I believe this question about wanting to have a undergrad humanities course requirement exemption to be off-topic as it is primarily about undergraduate life.

Apparently others believe that because the OP believes that this will lead to a better grad application, that it is on-topic.

Isn't this just a variation of "boat programming?" If we follow this route, then an OP can make the argument that it is on-topic just by mentioning "grad school."

So a question about "Why do I have to stay in a dorm?" would be on topic if the OP added "... I won't be able to study hard enough to get into grad school."

Isn't that the very core of boat programming? Thoughts?


2 Answers 2


I strongly agree with your conclusion, though hadn't been able to phrase it so well. Undergraduate breadth requirements have very little to do with graduate school. In addition, the strength and particulars of their enforcement is also very institution-dependent, which also makes it a poor question for this site.


In my country, there is no comparable distinction between undergraduate and graduate, and thus I rarely, if ever, select this close reason (and rather skip reviewing questions that are deeply rooted in this system).

Nontheless, I agree with you seeing this as boat programming. With the same argument, we could allow all sorts of question on school education, as it may be relevant for university admissions – at least in my country, where said distinction between undergraduate and graduate does not exist.

Moreover, despite me not caring about the undergraduate close reason, I voted to close this question with the following close reason (which did not make it into the close notice):

The answer to this question strongly depends on individual factors such as a certain person’s preferences, a given institution’s regulations, the exact contents of your work or your personal values. Thus only someone familiar can answer this question and it cannot be generalised to apply to others.

More specifically: This question depends on your institution’s regulations on graduations or how the exception handlers will decide. Thus you have to look into your regulations or ask whoever takes care of this at your institution.

Note that this does not only apply to the first question (Is it reasonable to ask?) but also the second (What should I say?), as the arguments also depend on the regulations, preferences of the decider and other individualities.

I consider the existing answers to confirm this judgement and reflect exactly the problem why this close reason exists, namely that answers can only guess or say “it depends”. Sure, there is content going beyond this in the answers:

  • You request will fail and instead you should …
  • What you want is unethical/bad for you, because …
  • The answer is probably no, but trying does not hurt.
  • If I were to decide, I would say no because …

In neither case do the additions really answer the question.

Except for the cynical remark that the course the asker wants to avoid would have taught him to answer this question themselves, only few answers address the second question at all and only very generally. This information may actually be worth keeping but rather to some much more generalised form of the question (e.g., “What are general strategies to argue for an exemption from some examination regulation?”), which may may indeed be a good fit for our site.

So, we are left with a lot of answers that do not really compete except for the yes/no part and mostly answer different questions that weren’t actually asked. This alone strongly suggests a bad, closeworthy question.

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