Waive or Challenge a Course

As YSN admits students of high caliber, some will already have had the course work or experience in some of the areas we offer. Under the principle that students should have the opportunity to build upon their previous experience and that essentially repeating already mastered work is not educationally sound, the Waive or Challenge a Course procedure was developed and approved by the Executive Committee on September 16, 1975.


Receiving course credit toward the requirements for the degree should require demonstration of competence or mastery of the particular subject matter.


There are two alternatives which may be pursued by students who believe they have already mastered certain content. It is understood that it is the faculty member’s individual responsibility to decide whether to offer any/either of these options, to determine eligibility criteria, and to determine performance quality. It is also understood that the appropriate chairperson should be consulted and informed of students who take advantage of the options. Finally, it is understood that students who do pursue these options are encouraged to replace the particular experiences with other learning opportunities as tuition will not be adjusted.

Option #1 - Challenge

Under this mechanism the student who wishes not to participate in a given course or module because he or she has already mastered the content receives a grade which is recorded on the transcript. Under this option the student who wishes to challenge out of a particular course or module would approach the faculty member involved. The faculty member may then decide to offer the student the chance to demonstrate mastery of the material through:

  1. Reparation of a paper or preparation of a presentation;

  2. Successful completion of a challenge examination or its equivalent, devised and administered by YSN faculty.

Students who successfully put into operation this mechanism will receive the grade awarded for the paper, presentation or examination as the grade for the course or the module. In the case of a course, the grade on their transcript will be followed by the phrase by examination.

Option #2 B - Waiver

In some cases the student may wish to waive participation in a given course or module on the basis of having had an equivalent experience before entrance. In this case, the student would approach the faculty member involved and present evidence regarding having successfully completed an equivalent experience. The evidence would normally consist of a transcript recording the grade, a copy of the course objectives, listing of the textbooks, a copy of the course outline, reading list, etc. The involved faculty member would then discuss with the student the previous experience to make sure that it indeed in equivalent and at the faculty member’s option the student may be offered the opportunity to waive her/his participation in the course or module in question.

In the case of a waived course, no grade is recorded on the transcript. If the student has waived an entire course, it will be recorded on the transcript for credit and (instead of grade) with a notation of “CRW” (credit by waiver).

Please note: students who are approved to waive courses must still register for the course so they can receive YSN credit on their transcripts.

To waive/challenge a course, please complete the online form.