3.4.1 American Cultures Variance Requests

(last revised 08/20/10)

All undergraduate students admitted at lower-division status as of fall 1991 (or fall 1993 for upper division) must fulfill the American Cultures Breadth Requirement in order to graduate.

Requests to waive the American Cultures (AC) Breadth Requirement must be submitted to COCI for review and approval. Requests for a waiver of the AC Requirement will be approved only under extremely unusual circumstances, such as family or medical emergencies.

Waiver Request Procedure:

1. Students should contact the appropriate adviser or dean and seek assistance in requesting a waiver. The adviser or dean can then submit a request to COCI including a cover letter and a copy of the student’s unofficial transcript. Requests should be submitted to COCI as early as possible, and students should always be prepared, in the event that COCI denies the request, to fulfill the AC requirement by passing an approved AC course.

2. Requests should clearly outline (1) why the student has failed to fulfill the AC requirement, (2) why the student feels he or she cannot reasonably fulfill the requirement in order to graduate, and (3) any applicable documentation that support the facts of the request (e.g., e-mails).

3. The adviser or dean will be notified in writing of the Committee’s decision.

  1. If COCI approves the waiver, the Office of the Registrar will be instructed to update the student’s transcript.
  2. If COCI denies the request, the Committee will cite its reasons in the notification letter, and the student must pass an approved AC course.

4. COCI’s decisions are final.

Substitution Request Procedure:

Requests to substitute an unapproved course to meet the American Cultures Breadth Requirement must be submitted first to the Subcommittee on the Breadth Requirement in American Cultures (AMCULT).

In order for any course to be substituted, the student must have passed the course with a C- or better, the course must have been worth at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units, and the course itself must be reviewed and approved by AMCULT.

AMCULT reviews course materials to ascertain whether or not the petitioned course has met the AC criteria outlined in Berkeley Division Regulation 300. Guidelines detailing what AMCULT requires for AC approval of a course can be found on the Academic Senate website as well as the website of the American Cultures Center (http://americancultures.berkeley.edu(link is external)).

1. Requests to substitute a course to fulfill the AC requirement have three parts:

  1. A completed substitution request form (available on the Academic Senate and AC Center websites);
  2. A copy of the full course syllabus for the term in which the student took the course; and
  3. A letter from the student clearly explaining how the course fulfills the AC requirement with respect to Regulation 300 and AMCULT’s guidelines.

2. Completed substitution forms, along with the required supporting materials, should be submitted to AMCULT directly (320 Stephens Hall # 5842).

3. AMCULT reviews all course substitution petitions before COCI.

  1. If AMCULT approves the course, the request will be automatically forwarded to COCI for final review.
  2. If AMCULT denies approval to the course, the student will be notified of the Subcommittee’s decision in writing and he or she must fulfill the AC requirement by passing an approved AC course.

4. COCI will review substitution requests forwarded by AMCULT, and the student will be notified of the Committee’s decision in writing.

  1. If COCI approves the substitution, the Office of the Registrar will be instructed to update the student’s transcript to reflect the AC requirement as fulfilled.
  2. If COCI denies the substitution, the Committee will cite its reasons in the notification letter, and the student must pass an approved AC course.

Recognizing the likelihood of more than one student petitioning to substitute the same course to fulfill the AC requirement, COCI has adopted the following as a general practice. If a course has been successfully petitioned as a substitution for the AC requirement, any student who petitions for the substitution of that course in the future shall receive automatic approval for the substitution. The course must be the exact same course, taught by the same instructor, during the same academic term (i.e., the petitioning students must have been in the same classroom at the same time learning from the same instructor). Such petitions do not require review by the American Cultures Subcommittee.

Before submitting an American Cultures variance request to COCI or AMCULT, it is strongly advised that students consult with their academic advisers.