Policies and Procedures

Expand the sections below for more information on changing your major, petitioning a pre-approved course to apply to the major, add code & waitlist policies, the appeals process, and more.

Have questions? Reach out to your advisors!

  • All students who intend to pursue the Communication major are encouraged to declare Pre-Communication in order to get priority registration for pre-major courses. Click here to complete the Pre-Comm Change of Major form. Please allow up to 4 weeks the change of major to reflect in GOLD.
  • Students are STRONGLY advised to take one pre-major course at a time in order to focus their attention and skills on getting the best possible grade.
  • If absolutely necessary, we only recommend doubling-up with COMM 87 and one other pre-major course because all other pre-major courses are extremely writing and time intensive. 
  • Pre-major courses do not need to be taken in a specific order. 

Pre-major equivalents & substitutions:

  • Review Assist.org for articulated equivalents for any of our pre-major courses (COMM 1, 87, 88 and 89)
  • COMM 87 substitutions at UCSB: PSTAT5A, PSTAT5LS, PSY 5, or CMPSC 5A and 5B combined
    • PSTAT 5A/LS and PSY 5 will automatically be applied to the major.
    • CMPSC 5A/B combination requires students complete a Petition for Degree Requirements to apply the courses to the major. Grades earned in the two classes will be averaged and factored into pre-major GPA as if only 5 units were earned. Students must earn a letter grade of C- or above in both of these courses. 
    • If a student takes both COMM 87/PSTAT 5A/LS and CMPSC 5A/B, we will default to our Comm major sheet to fulfill the statistics requirement (the grade earned in COMM 87/PSTAT 5A/LS will be calculated in the major GPA).
    • If a student takes an equivalent statistics course, they may not take COMM 87 to count toward the pre-major GPA instead. In other words, whichever statistics course is attempted first is the one that will be applied to the pre-major.
  • COMM 88 substitution at UCSB: PSY 10A for double majors with Pre-Psych & Brain Sciences/Pre-Biopsychology and Pre-Comm ONLY
    • Students must complete a Petition for Degree Requirements once earning a grade of C- or better to apply PSY 10A towards the pre-major.
    • If a student takes both Comm 88 and PSY 10A, we will default to our Comm major sheet to fulfill the research methods requirement meaning, the grade earned in Comm 88 will be calculated in the major GPA.

In order to advance to full-major status, students must complete all pre-major courses with a 3.0 GPA or higher and no grade lower than a C-

  • Only courses taken at UCSB (or a pre-approved UC equivalent) factor into the pre-major GPA. 
  • If a student takes one or more pre-major courses at a non-UC institution, the credit is earned but the grade does not factor into the pre-major GPA.
  • Pre-major courses may not be taken at UCSB for P/NP. If you earned a P in a pre-major course and later decided to pursue the Comm major, you can submit a petition for an exception to the grading option policy, and the original letter grade you earned for the course will be calculated into your pre-major GPA.

Students who do not achieve the 3.0 GPA may be eligible to submit an appeal to the major.

Appeal Eligibility Criteria:

  • Students with a pre-major GPA between 2.85 and 2.99 qualify for an appeal.
  • Those with a pre-major GPA below 2.85 are not eligible to appeal and must seek advising for a new major from the College of Letters and Science.
  • Repeating any pre-major requirements disqualifies a student from appealing. Please note that withdrawing from a course and then taking it again is not considered a repeat.

Special Cases for Transfer Students:

  • Pre-Comm transfer students with only one pre-major course taken at UCSB can appeal if they earn a B- in that course (2.7 pre-major GPA).
  • Transfer students with two or more pre-comm courses remaining must meet the standard 2.85 - 2.99 pre-major GPA range for appeal.

Appeal Process:

  • A Change of Major petition must be on file with the Advising Office.
  • Eligible students will receive specific instructions via email within a week of final grades.
  • Once instructions are received, students have one week to submit their appeal.
  • Late appeals are not accepted.

Important Considerations:

  • An appeal does not guarantee admission into the major.
  • Students waiting for appeal results are advised to enroll in coursework for an alternative major to avoid graduation delays.
  • Positive performance in upper-division Comm courses does not influence the appeal decision because it is advised against. 
  • Missing the appeal review window may result in waiting until the next quarter for the appeal to be reviewed. It is at the discretion of the advising office to offer the option to appeal if deadlines are missed. 

Declaring Pre-Communication

Students interested in pursuing the Communication major are advised to declare the Pre-Communication major while working on their pre-reqs in order to get priority registration for Pre-Comm classes. Only Pre-Comm students can register for the pre-major classes in Pass 1. Use the Pre-Communication Change of Major form linked above to declare the Pre-Comm major (allow up to 4 weeks for the major change to reflect on GOLD).

Pre-Communication Change of Major form

Declaring Communication

In order to declare the Communication major, students should submit the Communication Change of Major form linked above during the quarter they are taking their final pre-major course.

Communication Change of Major form

Change of Major Timeline

  1. Student submits Change of Major form while taking their final pre-major course.
  2. Once grades are posted, Comm Advising staff review Change of Major form and confirm eligibility for the major.
  3. Comm Advising staff notify student via email that they are either a) admitted to the major, b) did not meet the GPA requirement but are eligible to appeal, or c) did not meet the GPA requirement, are not eligible for appeal, and must work with the College of Letters & Sciences to identify a new major. 
  4. If a student is admitted, Comm Advising staff sends the approved Change of Major form to the Registrar for processing.
  5. Registrar updates the student’s major status in GOLD, which can take up to 4 weeks. 

Special cases

Students changing from another college should complete the Change of College/Dual College Change of Major form and email the completed materials to commadvising@comm.ucsb.edu with the subject line "Comm Change of Major - [YOUR PERM #]."

Students should ensure the following before submitting a Petition for Degree Requirements form: 

  1. The courses being petitioned appear in Course History on Gold with the final grade (only courses taken for a letter grade will be accepted).
  2. Comm Advising has confirmed that the course is pre-approved to fulfill a pre-major or major requirement. Pre-approved EAP courses can be found here.

If your course has not been pre-approved, please send an email to commadvising@comm.ucsb.edu that includes the following information:

  • Your perm number
  • The institution you attended (include the country and city, if EAP)
  • Title of the course and course number
  • A PDF of the course syllabus that includes the following:
    • Course description
    • Detailed weekly schedule
    • List of required texts

When submitting the Petition for Degree Requirements form, please keep the following in mind: 

  • You must be logged in to your UCSB Google account to submit the form.
  • Do not submit multiple forms for the same petition.
  • Processing may take up to 4 weeks.
  • Submission of the petition does not guarantee approval for courses that have not been pre-approved.
  • You will not receive an email notification that the petition has been processed. Please check Gold to see if your petition has been processed.

Petitioning a Pre-Major Requirement

If you are petitioning courses to fulfill a pre-major requirement, please keep in mind that only courses taken at UCSB (or a pre-approved UC equivalent) will count toward your pre-major GPA. If you wish to undo a petition you will need to speak with a Comm Advisor in person as soon as possible. Students who took a class P/NP toward the pre-major requirements prior to deciding to pursue the Comm major will need to submit a Grading Option Change petition.

Pre-Major Petition for Degree Requirements

Petitioning a Major Requirement

Students may petition an upper-division (UD) course taken at another institution (e.g. UC Online) or an EAP course to count toward the 40 units of UD COMM coursework requirement. Courses must be taken for a letter grade and must transfer back as UD to count toward your degree. Students who have declared degree candidacy will have expedited processing. 

UPDATE: Effective December 2023, elective courses listed on the Communication Major Sheet no longer require a petition to count toward your Communication Degree (The 8 unit limitation to these courses still applies). Students can verify that the courses have been added toward their degree by running a major progress check on Gold. Please do not submit a petition for these courses if they are already included in your major progress check. 

UD/EAP Petition for Degree Requirements

Most Communication courses use the waitlisting feature in GOLD to manage the waitlist process. If you would like to take a Communication class that is currently full, please follow these steps:

  1. Enroll in a minimum of 12 units. The waitlist option is only available for students already enrolled in 12 units. For this reason, waitlisting is not possible during pass 1 and is only possible by linking classes during pass 2.
  2. Add yourself to the course waitlist. Due to the 15 unit enrollment cap in pass 2, you must link the desired course to a less-desirable course in your schedule in order to join the waitlist during pass 2. In pass 3 and beyond, you can either link the course or simply add yourself to the waitlist. Click here for the Registrar’s detailed instructions on how to waitlist and link classes.
  3. Wait patiently and do NOT email instructors or Comm Advising for approval codes. No approval codes are distributed before the quarter begins. If space opens up in the class, you will be added according to your spot on the waitlist. Waitlists for both Pre-Comm and Comm classes are organized by major and unit standing (not first-come, first-served) causing your spot on the waitlist to fluctuate.
  4. Attend the first day of class. Some instructors will drop students for non-attendance, so it's very important you attend the first lecture. Instructors will inform you on the first day of class how they manage the waitlist after the quarter begins (i.e. whether they continue to use the auto-add feature through the first week, if they expect you to sign in each day, if they expect to use approval codes, etc.). 
  5. IF you are automatically added to the course via GOLD, keep participating and enjoy your course!
  6. IF you are given an approval code by the instructor, please enroll in GOLD as soon as possible. The 4-digit approval code is unique to YOU and cannot under any circumstances be shared with another student. To use the code:
    1. Drop yourself from the waitlist. You can’t use an approval code if you are on the waitlist.
    2. Search for the course either by typing in the 5-digit enrollment code or using the Course Search function.
    3. Click "Add" for the course you are trying to add.
    4. Enter the four-digit approval code into the "Approval Code" field.

Pre-Comm students waiting for updated major status:

  • Upper-division (UD) Communication classes are only open to full majors during the academic year (Fall, Winter, Spring). For this reason, students in their transition quarter (pre-majors approved but not yet in full-major status) will not be able to enroll in UD Comm courses or be auto-added from the waitlist. 
  • Comm Advising recommends that you use your transition quarter for the following:
  • If you would like to try crashing a course, you are welcome to follow the waitlist instructions above and connect with the professors on or after the first day of instruction (NOT before) to see if there will be room in the course. However, students already in full-major status will be given priority. 
  • Please contact the Comm Advising team if you have questions about your transition quarter.