Course Substitutions and Course Waivers

Students may request a course substitution or course waiver to substitute or waive major-specific requirements from Associate Degrees and Certificates of Achievement.

Certificates of Proficiency are not eligible for transfer courses to be substituted, but courses can be waived or substituted using other Palomar courses.

General Education courses are not eligible for substitutions/waivers. Students should work with their counselor to identify how courses from other colleges will transfer to Palomar and meet General Education requirements.

You can access the Course Substitution/Waiver Form here. Students can initiate the process by contacting the academic department directly. The Evaluations Office can initiate the process as part of an official degree/certificate evaluation.

Required signature(s):

  • Department Chair
  • Discipline Expert (only if required by Department Chair)
  • Articulation Officer (only for Associate Degrees for Transfer)


Course substitutions and waivers do not apply to departmental prerequisites and corequisites. If a student has not met a requisite with equivalent coursework but still wants to seek permission to enroll in a course, the student should submit a requisite exception petition.

Example, if a department decides to waive GEOG 120 from their major requirements for a student, but the student wanted to register for a course that has GEOG 120 as a prerequisite, the student would need to submit a requisite exception petition to be allowed to register.

Course Substitution

A substitution should be used to replace a course required in a Palomar major with another course. The department chair will determine what course(s) are appropriate for substitution. Substitutions can be made using Palomar courses or transfer courses.

Course Equivalency

An equivalency is used for transfer credit only. If a department chair deems a course from another college equivalent to one of Palomar’s courses, the Evaluations Office will program the course into the internal database as an equivalent course so future students can use the equivalency. If the transfer course is not equivalent, a substitution should be used instead. A Palomar course cannot be equivalent to another Palomar course, so a substitution should be used in this scenario.

***Students should work with their counselor to determine if a course equivalency already exists, as a signed form is not required in this case.***

Course Waiver

A waiver is used to remove a required major course from a student’s degree or certificate plan. Courses cannot be waived from Associate Degrees for Transfer.

***For course waivers, per Title 5, no Associate Degree can be awarded with less than 18 units in the major. Certificates of Achievement have variable unit minimums, and courses cannot be waived if doing so would drop the unit total of the certificate under the required minimum. Substitutions or Credit for Prior Learning are encouraged when a course waiver is not an option.***

Courses Eligible for Substitution/Equivalency

Only undergraduate courses from regionally accredited schools are eligible to be substituted or equated. Department chairs may also use undergraduate courses from international colleges at their discretion. Official transcripts should be on file in the Records Office.

Courses from colleges that are not regionally accredited, work experience, graduate-level work, and industry certifications are not eligible for substitution. Waivers or Credit for Prior Learning should be considered instead.

If a course is already a program requirement, it cannot be substituted to meet a different requirement. For example, the Computer Science degree requires that students take all 5 program requirements plus 2 electives. None of the program requirement courses (for example CSCI 222) can be substituted into the elective category because it cannot count in both areas.


Substitutions and Equivalencies

The form below is an example of a substitution for an Accounting degree.

MATH 140 is being substituted to replace MATH 130. MATH 130 is the required course in the major, but MATH 140 may be an acceptable substitution (with departmental approval.)

ACCT 145 from MiraCosta has been determined to be equivalent to Palomar’s ACCT 105. This course can now be programmed into Palomar’s internal database so that counselors and evaluators have access to see and use this equivalency without the need for a form signed by the department.


The form below is an example of a waiver for a Child Development degree. If the waiver should be limited to a specific degree, such as Child Development Teacher, the major should be listed as Child Development Teacher. If the waiver should apply to any Child Development degree that has CHDV 201 as a major requirement, the major should be listed as Child Development and the waiver will apply to any degree under the Child Development umbrella.