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Petitions and Deviations

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When your degree program deviates from that listed on the Major page, we ask that you submit a formal petition to track this change. Understand that this is a very common occurrence—life happens and plans change. Below we provide more details to guide you through this process. 

What might I need a petition for?

Petitions are used for deviations from program requirements including, but not limited to:

  • A different Math or Science course in your program sheet than prescribed by SoE.
  • A non-MATSCI, 4-unit laboratory course for your Depth requirement.
    • Or a grad-level, 3-unit MATSCI laboratory course. In this case only, it will be OK if the Depth section totals 15 units.
  • Focus Area course(s) that are not listed under the provided Focus Area.
  • A self-defined Focus Area.
  • [Honors] Taking fewer than 9 units/3 quarters of MATSCI 150.

You do not need a petition for:

  • Taking a different course from what you listed in your submitted program sheet, if the course is already approved for the Major, e.g., you end up taking 152 instead of 156 for the Elective requirement. Just make sure to change this in your final program sheet.

What you cannot petition:

  • Replacing the MATSCI Fundamentals required courses—142, 143, 144, 145.
  • Replacing the MATSCI Fundamentals elective course—150/180/190 series.
  • Replacing more than one Depth requirement—the 160s lab sequence.
  • The capstone requirement—you must choose one of the prescribed options.

What do I need to submit?

The MSE department uses the petition forms provided by SoE. Please use this link for the most up-to-date documents. Note:

  • If your petition is for a Math, Science, ENGR Fundamentals, or TiS requirement for the MatSci Major, you should submit an SoE Deviation Petition Form. These four categories, which appear on the first page of the Program Sheet, are managed by SoE.
  • If your petition is for anything else MATSCI related (MSE Fundamentals, MSE Depth, Focus Area, Honors Program), you should submit a Departmental Deviation Petition Form.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Fill out the correct petition form. Clearly, but briefly explain your rationale.
  2. Download your current unofficial transcript from Axess. Grades need to be cross-checked for most petitions, and thus petitions received without a corresponding transcript will not be considered
  3. Send both documents to your Major Advisor for their signature. 
    1. An optional, brief meeting (5 min) to discuss the petition and your goals may be helpful in some cases.
  4. Send both documents (with the signed petition) to the MSE SSO.
    1. [SoE Math specifically] Skip Step 4, go straight to SoE.
  5. [SoE petitions only; otherwise skip this] Send the documents to SoE Office of Student Affairs per their instructions.
  6. You’ll be notified by email of the result of your petition.

We recommend, when possible, to submit a petition before taking a different course sequence (e.g., self-defined Focus Area), in case the petition isn’t approved. We also recommend submitting a separate petition form for each category that you’re petitioning (e.g., one for MatSci Depth, and another for MatSci Focus Area), so that approvals can be clearly granted for each case.