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Course Proposals

The purpose of this page is to discuss the elements of a successful course proposal.

All course proposals, including new courses, alterations, and course changes, must be submitted through CIMS at:

Directions for using CIMS are posted  here. Get access by using your Login credentials,  typed in all lowercase. When entering in each field in CIMS please be sure to click the “i” button next to the field to get instructions related to that particular field.

New Course Proposals

New course proposals are evaluated by the committee with respect to this rubric.

The elements of a new course proposal are as follows:

Subject Code and Number

Select the subject code from the drop-down menu. Then enter a single three-digit number into the number field. Make sure the first digit of the number accurately reflects the intended audience.


Pick a title that accurately reflects the content of the course. Please see the guidelines posted here before selecting your title. Please notice that the following titles and abbreviations are reserved: Advanced Topics (ADTP), Directed Study (Dir St), Honors (HNRS), Seminar (Sem), and Special Topics (SPTP).

There are two types of titles:

  • Full Title. This is the title that will appear in the course catalog. It should not contain any abbreviations, and is limited to 90 characters.
  • Transcript Title. This is the title that will appear on student transcripts and in the schedule of courses. It is limited to 30 characters. 
If the full title does not exceed 30 characters, then both titles will be the same. If the full title exceeds 30 cha racters, then you will need to enter a transcript title (a box will automatically appear in the CIMS form). Per the guidelines, the transcript title may contain abbreviated words and should be similar to the full title (containing the same key words).

Credit Hours and Repeatability

The number of credit hours associated with the course should accurately reflect the amount of expected work. See the guidelines posted here for guidance on how to set the number of credit hours. The number of credit hours may be fixed or variable.

Courses may be designated as “repeatable” by checking the appropriate box. Repeatability means that the course can be counted multiple times for a program. For instance, a degree might require 2 units of a given course (typical for seminar courses in some programs), in which case it should be marked repeatable. Note that any course can be attempted multiple times (for instance if a student fails it, or if the student gets a D and wants to D/F repeat it) — the course should only be marked as “repeatable” if the program requires that it be taken multiple times.

Grade Mode

Select between “Normal grading mode” and “Pass/Fail grading mode." Undergraduate courses taken on a pass/fail basis may only be used to satisfy free elective credit. Courses used to satisfy specific college, school, department, major, minor or General Education requirements may not be taken pass/fail. Selecting the pass/fail grading mode removes all other grading options for the course (e.g.: audit, letter grade). Selecting the normal grading mode defaults the course to letter grading but permits other grading options (pass/fail, audit).

Catalog Description

The course catalog description should reflect the topics covered by the course. The description should be concise, and is limited to 60 words. In writing the description, you should be consistent with the stylistic conventions used by your unit. In particular, consider the following issues:

  • It is not necessary to list the prerequisites in the description itself (the prerequisite is a separate field in the CIMS form, see below). For instance, it is not advisable to start the description: “This course builds upon concepts learned in ABC 101."
  • There is no need to list the title of the course, its course number, its subject code, the number of credit hours, its prerequisites, or its level in the course description.  
  • Consider whether the description should be a complete sentence or a list of topics. Some units write their descriptions as full sentences (example: “This course examines the social, economic, and legal aspects of advertising”) while others simply write out a list of topics (example: “The social, economic, and legal aspects of advertising”). If full sentences are used, use the present tense; avoid the future progressive tense (“Students will study …”).
  • The description sho uld be understandable to those not in the discipline. Avoid jargon. Acronyms and abbreviations should be defined.

Catalog Prerequisites

Enter the requisite courses in the Catalog Prerequisite field. There are three types of requisites:

  • Prerequisite: Course must be completed beforehand. Abbreviated “PR”.
  • Co-requisite: Course must be taken at the same time. Abbreviated “Coreq”.
  • Prerequisite or Concurrent: Course may be taken previously or at the same time. Abbreviated “PR or CONC”.

When there are multiple prerequisites, be clear in how they must be logically combined through the use of “or” and “and”. Use parenthesis for compound logic. Distinguish the requisite type by using the abbreviations “PR:”, “Coreq:” and “PR or CONC”.

A minimum grade may be specified. However, when you specify a minimum grade, be sure to end it with a minus (-). For instance “grade of C- or better” or “grade of B- or better”.  It is not necessary to write “grade of D- or better”.

Example: “PR: MATH 101 with a grade of C- or better and (BIOL 101 or BIOL 103) and PR or CONC: MATH 102.”

Non-course prerequisites are possible, such as “Junior standing” or “History major”. However, such prerequisites will not be automatically checked by the registrar. To check for such prerequisites, the unit offering the course needs to set up the appropriate section-level restrictions when it is scheduled.

Curriculum-Based Rationale

The curriculum-based rationale is the justification for the course.  Do not merely repeat the description.  Rather, explain how it fits into the curriculum. For instance, is it a required or elective course for any particular program (and if so, which)? Who will be the audience for the course?  If there are courses similar to it, explain why the needs of the program cannot be satisfied by an existing course. The curriculum-based rationale should be brief and to the point (the field is limited to 100 words). Do not write it in the first person.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected learning outcomes document what skills students are expected to obtain once the course is completed. The focus should be on the outcome of the course, not the tasks required to achieve the outcome. Thus, “writing three technical papers” is not an outcome, though the ability to write a technical paper is.

The outcomes should be formatted as follows.  Start with the statement “Students that successfully complete the course will be able to:” Then follow this introductory sentence with a bulleted list of learning outcomes that best reflect your goals for the course and your students. Learning outcomes should be objective and measurable. Use verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy.  

The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee has developed guidance here on how to best articulate the learning outcomes. Furthermore, a video on learning outcomes is here.


Please submit a reference syllabus. The elements that the committee will look for are detailed in the  rubric .

Note that this is to be a reference syllabus, used for purposes of accreditation and determining transfer equivalency. As such, there is no need to include statements of personal preference (such as “no cell phones allowed”).

It is highly recommended that the reference syllabus be generated using the syllabus builder. This will ensure that the syllabus requires the minimum set of expected elements.

Optional statements

The following syllabus statements are optional. However, if a statement is used, it must appear in the syllabus exactly as written in the corresponding document below. 

Overlap with other units

If the course has content that may be covered by another academic unit, you must attach documentation showing the agreement with the other academic unit.


Compete this section if the course is a capstone course. Read the Guidance for capstone courses .


Compete this section if the course is a GEF course. Please see the GEF part of the Faculty Senate webpage for more detail.

Alteration,  Course Changes and Deactivations

Courses may be altered, changed or deactivated. To do this, go  here and then find the course. To alter or change the course, click “Edit Course” and to deactivate it click “Deactivate."