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Procedures for Presenting New or Revised Graduate Courses

This informal guide supplements the official statement of Graduate College policy:

The Provost's Office also maintains information regarding the course approval process at www.provost.illinois.edu/programs/cps/courses.html. Deadlines for submissions of new and revised courses to appear in the Course Catalog can be found in the Timeline of submissions of New and Revised Courses.  The Provost's Office also maintains these aids:

  1. New Course Outline Form
  2. Course Revision Form
  3. Instructions and form for requesting a Course Fee
  4. A spreadsheet that allows proposers to track your course through the approval process

1. New Course Outline Form

A proposal for a new or substantially revised course is submitted using a New Course Outline form. New graduate courses must adhere to the Policy for Review of Proposed New and Revised Courses that Carry Graduate Credit ). Providing complete responses on the course outline form greatly expedites the approval process.

Hint: Check the text entered into the grey-box form fields for spelling errors. Spell-checking is not active. To do so, copy-paste text entries into a blank Word document, or compose the entries in Word first, then copy-paste them into the form fields.

Item 1. Banner Subject and Course Number

 

400-499
Upper level undergraduate and graduate courses, typically taken by seniors and beginning graduate students (may be designated for graduates only in item 13)
500-599
Graduate courses
600-799
Professional courses (Law and DVM courses only)

Note that course numbers may not be reused for 6 years from last term the course was available.

Item 2. Course Titles

Titles may include abbreviations, but must stay within the 30-character limit, including spaces. Try to use standard abbreviations and avoid hard-to-interpret ones. In difficult situations, consider using fewer words and the special characters (&), (:). Effort should be made to avoid duplication of an existing course title in content-specific courses (does not apply to generic titles, e.g., Individual Study, Seminar, Special Topics, Thesis Research, etc.).

Item 3. Courses Catalog Descriptions
Descriptions should address subject matter, including any special course requirements such as field trips, special equipment, etc. Exclude other course information of any numbered items below; the Office of the Registrar will include it in the Course Catalog entry. Descriptions should read like an abstract and ideally be limited to not more than 75 words. Some examples are included below. 
 
CEE 450 Surface Hydrology
Descriptive and quantitative hydrology dealing with the distribution, circulation, and storage of water on the earth's surface; principles of hydrologic processes; methods of analysis and their applications to engineering and environmental problems.
 

GE 560 Managing Advanced Technol I 

Business perspective of managing advanced technology in industry: strategic context of advanced technology; analytical financial tools used to estimate its potential value; legal concepts important in its management; interpersonal issues related to leading and advocating on behalf of advanced technology groups.
 
Item 4. Course Prerequisites

Prerequisite statements are advisory in nature and are not enforced through the Banner System. Graduate-level courses other than seminars and individual study usually require prerequisite knowledge or experience. The following suggestions are provided to promote clarity in prerequisite statements to the students who may be registering for the course. Foremost are avoiding superfluous prerequisites, embodied in the first four bullets, and avoiding ambiguity, embodied in the last one:

  • list only the highest level course if there is a string of sequenced prerequisites (see Example 1 below)
  • list only the primary course if cross-listed (Course Catalog ‘same as’ statements readily identify secondary cross-listed course alternatives)
  • explicitly list courses found in the Catalog (not, e.g., "a course in chemistry")
  • do not tag courses with 'or equivalent' or 'or consent of instructor' as those are always assumed to be the case
  • express alternative courses and combinations of courses clearly (see Example 2 below).

Example 1. Since GRK 101 is a prerequisite for GRK 102, the prerequisite ‘GRK 101 and GRK 102’ should be shortened to ‘GRK 102’ for a course requiring GRK 102 as a prerequisite, such as GRK 201.

Example 2. Consider the prerequisite statement ‘CS 225 and CS 373 or MATH 444.’ It’s ambiguous. It could mean ‘(CS 225 and CS 373) or (MATH 444)’, or perhaps ‘(CS 225) and (CS 373 or MATH 444).’ Assuming it’s the latter, the use of a semicolon gives the clear meaning by separating the intended groupings: ‘CS 225; CS 373 or MATH 444.’

Item 5.

Audience Restrictions are enforced through Banner and should be separate from the prerequisite statement. These restrictions typically limit registration to a group of students, e.g., 'for majors only.'

Course Justification

The information provided in Items 6 - 8 is used by the department and college to better understand the course content in the broader context of other courses offerings. Courses open to graduate students must meet the criteria for graduate courses. A course syllabus must be included except in the case of special topics courses. Requirements and recommendations for syllabi are available. If this course is similar in content to other offerings on campus, please provide information that illustrates the uniqueness of this offering, as stated in the policy, section I.E., and a letter of comment from the executive officer of the unit offering the existing course.

Course Detail
Item 9.

If “Other” is checked, include details of when that will be. Note that alternate offering year wording is not automatically included in the Catalog entry. If desired, it must be manually added to the course description.

Item 12.

If the expected enrollment will be less than 10% graduate, or if freshman are expected to be in the class, explain in Item 14 why the course is a graduate level course. It might be better to be an undergraduate only offering at the 400 level.

Item 13.

Guidelines for Graduate Level Credit and Contact Hours: Please refer to the Guidelines for Graduate Course Credit and Contact Hours Expectations section of the Policy for Proposed New and Revised Courses that Carry Graduate Credit.

If completing Item 13B, please be sure to indicate in Item 14 and in the grading section of the course syllabus whether expectations and grading bases for undergraduates and graduates in the same class are the same or different, and for the latter, what the differences are.
Item 14.

Complete this item for every course awarding graduate credit. The response should make the case for graduate credit.

Item 15.

Additional explanation is required if there is variable credit (e.g., 1-4 hours) or differential credit (e.g., 3 or 4 hours) for graduate students, or if a graduate student may receive 4 hours of credit in a three-hour undergraduate course. The course syllabus should clearly explain the extra work required for additional credit, and the additional work should also be reflected in the grading section of the syllabus.

Item 16.

If the response is 'yes,' then complete items A through C.

A - a course for which repeatability approval is sought must be matched to only one of the six permissible categories, i.e., choose the ‘best fit.’ For each category below, representative examples and keywords are given to guide selection:

  • 1H = Honors — (undergraduate only) any Honors-designated course, seminar, etc.
  • 1M = Subject Mastery/Skill Proficiency — developing or improving mental and/or physical ability in areas such as art, communication, language, writing, leadership, life skills, motor skills, the performing arts (dance, music, theater), laboratory practice, medical/vet-med training
  • 1N = Individualized Instruction — one-on-one teaching involving established subject matter, typical of courses titled ‘Independent Study or ‘Individual Study
  • 1R = Research or Ongoing Study — guided group or individual research, investigations, projects, studies, problem-solving, etc. in new, developing, or emerging areas
  • 1S = Special Topics, Seminars — trial or nonpermanent subject offerings of current, developing, or emerging topics to augment existing courses; colloquia, discussion groups, seminars, etc. with student, faculty, visitor, and/or outside presenters/participants
  • 1X = Applied Experiences — internships, practicums, apprenticeships, study abroad, field trips, service learning, outreach, etc.

B and C - If the response is 'yes,' fill in all three blanks, entering total hours, "U" if unlimited, or "NA" if not applicable. If the “if topics vary” box is checked, the Catalog repeatability sentence will automatically include "if topics vary."

NOTE:
Based on the entries to Items 16.A-C, the Office of the Registrar fashions a Repeatability statement as part of the other course information placed after the course description (Item 3) in the Course Catalog entry. Its preferred format is:

May be repeated

   > in [the same term / separate terms / the same or separate terms]
       > if topics vary
          > to a maximum of [X hours / X undergraduate or Y graduate hours / X graduate or professional hours]
             > but no more than X hours in any one term

Each qualifier (>) below the initial phrase “May be repeated” is optional – in the descending order shown.

Examples:
•May be repeated.
•May be repeated in separate terms if topics vary to a maximum of X hours.
•May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of X undergraduate or Y graduate hours but no more than Z hours in any one term.

Item 18.

If DFR is chosen as a grade type, please note that the DFR grade in non-thesis courses will roll to an F grade after one semester according to the Student Code, 3-104 if a permanent grade is not entered by the deadline. In most cases, the I (Incomplete) grade serves the same purpose, see Student Code, 3-104.

Item 19.

If a course is to be cross-listed with a department in another college, a justification is needed, and the approval of that college as well as the department is also required. Courses should not be cross-listed within the same department or with numbers at different levels. Likewise, courses should not be arranged as “meets with” across levels. The College of Engineering has approved Guidelines for Cross-Listing Courses.

Item 22.

Only refer to approved, graduate concentrations or minors as concentrations or minors. List other departmental areas as options, specializations, areas of study, etc

 

Item 23.

A note about Special Topics Courses:
A number of 400- and 500-level courses also serve as special topics courses, and are typically identified as such by their titles. Topics offered under such courses are necessarily temporary; they are not listed in the Courses Catalog. A specific topic may be offered twice under a special topics listing; the same topic may be offered a third time only if a proposal to establish it as a permanent course has been submitted through the usual channels. Special topics course sections should not be arranged as “meets with” with permanent courses. 

Item 25.

One course number can not be used for both independent study and seminar or temporary topics purposes. If both are needed, then two courses should be created.

2. Course Revision Form

For minor revisions to existing courses, use the Course Revision form. Only very minor revisions in course content do not require Graduate College approval. Major content changes to a course must be addressed on a New Course Outline form.

Please indicate current cross-listings in the header information. Only the controlling department can recommend changes to a cross-listed course. Any changes to a cross-listed course must be approved by each of the cross-listed units, and their respective college. 

 If a fee is being requested for a course, please see more information available from the Provost's Office.

3. Review Procedures

For graduate courses, the Review Procedures are located within the policy. You can track your course through the approval process at the Provost's Office Website.

 

Revised August 2012