Petitioning Coursework for Program Requirements

Circumstances that Require a Petition

Examples of times you may need to petition for a course to fulfill Sociology degree requirements:

  • You are an incoming first year student and would like to request a waiver for SOC 504, SOC 505, or SOC 506.
  • You have a 400-level course that is important for your dissertation research you would like to apply to general degree requirements or to your Ph.D. Training Plan.  Please note the next section on this page that describes why 400-level coursework might be approved.
  • You have a non-Sociology course that you would like to petition to count as one of your graded Sociology electives.

All such cases use the same procedure outlined below.  This can happen either prior to taking the course, or after taking the course.  If you are incoming student first year student, please submit your waiver request during the summer prior to the school year starting. 

The main thing to understand is that approval is not automatic, and does require an approval process.  You also need to make sure that any approvals get documented officially in writing in your student file through the Graduate Program Advisor, with a written approval from the faculty who provide the approval.

If you aren't sure if your situation requires a petition, email or talk with the Graduate Program Advisor for advice as to what procedure to use for your specific situation.

400-Level Courses

In general, undergraduate coursework will not be counted towards your degree.  The department does understand though that there are times where specific 400-level courses are  going to be relevant for an individual student's plan of study towards their graduate level studies.

You may take a 400-level course for credit towards your degree if you have it approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator and your Advisor.  This can happen either prior to taking the course, or after taking the course.  The main thing to understand is that approval is not automatic, and does require an approval process.  You also need to make sure that any approvals get documented officially in writing in your student file through the Graduate Program Advisor, with a written approval from the faculty who provide the approval.

Procedures:

Non-Sociology Courses:

  • If approved, you may take a non-Sociology class with strong sociological content to count towards a degree requirement that specifies a Sociology course.  E.g., a graded Sociology elective.
  • To have a non-Sociology course reviewed, send an email to the Graduate Program Coordinator.  Be sure to also copy the Graduate Program Advisor with this email.  Include:
    • Attach a syllabus if at all possible for this course.
    • If there were key assignments, and you have already taken the course, attach your work on these key assignments.
    • In your email, specify what degree requirement you want this course applied to, most often this is the graded Sociology electives requirement.
    • Explain in your email why this course is relevant to your graduate studies.
    • Explain how the course contains sociological content, and what that content subject matter is.
  • The GPC may ask for input from your advisor before giving approval.
  • The GPC will confer with your advisor and with the Graduate Program Committee. 
  • The committee will make a decision to approve or deny the request.
  • If the GPC replies with an approval, be sure to keep the email for your personal files.  It is important to have a record of the approval.
  • Forward the email approving or denying the course to the Graduate Program Advisor for your departmental file.  The approval must be on file with the GPA/Advising Office in order to have the coursework properly counted towards your degree, and to your degree audit.

400-Level Courses

  • You may take a 400-level course for credit toward your degree if approved.
  • To have a 400-level course approved, send an email to the Graduate Program Coordinator.  Be sure to also copy the Graduate Program Advisor with this email.  Include:
    • Attach a syllabus if at all possible for this course.
    • If there were key assignments, and you have already taken the course, attach your work on these key assignments.
    • If possible, specify in your email how you would like to apply this course, for which degree requirement.  E.g., it is to apply in your Ph.D. Training Plan, or it is simply to apply towards general degree credits.  If you aren't sure, this can be worked out later if the course is approved.
    • Explain in your email why this course is relevant to your graduate studies. 
  • The GPC may ask for input from your advisor before giving approval.
  • The GPC will confer with your advisor and with the Graduate Program Committee.
  • The committee will make a decision to approve or deny the request.
  • If the GPC replies with an approval, be sure to keep the email for your personal files.  It is important to have a record of the approval.
  • Forward the email approving or denying the course to the Graduate Program Advisor for your departmental file.  The approval must be on file with the GPA/Advising Office in order to have the 400-level coursework properly counted towards your degree and your degree audit.