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The course substitution petition process is designed to support students who experience a “significant difficulty” with learning and retention of content in Global Language (FL or GLBL-LANG) or Quantitative Reasoning (QI & QR or FC-QUANT) courses despite considerable effort and use of resources. Students should read all the information below before applying.

Overview of the Process and Committee

Committee Composition

The Course Substitution Committee includes faculty and staff and is chaired by the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula. The committee includes faculty from the Department of Mathematics and one of the College’s language departments, as well as staff representing the Learning Center, Accessibility Resources & Service, and the Office of Undergraduate Curricula.

Submission Deadlines and Decision Timeline

Course Substitution Requests may be submitted at any time and will be reviewed using this schedule:

  • Petitions submitted by the first day of the months of August through April will be considered at the committee meeting held that same month.
  • Petitions submitted between April 2 and July 31 will be considered at the committee’s August meeting.
  • Decisions from each meeting will generally be sent to students no later than the first week of the following month.
  • Decisions are sent to students at their UNC email address from the committee chair, the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula.

Application Steps and Required Information

Steps for Students:

  1. Request letters of support from your past or current instructor(s), tutor(s), coach(es), provider(s), or others who can speak to the difficulties experienced, effort made, resources utilized, and any outside factors that are affecting you in the classroom.
    1. Include a link to this page in your request for a letter so those writing letters can reference the guide in the “Writing Letters to the Committee” section.
    2. Letter writers should include your name and PID in the letter.
  2. Gather additional supporting information.
    1. This can take many forms and will be specific to why you are experiencing difficulties. This list is not exhaustive, but it includes the more common types of supporting documents:
      1. Psychoeducational testing reports
      2. Letters from medical or mental health providers about a medical issue impacting you in the classroom (with or without supporting documentation)
        1. Include a link to this page in your request for a letter so those writing letters can reference the guide in the “Writing Letters to the Committee” section or provide that information from that section to them as part of your request.
      3. examples of graded work that illustrates difficulties
      4. Logs or reports of resources used (such as a list of tutoring sessions attended)
      5. Prior accommodations, exemptions, IEPs or other documentation related to a history of difficulty with language or quantitative content.
  3. Complete the Course Substitution Petition form (links available at the top of this page).
    1. Make sure you are completing the correct form. If you are requesting both a language and a quantitative substitution, you will need to complete both, as they will be considered separately.
    2. Keep in mind the deadlines listed above.
    3. Answer all questions as completely as possible. The more detailed your answers and materials, the easier it will be for the committee to make a decision that supports your success at UNC.
    4. If you have questions or concerns, contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula or the Course Evaluation Coordinator.
  4. Receive your decision by email.
    1. If your request is approved:
      1. You will see an update to your Tarheel Tracker that adjusts how courses count for the requirement for which you were approved.
      2. You can reference the current approved course substitution list in the UNC Catalog. You will be able to use this course list and any courses approved for substitution in future years.
      3. There are overlap rules within the general education curricula at UNC (for both Making Connections and IDEAs in Action) and these will apply to substitution courses (reference your general education requirements in the UNC Catalog for the current year or search for the year you entered UNC in the Catalog Archives).
    2. If your request is not approved:
      1. Your decision letter may include recommendations from the committee to support your success in future course attempts.
      2. If you attempt another course and continue to encounter difficulties, especially if you are following advice from the committee’s decision letter, we encourage you to return to the committee with an updated request including information about your current course attempt and a letter of support from your current instructor.
      3. If you have questions about the decision, please contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula.

Writing Letters to the Committee

The Course Substitution Committee appreciates the support of global language and quantitative instructors, tutors, coaches, and other professionals in helping us to better understand the difficulties a student may be having with global language or quantitative learning.

General guidelines for providing a letter

  • Letters can be addressed to the Course Substitution Committee.
  • Letters should be provided on official letterhead.
  • Letters should include a signature whenever possible.
  • Letters should be sent from official business, school, or university email addresses (where applicable).
  • Any letters submitted to the committee will become part of the student’s record and will be protected under FERPA.
  • Include the student’s name and PID in your letter. (Students should provide their PID to you when requesting a letter.)

Each student’s request is considered on a case-by-case basis and a letter from an instructor or other professional is only one piece the committee uses to support its decision making.  If a student has asked you to write a letter and you have any questions about the process, the committee, or the substitution policy, please contact the Course Evaluation Coordinator or the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula.

Below is a list of information that is helpful to include if a student has asked that you write a letter to accompany a course substitution request. This list is not exhaustive, and letter writers can include any information they feel is pertinent to how the student would experience the global language or quantitative classroom.

For Foreign Language or Quantitative Instructors

  • General attendance record
  • Grades on assignments, quizzes, tests, and overall course grade (an estimate if the student is currently enrolled)
  • The extent to which the student has sought assistance outside of class (your office hours, appointments, tutoring, etc.) and any additional resources used that you are aware of
  • Your observations regarding student’s effort, attitude, specific challenges, and ability to succeed in future courses based on current performance
  • Any accommodations available to the student (official or unofficial) during your course(s)

For Medical or Counseling Professionals

  • Information that would speak to underlying issues the student is experiencing that negatively affect their ability to succeed in a language or quantitative course specifically, or how difficulties would be magnified in such a course
  • Your professional opinion regarding the student’s ability to succeed in a language or quantitative course (given appropriate accommodations if applicable)
  • Any history of difficulty with or exemption from language or quantitative requirements that you are aware of

For All Letter Writers

  • Any of the above that is applicable and within your ability to disclose
  • Your relationship to the student, particularly in relation to their experience in language and quantitative courses
  • Your observations of difficulties, perseverance, exceptional time spent to succeed, resource utilization, or other relevant student behaviors

Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to complete the form in full, which includes information about yourself, your previous course attempts, and letters you have requested. Please carefully review the information in the “Application Steps and Required Information” section of this page. If you have questions about what to include after reading that, please reach out to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula or the Course Evaluation Coordinator.
Students submitting requests between August 1 and April 1 will receive a response in 30-45 days (about 1 and a half months) in most cases. Students submitting between April 2 and July 31 will receive a response in August or early September. See the “Submission Deadlines and Decision Timeline” section above for specific deadlines and expected decision dates.
No. Students may count courses taken prior to being approved for substitution or after being approved. However, only approved students may use substitution courses to complete the requirement. Students may use courses on the approved Course Substitution list the year they are approved, and any courses approved for Course Substitution in later years. These lists can be found in the University Catalog (and prior lists can be found in the Catalog Archives). As an example, a student approved for substitution in Fall 2023 or Spring 2024 may use the list of substitution courses in the 2023-2024 edition of the University Catalog as well as any courses added in future University Catalog years.
Students will need to take the same number of courses to complete their requirement as they would have without a substitution.

  • For quantitative substitution approved students this means taking one course to fulfill each applicable requirement: one (1) course for QR and one (1) for QI for Making Connections students, or one (1) course for FC-QUANT for IDEAs in Action students.
  • For students approved for a Global Language substitution (to fulfill the Making Connections FL or IDEAs in Action GLBL-LANG requirements) this will depend on prior course and placement credit but is the same for both curricula:
    • a student with no credit will need to complete three (3) substitution courses
    • a student with credit for level 1 or placement into level 2 will need to complete two (2) substitution courses.
    • a student with credit for level 2 or placement into level 3 will need to complete one (1) substitution course.
Yes. Substitution-approved students may use any combination of approved substitution courses and courses approved to meet the requirement. For language substitution this includes counting multiple attempted languages (e.g. LATN 101 and SPAN 101 would together fulfill two (2) required courses).
Substitution courses can overlap with major and minor requirements. Substitution courses will follow the same overlap rules as the general education requirement they fulfill. We have summarized these below, but you can find the official policies in the current or archived Catalog.

IDEAs in Action:

  • FC-QUANT courses may overlap with FY-Seminar/FY-Launch, Research and Discovery, High-Impact Experience, or Communication Beyond Carolina, but may not overlap with another Focus Capacity or with Supplemental General Education. If the substitution course carries the FC-LAB requirement and another Focus Capacity, the FC-LAB credit can be retained.
  • GLBL-LANG courses cannot overlap with any other general education requirement.

Making Connections:

  • QR courses are Foundations and cannot overlap with any other general education requirement.
  • QI courses may overlap with another Connections requirement or an Approaches requirement (some exceptions exist that allow for one Approach and two Connections or three Connections on a single course).
  • FL courses are Foundations and cannot overlap with any other general education requirement.
If you have any questions about your decision, please reach out to the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curricula. We recommend reaching out by email either with your questions or to set up an appointment to discuss them with the dean.