A waiver can occur when the General Education Committee agrees that a particular degree program as a whole does for its students what the Direction is supposed to do. In other words, the degree program provides students with the perspective or way of looking at the world that the Direction provides. In such cases, students are not required to take classes in the waived Direction and the total number of Directions credits required drops from 20 to 16.

Departments and Councils may petition the General Education Committee to waive one Direction component for students in a particular degree program. Departments or Councils seeking this waiver must complete the appropriate Petition to Waive Form and provide the required documentation to show that the requirements in the major/option program meet the learning goals and skills of the Direction.

The waiver petition process includes the following:

  • Completion of the waiver petition form, which includes an explanation of how the program/department learning outcomes relate to the knowledge and skills addressed in the Direction.
  • Describe on the waiver petition form how each of four courses selected for the petition addresses the knowledge and skills encompassed in the Direction.
  • Provide annotated syllabi that support the claims made in the waiver petition.

Note that the General Education Committee has in general granted waivers only in situations where both of the following conditions are true: the goals and skills of the Direction are found to be covered throughout the particular major; and, including the two courses for the Direction would push the major over 120 credits or result in no electives
within the program.

Waivers for Catalogs prior to 2018-19

Students in a degree program with a waiver do not need to take any credits in the waived Direction.

Waivers in the 2018-19 Catalog and After

Students in a degree program with a waiver are required to take at least 16 (rather than 20) Directions credits. These credits must include at least one course in each of the non-waived Directions and cannot include any in the waived Direction.

Renewing the Waiver of a Direction

Waivers are granted for a period of only four academic years. Departments and Councils may petition to renew and extend the waiver. The deadline for renewing a waiver is the first Monday in October of the academic year of the major’s waiver sunset. The second and each subsequent waiver petition must include all of the paperwork and supporting evidence described above.

If one or more of the courses used in the original waiver petition have changed, the department must identify what course(s) are now being used to expose students to the academic experiences provided by the previous course and explain why those courses are being used. Annotated syllabi must be included for all courses named in the petition.

Interdisciplinary Studies and Waivers

An Interdisciplinary Studies student may request the waiver of a Direction, under these conditions:

  • All advisors must agree that the waiver is warranted.
  • The Interdisciplinary Studies Council must agree that the waiver is warranted.
  • The student submits a Student Request to the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies to be granted a waiver.


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