Student Petitions

Students occasionally have reason to ask for an exception to the University's requirements for Essential Studies (or the General Education requirements if you began at UND before fall 2008 or transferred in before fall 2009). If you believe that you have a valid reason for such an exception, you may submit a petition to make your request.

Student petitions are acted on by the ES Committee. They approve or disapprove, based on the quality of your petition. In your petition, you may request:

  • Substitution of a course or courses from a different college or university.
  • Substitution of a different UND course, which is not on the list of approved ES courses.
  • Waiver of the requirement.

How to File an ES Petition

  1. Submit your petitions on the official Essential Studies Committee Student Petition Form.

  2. In your petition, clearly and specifically identify the particular Essential Studies Requirement involved, and give your reasons why you believe an exception is warranted. Please give careful thought to your reasons — relate them to UND's philosophy of Essential Studies — and provide a full explanation for the exception that you are requesting.

  3. A complete current academic transcript must be attached.

  4. Submit your petition, with attachments, on the electronic form. Attach information that will help the Committee understand your request (e.g., if you are petitioning to include a course from another college as a ES course, attach a detailed course outline or full syllabus for the course you propose to substitute). If you have any questions please contact

How the ES Committee Reviews a Petition

When it reviews your petition, the Committee will use the following procedures:

  1. The Essential Studies Committee will consider student petitions at several of its meetings each semester. Generally, the Committee will consider all petitions that are filed within 5 class days before the next meeting.

  2. Following consideration of the petition by the Essential Studies Committee, a representative from the Essential Studies Office will promptly notify you about the Committee's decision.

  3. If you want further information about how the ES Committee arrived at its decision about your decision, you may contact the Essential Studies Office.

  4. The Essential Studies Committee's denial of a petition should be considered final. However, you may resubmit your request one time under these circumstances: if you believe that the committee might have misunderstood the petition or if you can strengthen the petition with additional information or a fuller explanation. If you resubmit your petition, you must do so during the same semester in which the denial occurred (If the denial is at the end of the semester, you have a maximum of 60 days to resubmit.). The Essential Studies Committee will not consider more than one resubmission.

Most Common Reasons Why a Petition is Denied

ES Committee doesn't have enough information about a substitute course to make a judgment.

Solution: Be sure to attach a course syllabus or similar information that describes the goals, activities, assignments, and evaluation system of the substitute course.

The student's reasons for the exception are not related to the purposes of general education at UND.

Solution: Refer directly and specifically to the goals, learning outcomes, and the philosophy of Essential Studies in your petition. Explain how your alternative (e.g., substitution) helped you learn the ES goal and/or special emphasis that is part of the requirement that is in your petition.

The main reason for the request appears to be that the student wants to graduate soon.

Solution: Add reasons why the request fits within UND's philosophy of general education. Also, give specific evidence of any scheduling or advising obstacles that may have prevented you from taking the course(s) that would have fulfilled the requirement in the petition (Do not simply state that "I couldn't fit this course in my schedule due to conflicts...").

The main justification for the request is that your advisor made an error.

Solution: According to UND’s Advising Policy, students have a responsibility for knowing the requirements for graduation. Provide evidence that you have been keeping track of your progress well in advance of your anticipated graduation date (e.g., show that your transcript checks and/or electronic audit inquiries were done regularly and in advance).