take major course work outside of UCSD, you should consult with a biology advisor so applicable procedures can be verified.  You should verify that your plans will not impact your ability to meet prerequisites, complete the upper-division unit requirement, or satisfy the Biology Residency Requirement.

*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.

Lower-Division Course Work Taken Outside of UC San Diego

  • If you will be completing biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics coursework at a California Community College, please refer to the Lower-Division Courses section of the Transfer Credit Guidelines page for additional information.
  • If your biology course work is NOT from a California Community College, check with Biology through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to see if the course has been previously petitioned. Please supply the following information when contacting us via the VAC: course subject, course number, course title, the quarter/semester you completed the course, name of the institution where you took the course, and what biology credit you are seeking (e.g. BILD 1).  If you are not a current UCSD student, please contact Biology via email at biousis@ucsd.edu.
    • If the course has been approved for the credit you are seeking, you will not need to petition.
    • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with all related course materials - syllabus, title of textbook, lecture notes, exams, etc. See the Sample Petitions section below for instructions on how to complete your petition.
    • All lower division courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied to the major if approved:
      • UC transferable
      • passed with a C- or better
If you plan to take chemistry, mathematics, or physics course work that is NOT from a California Community College, please refer to the Transfer Credit Guidelines page for additional information.

Upper-Division Course Work Taken at UC San Diego

  • Check with Biology through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to see if the course has been previously petitioned. Please supply the following information when contacting us via the VAC: course subject, course number, course title, the quarter/semester you completed the course, and what biology credit you are seeking (you can list a general requirement like Biology Elective or a specific requirement like Capstone).
  • If the course has been approved for the credit you are seeking, you will not need to petition. 
  • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with the course description and syllabus. See the Sample Petitions section below for instructions on how to complete your petition.
  • All courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied to the major if approved:

Upper-Division Course Work Taken Outside of UC San Diego

  • Check with Biology through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to see if the course has been previously petitioned. Please supply the following information when contacting us via the VAC: course subject, course number, course title, the quarter/semester you completed the course, name of the institution where you took the course, and what biology credit you are seeking (you can list a general requirement like Biology Elective or a specific course like BIMM 114).
  • If the course has been approved for the credit you are seeking, you will not need to petition.
  • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with all related course materials - syllabus, lecture notes, and exams, etc. See the Sample Petitions section below for instructions on how to complete your petition.
  • All courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied to the major if approved:

Upper-Division Biology Laboratory Credit Outside of UC San Diego (includes course work taken abroad and at other universities)

  • Check with Biology through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to see if the course has been previously petitioned. Please supply the following information when contacting us via the Virtual Advising Center: course subject, course number, course title, the quarter/semester you completed the course, name of the institution where you took the course, and what biology credit you are seeking (e.g. BIMM 121).
  • If the course has been approved for the credit you are seeking, you will not need to petition.
  • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with all related course work - syllabus, lab manual, lab report, research paper, etc. See the Sample Petitions section for instructions on how to complete your petition.
  • All courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied to the major if approved:
    • UC transferable
    • upper division
    • four quarter units
    • passed with a C- or better
    • requires written work (i.e. research paper, lab report, etc.)
    • requires approximately 80 hours of time spent in the lab
    • student must be able to meet Biology Residency Requirement

Education Abroad Program (EAP)/Global Seminar Program (GSP) Course Work

  • Check Previously Petitioned Courses to see if a course equivalency already exists for your course. 
  • If the course listed on the link above is approved for the credit you are seeking, and you will complete the course by the expiration date, you will not need to petition. 
    • Once the course is complete and posted to your academic history, contact Biology via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) and we will apply the credit to your major (pending it transfers correctly – see minimum criteria below).
  • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with all related course materials - syllabus, reading list, exams, etc.  See the Sample Petitions section for instructions on how to complete your petition.
  • All courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied to the major if approved:

Opportunities Abroad Program (OAP) Course Work

  • Check with Biology through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) to see if the course has been previously petitioned. Please supply the following information when contacting us via the Virtual Advising Center: course subject, course number, course title, the quarter/semester you completed the course, name of the institution where you took the course, and what biology credit you are seeking (e.g. up bio elective, BIMM 114).
  • If the course has been approved for the credit you are seeking, you will not need to petition.
  • If the course has not been previously petitioned for the credit you are seeking, you will need to petition.
  • If a petition is necessary, submit a petition along with all related course materials - syllabus, reading list, exams, etc.  See the Sample Petitions section for instructions on how to complete your petition.
  • All courses must meet the minimum criteria below to be considered by petition and applied

Sample Petitions

If the course(s) meets all of the guidelines listed above, you may submit your petition(s). You will need to complete one petition for each course you want reviewed (do not write multiple courses on a single petition). Submit your petition(s) and requested course materials (e.g. syllabus, course description, lecture notes, exams, fieldwork, papers, etc.) to the Biological Sciences Student and Instructional Services Office located in Pacific Hall 1128 (if you are petitioning OAP courses, you will also need to submit an unofficial transcript that includes your course grade).

For Courses Taken Outside UC San Diego

For Courses Taken at UC San Diego

Under "Request", list the course information as it appears on your UC San Diego academic history (e.g. course subject, course number, course title, term/quarter, institution, country, EAP/OAP/another UC, units, and grade). Under "If UCSD Course", list the course information as it appears on your UC San Diego academic history (i.e. course subject, course number, grade received, units, and term/quarter completed).
Under "Reason", list what biology credit you are seeking (you can list a general requirement like Biology Elective or a specific course like BIMM 114). Under "Reason", list what biology credit you are seeking (you can list a general requirement like Biology Elective or a specific course like BIMM 114).
Submit the completed petition and course materials to Pacific Hall 1128. Submit the completed petition and course materials to Pacific Hall 1128.
We will notify you of the outcome via the VAC in approximately 3-4 weeks. We will notify you of the outcome via the VAC in approximately 4-8 weeks

Sample

Sample

Student Responsibility

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

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