Course Substitutions & Exceptions

Substitutions and Exceptions

1. Single ENVS majors may substitute up to two upper-division courses when planning the seven required ENVS electives. These two substitutions may be:

  • Pre-approved substitution courses; NO petition necessary.  Click here.
  • Upper-division courses from another UCSC department which are not on the pre-approved list
  • Comparable upper-division environmental studies courses from other institutions or programs, including the Education Abroad Program (EAP),Wildlands Studies, or Sierra Institute (normally only 1 course credit is given for these programs)

2. Combined ENVS majors are not allowed any substitutions.

3. For a course that is not pre-approved as a substitution, to be considered as one of the of the seven required electives, it must meet the following criteria:

  • The course is equivalent to an upper division course in a similar topic at UCSC (consider both lecture/instruction time, exams, papers and other workload, in most upper-division ENVS courses; exams and/or a substantial research paper/project, in addition to attendance, participation and class assignments/problem sets/journals).
  • Be thematically within the field of Environmental Studies.
  • UCSC Registrar accepts the credit and has transferred the units as upper division coursework. Acceptance of content of the course can be given to student in advance, but application to the major requirements will wait on successful completion as well as transfer of credit to the UCSC system.

If the course(s) meet the above elements, students must provide a syllabus and major coursework done for the class, such as papers and exams when submitting the petition. The substitution requests must be petitioned in writing and are subject to approval by the Department (petition forms are available outside the Department office). The approval of such requests will be considered within the scope of the student's entire study plan.  


Pre-Approved Substitutions- pre-approved do not require a written substitution petition.

Note: Many of these courses have restricted enrollment and/or prerequisites. You MUST contact each department to determine your eligibility.