Core Equivalency Review Committee (CERC) 

The Core Equivalency Review Committee (CERC) considers appeals and/or petitions from students seeking waivers or substitutions of established core course requirements.

  • Prepare:
    • Completed Official CERC Request Form
    • Official letter specifying the course(s) in question
      • Body of Letter:
        1. What you are petitioning
        2. Reason for petition
        3. Your Signature
    • Any pertinent documentation to support your request.
  • Submit: 
    • Contact your Academic Advisor to meet and obtain signature 
    • Contact Assistant Dean for Signature 
      • Your Academic Advisor can assist in reaching out to your Assistant Dean and faciliating electronic signatures and submission to [email protected]

CERC Petitions take up to four to six weeks to review once the committee receives the completed petition. Correspondence is completed within a week of the review being completed. The CERC finding is the final campus decision.

All student appeals of core curriculum requirements will be reviewed by members of the Core Equivalency Review Committee/University Core Committee. This review typically takes roughly four weeks from when the committee receives the completed appeal to be completed. Below is guidance about the main factors that will be considered.

Along with the cover sheet, please provide a letter addressing the basis for your appeal. The letter should be addressed to the members of CERC (Core Equivalency Review Committee). Before submitting your proposal to the Registrar's Office, please meet with the assistant or associate dean of your college to discuss your situation and the merits of your petition.

A substitution is granted when the board is persuaded that a transfer course, originally evaluated as not counting toward the core, should be transferred to MSU as a core course in a particular category. When granted, the transfer equivalency guide will be changed to reflect the board's decision such that the course will be automatically included in the core for subsequent students from that institution. To assist the board, please provide as much information as possible. This should include the course catalog description, an explanation of how the course fits into the general education at the home institution (if appropriate), and a course syllabus (if possible), which is often available online or can be sent by the current instructor. In addition, please address how you believe that the course addresses the Core Qualities and Core Perspectives associated with the course being proposed. The standards can be found under Core Learning Outcomes.

Please note that the board will not consider MSU courses for substitution. If you believe that an MSU course should be included in our core, consider speaking with the instructor or department head about this. Courses are included in the core only when the application is initiated by faculty.

A waiver is a decision by the board that there are special circumstances making it appropriate for you to be deemed to have satisfied a specific core requirement without completing the course requirements. This decision applies to you alone, and will not extend to other students. Although the board will consider all applications, most will fit into one of the following categories:

  1. Learning Disability- The board recognizes that certain learning disabilities can prevent students from being able to satisfy MSU's requirements in specific areas. Petitions of this type must be initiated at the Office of Disability Services, which is located in Romney Hall room 137.
  2. Advanced Coursework - Some students complete advanced MSU courses without completing the prerequisite courses (often in the core). These courses do not automatically satisfy the core requirements because often they are focused on a narrow range of topics rather than dealing with broader issues of how knowledge is created in the discipline. Your application should include specific information about how the course you took addressed the specific learning outcomes for the core area being sought. In addition, please describe any other experience or training that you have had that prepared you for this more advanced course.
  3. Non-course Experience- If you have significant learning that you believe has provided an education that meets or exceeds the learning outcomes for the core area, please describe these and provide as much documentation as possible.

Petitions to the Core Equivalency Review Committee will be evaluated to determine if the evidence presented meets the qualities and perspectives articulated in the Core Learning Outcomes along with being in compliance with the requirements established in the MSU catalog. If a petition does not meet these standards then it will denied; additional factors or outside support would not constitute standing to overcome the evaluation by the Committee.


MSU Catalog 

Core General Curriculum    


Core Learning Outcomes 

Essential Elements of MSU Core


MSU Core Courses 

Current Core Courses 


MUS Core Information

Montana University System Core Information


For questions please contact: 

Registrar's Office
Phone: (406) 994-6650