Course Substitutions


Course Substitution form


Course substitutions are sometimes necessary to support issues related to pathway completion. This guideline is necessary to administer these processes in a consistent and transparent manner across MCC programs of study. Each certificate or degree specifies courses to meet program requirements for graduation. Candidates for graduation must satisfy General Graduation Requirements in accordance with AR 2.3.9.

Exceptions to institutional policy (such as course substitution) must have prior written approval of the program lead, department chair, and documentation of rationale to satisfy graduation requirements.


A course for which a student has already received credit may be substituted for a course within the student's program if the substituting course meets the competencies of the course in the pathway plan. The course used as a substitution must meet the content and/or spirit of the substituted course in the student’s pathway plan. The Substitution Request must meet the following criteria:

  1. The course substitution will not fundamentally alter program learning outcomes. Substituted courses should provide the skills and knowledge specified by the pathway learning outcomes. The courses being proposed as a substitution must support the Program’s learning outcomes in a manner that is similar to those of the required course:
    • The substituted course(s) meets the majority of competencies (75% or greater) of a course listed in the options for fulfilling program requirements or general electives.
    • The substituted course has the specifically listed program course as a prerequisite and is in the same discipline.
  2. The course(s) being proposed as a substitution must be relevant and consistent for the purpose of fulfilling degree/certificate requirements. Considerations for substitutions should also include the impact on satisfying transfer pathways and/or industry requirements.
  3. If the substituting course has fewer credit hours, the student will be required to make up the credit difference with appropriate coursework identified by the Department.
  4. If the pathway course satisfies an Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC-A, B, or S) requirement, the course substitution must meet that same requirement.
  5. No course substitutions are allowed in any of the Required Course areas of the Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degrees with emphasis, Associate in Business - GR, Associate of Business - SR, Associate in Arts, Elementary Education, or the Associate in Arts, Fine Arts. Substitutions for degree-specific transfer requirements may or may not be accepted by the transfer institution or meet transfer degree requirements.
  6. Disability-related course substitutions are not designed to give the student an advantage over other students, to alter the learning outcomes or objectives of the course, or to weaken academic rigor. The course(s) being proposed as a substitution must provide the student with an equitable opportunity to participate as fully as possible in their Program of Study.

The criteria for course substitutions are generally aligned with MCCCD CCTA recommended Course Substitution Best Practices.


Step 1:

Students must request a course substitution request from an Advisor, Faculty, Program Lead, or Department Chair. Students seeking Title IV Financial Aid and Veteran Benefits for a course substitution must have the substitution approved and processed prior to registering for the substitute course.

Faculty or Advisors may also initiate the process if deemed necessary for students to fulfill pathway completion requirements related to curriculum change (current catalog year versus student’s declared major catalog year).

Disability-related course substitutions should be pursued only after the student, the DRS, and the Department have determined that other accommodations or scheduling choices would not be sufficient.

Step 2:

The Advisor, Faculty, Program Lead, or Department Chair submits the Course Substitution form along with documentation and rationale to the Dean of Instruction who has oversight for the Program of Study.

Step 3:

Requests must be approved by the Dean for which the student's program is offered. When the course being substituted is from an academic area outside of the Dean’s purview, the Dean will include the substituted course’s Dean in the process for review and approval.

If the request is approved by all parties, the Dean for which the student's program is offered submits the request to the Transcript team for final review and processing. The decision of the Dean is final.

  • For disability-related course substitutions, the Dean of Instruction will review the substitution request in consultation with faculty representatives from the Program of Study, faculty who represent the substituting course, and the Chief Academic Officer.
  • If the Dean determines a disability-related course substitution is not possible, the Dean for will document in writing the rationale behind this decision with a copy to the Chief Academic Officer and the Director of the DRS. A student may request in writing (through the DRS Director) a meeting with the Dean and the Chief Academic Officer to review and clarify the rationale for not making the substitution.

End of Process