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Petitions

A college petition is a curricular exception. Petitions should be the exception and not the rule. It is expected that students will follow and be advised based upon the set curriculum as specified within the catalog year they are working to graduate under. Petitions must have 3 levels of approval per the undergraduate catalog, and may be declined at any stage: 1. Advisor 2. Department 3. College-Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office is the final step of approval and dean’s office staff enters the approved petition items into the DARS system. The purposes of a college petition are to:

1. Designate how transfer coursework, especially those courses labeled as lower division (LD) from community colleges and other 4 year universities, or upper division (UD) courses should apply to a student’s degree program.

2. Designate how internal (UTK) transfer coursework should apply to a student’s degree program.

3. Substitute courses for major courses/requirements based on circumstances beyond the student’s control.

  • Complete all information accurately on the petition including advisor’s signature.  Inaccurate or incomplete petitions may be returned to the department for correction.
  • Make sure Department has approved the petition.
  • Use the correct catalog year on the petition. This is critical since the substitution is entered into DARS by catalog year.
  • Lower Division (LD) courses generally cannot be approved Upper Division (UD) courses.  When requesting substitution of LD for UD courses,  the instructor of record for the course being substituted must have indicated equivalency in writing with that documentation attached to the petition.   The latter is in addition to the department approver signing off. 
  • Clearly state the substitution or waiver request, then add other pertinent information and rationale. 
  • Include any other courses being used to complete the requirement. Example: Allow Biology LD, 4 semester hours, grade A, taken at Roane State Community College to count toward Natural Science Part A requirement. Student will complete the package with Biology 102.
  • All quarter term courses must be petitioned in order to be entered manually into DARS.
  • Petitions do not alter the transcript.
  • Petitions for transfer courses that are not applied to degree requirements, as indicated by a DARS report, should be processed as early as possible, within the first or second semester in residence.   Do not delay petitioning of transfer course work (any coursework) until the student’s last semester. Delaying a petition could delay graduation if the petition is not approved.
  • Petitions are entered into the DARS by the Dean’s Office staff. To avoid delays for the students us the term and year taken, department designation, course number, course title and credit hours as they appear on the student’s academic history or the DARS report.
  • Transfer courses must be listed on the transcript before requesting a substitution or petition.
  • Students requesting accommodations in the curriculum based on a documented learning disability should be referred to the Director of Advising, Brent Lamons.
  • Include the full name of the course as written on the academic history when writing a petition.
  • Important: Petitions that are not completed (missing the catalog year, major, concentration, etc.) cannot be keyed into DARS.
  • Petitions to waive a requirement because a student has a disability generally are not approved. Disability Services does not endorse waiving requirements because a student has a disability. They will provide appropriate assistance so the student can complete a course or suggest an alternative subject area that utilizes similar skills. It is truly the extreme case when, after consultation with Disability Services and other offices a requirement may be waived.

  • AA and AS Degrees and General Education: Make certain the student’s undergraduate academic history was thoroughly reviewed. This is especially critical when it comes to transfer students.If an incoming transfer student has been awarded an AA or AS degree by a TN TBR school, the student’s gen ed requirements have been fulfilled, save specific departmental/programmatic requirements if the student didn’t take them at the previous institution. These Gen Ed requirements are not closed out automatically. In order to close out the appropriate gen ed sections in DARS, a Herbert petition is needed. On the petition, specify the Gen Ed sections that need to be closed out, and the rationale should state something like, “Student earned AA or AS degree from (name of TBR school here)” and list the graduation date. The petition will be processed and entered into DARS accordingly.

  • The only requirement that is commonly waived, for transfer students, is the one credit hour introductory course in a discipline or if that introductory course is no longer taught (and no equivalent course has taken its place in the curriculum.

  • Do not attempt to sub VTE/Technical/Vocational courses to apply to degree requirements.  While such courses appear on the academic history, they cannot apply toward the undergraduate degree at UTK.

  • LD to UD subs: LD (lower division) coursework cannot count toward UD (upper division) coursework.  The undergraduate catalog makes a clear distinction between LD and UD coursework.  To review the Registrar’s position on LD to UD courses as it relates to transfer coursework, please visit this link.  Specific reference to LD to UD policy can be found on the 5th paragraph on that page.  Transfer coursework sometimes comes into UT as counting for UD credit.  When this is the case, the LD credit has been pre-articulated and reviewed by the academic department and informed the Registrar’s office of how the LD transfer credit should come in to UT and what UD credit it equates to.  Most of the time, with transfer coursework, the credits will come in as LD credits. 
  • an academic department cannot articulate or evaluate an LD course for a UD course that is taught outside of their academic department (e.g. an ESS advisor attempting to sub AGNR LD 1541 for EEB 424); in order for the latter scenario to be reviewed appropriately, the faculty member and/or student would identify the instructor of record for the course outside of the academic department, provide them with the syllabus, course description, and request they review the transfer LD course in question to gauge equivalency to the UD course they teach (that is attempting to be subbed)
    • The instructor’s determination must be documented and accompany the college petition submitted for the LD course in question; 
  • academic departments can evaluate/review/approve LD transfer credit for a UD course taught within their department; in order for the latter scenario to be reviewed appropriately, the faculty member and/or student would identify the instructor of record for the course inside of the academic department, provide them with the syllabus, course description, and request they review the transfer LD course in question to gauge equivalency to the UD course they teach (that is attempting to be subbed)
    • all of the latter would need to be documented and any such documentation must accompany the college petition submitted for the LD course in question; 
    • if the instructor of record feels LD course is equivalent to the UD course, the department head sends an email to Mary Beth Burlison (in the Registrar’s Office) to indicate the LD course in question should always transfer in as the UD course; 
    • This process serves three purposes: it eliminates the need for a petition of this course in the future, better helps the Registrar’s office in their articulation of credit, ultimately helps to streamline the articulation of transfer credits and how those credits apply towards the degree offered here at UT.
  • Please don’t request to waive upper level coursework.

  • When requesting substitution for transfer coursework, make sure you have consulted the transfer equivalency table to make your sure your request doesn’t run counter to how the university articulates the credit in question.  The Transfer Equivalency Table can be found here.

  • Do not ask to substitute a course with the reason “The requirement is being changed to this new course.” If the requirement has not received final Faculty Senate approval and is not yet in effect, you cannot say that the new requirement is such and such. Students can only graduate under catalogs that are in effect at the time of graduation, not one that will be in effect after they have graduated.

  • Do not ask to substitute a course with the reason “So the student can graduate”. Graduation is an outcome after satisfying/completing all curricular requirements for the intended major/concentration, not a rationale for a course substitution.  
  • Petition Rationale(s):  Please don’t say that the requested substitution meets the intent or spirit of the requirement unless the intent or spirit of the requirement is clearly specified within catalog showcase.  Please be specific in rationales for sub requests. 

  • Do not request a substitution with the rationale simply, “Course is an acceptable or equivalent course.” If the latter phrase is used, there should follow an explanation that thoroughly and clearly justifies the statement.

  • Tech and Directed Elective feasibility: Please be very specific as to why a given course should be considered a technical or directed elective.  In many cases, a transfer course may more appropriately satisfy unrestricted electives.

  • If there is a directed elective (e.g. economics elective, non-departmental agricultural sciences and na​tural resources elective, technical elective, etc.) and the student fails a course that would be applied towards that requirement, the student may take another course from the approved university, college or department list. However, all grades will count in the GPA calculation, unless it is a lower division course. If the student passes this different elective course, DARS will pick it up and apply it towards the requirement.

  • Petitions are not used to waive a required course that a student has failed. The Department, the College, and the University approved the curricula. All segments of the University community agreed that the required courses are necessary to receive a university education. Students should take courses in the proper sequence so they will be able to repeat a course (if necessary). In the case of a student failing a required course, the student repeats the course and passes it or takes an equivalent course and passes it (e.g., a different chemistry course if the curriculum contains it). All courses in the major must be passed in order to graduate.​

  • Ultimately, the student is responsible for meeting all curricular requirements for their intended degree.

There are certain items and consideration for substitutions or waiver that are never accepted or approved by way of college petition or at the university level.  These items are:

120 total hours required for a BS or BA degree

Waive upper level hours: Waiver of this rule is rarely, if ever, granted.  

60 hours at a four-year college60 hour Honors Residency

30-hours of final credit at UT Knoxville: Requests are considered based on extenuating circumstances and only if the student has completed at least 30 hours at UT Knoxville (i.e., if the student is graduating and has been unable to schedule a class at UT and the course is available at Pellissippi State). The rule is waived for students who have studied abroad during their last 30 hours. NOTE: If a student is earning his or her last required hours at an institution other than UT Knoxville, the credit may not arrive at UT in time for graduation. The student will then be eligible to graduate during the term following the enrollment in the transfer institution. Further information on this requirement can be found in the general requirements for a bachelor’s degree section in the catalog.

2.0 overall graduation GPA

​D-‘s never can count in the major coursework