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 for the class, a copy of their unofficial UCSC transcript, and, if applicable, their transcript from any other institution involved in the course substitution, when submitting the petition. The substitution requests are subject to approval by the Department. The approval of such requests will be considered within the scope of the student's entire study plan.  If you would like to request a course substitution or exception, please fill out this petition.

4.  ENVS and other declared majors may enroll in a limited number of ENVS upper division classes without having YET taken ENVS 100 and/or 100L, which is a prerequisite for all upper division ENVS classes. 

  • ENVS Single majors may take a total of two upper division classes (either ENVS upper division classes OR  pre-approved substitutions) before ENVS 100/L. No petition is required for pre-approved substitution classes. To successfully petition to take ENVS upper division courses before ENVS 100/L, students must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in their last ENVS 100/L pre-req course(s).
  • ENVS Combined majors may take a total of one ENVS upper division class before ENVS 100/L.To successfully petition to take an ENVS upper division course before ENVS 100/L, students must have completed or be concurrently enrolled in their last ENVS 100/L pre-req course(s).
  • Other declared majors may take a total of three ENVS upper division classes without having taken ENVS 100/L.
  • To petition to take an ENVS upper division class without the ENVS 100/L pre-requisite, please fill out this petition. If successful, ENVS Single and Combined majors will receive a permission code to enroll and other declared majors will receive a permission code to enroll during second pass enrollment.

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

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