Curriculum Update Guide

Curriculum Update Process

Departments may submit add, change, or drop proposals to manage the courses they offer through the college's Curriculum Update site ( In addition to the modification forms, the Curriculum Update site includes a list of current department curriculum coordinators, archived reports from previous curriculum cycles, and additional support resources.

The curriculum coordinators for each unit are designated by the department chair. Coordinators may only submit proposals for courses offered by their department.

Each type of proposal (Add, Change, or Drop) requires different information and supplementary materials, depending on the type of proposal and/or the change proposed. Guidance on completing the form for each type of course modification is provided below. Required items are indicated on the curriculum update form with an asterisk.

Course Additions

Departments may add courses that they expect to offer regularly over the next several years. Experimental courses may also be added that will be offered periodically. In either case, units are required by university policy to offer courses at least once every three years for them to remain in the catalog.

Course Change Proposals

Change proposals can range from minor typographical error corrections to significant changes in course credit hours or course descriptions. If the nature of the change proposed suggests that the altered course is truly different than the original course in application, content, and relevance, departments should submit a Course Drop for the existing course and a Course Add for the new course.

The curriculum form is designed to dynamically compare current course information with submitted proposal items and highlight in yellow all that have changed. The system also generates a list of fields changed based on this analysis, which is located at the top of the page above the curriculum update form. Departments should review to ensure that no fields have been flagged unnecessarily. The list of changes helps the college Curriculum Committee focus on the most significant course updates.

Course Elimination Proposals

Departments are welcome to purge courses from their curriculum when necessary. Common reasons for dropping a course include curriculum restructuring, infrequent scheduling, low demand, or lack of faculty expertise. If a unit wishes to revise a course to the point that it has little relation to the current focus and learning outcomes, the course must be dropped and re-added as a new course with a different number.

Although less information is required in a Course Drop proposal than when adding or revising a course, there are still several key questions required of units.

Subject Prefix and Number

Users may only include approved subject prefixes in course proposals. Departments must gain college and university approval for new subjects. The University Senate process for proposing a course prefix is detailed at If a new prefix proposal is in process during the fall curriculum cycle, the college will add the prefix as an option on the Add Course form, pending final approval.

In selecting a number for the proposed course, departments should verify that the number is not currently in use or has not been used within the past five years. Reusing course numbers more frequently introduces the possibility of errors in student academic audits and transcripts.

Departments should also verify that the selected course number has not been standardized across the college or the University (e.g. 8999 or 9999).

Units do not have the option of changing the course subject prefix or number through the Curriculum Update site. Subject prefix changes are commonly required as a consequence of the introduction of a new prefix proposal or other significant program changes. The appropriate contacts in the Dean's Office should be notified before proposing such changes.

The course number also may only be changed in cases of significant program change. Creating a logical progression in course topics is not a sufficient reason for changing a course number as it can create errors in student academic records.

Title (Long)

The long title includes the full course title and is formatted in title case. Abbreviations and ampersands should be avoided if possible. The long title normally appears in catalog listings.

Substantial changes to the course title or course description may require the department to submit drop/add requests instead of a change request because the changes may justify the creation of a new course altogether. The magnitude of the changes can be assessed by comparing the titles and descriptions and determining if the changes involve a significant shift in course content or focus.

Title (Short)

The short title, which is limited to 30 characters and formatted in all capital letters, is commonly an abbreviated version of the long title. The use of ampersands and meaningful abbreviations is acceptable in the short title. The short title appears in the GoSolar course schedule and in DegreeWorks.


The most typical types of prerequisite are specific courses (and minimum grades) required for entry into the proposed course. Where possible, departments should list the complete subject prefix and number for each course (i.e., ENGL 1101 and ENGL 1102 instead of ENGL 1101 and 1102). This makes possible the pop-up course description feature currently available in the online catalog. Use of all capital letters in course prefixes is preferred.

Main Description

According to university policy, "Course listings constitute the basis for the selection of courses by many students, and although these listings must be brief, they should provide students with basic information about the courses" (Policy on Courses Listed in University Catalogs).

Currently, the average length of the main description section for A&S courses is 32 words (approximately 225 characters). The field for adding or editing a description on the Curriculum Update site is currently limited to 350 characters (50-60 words).

Course Designations

This section, which appears on a separate line following the main description text in the catalog, indicates if a course includes any of the following special designations, all of which require approval beyond the college Curriculum Committee (as indicated):

Grade Mode

The grade mode indicates the range of possible grade types that can be used for the course. Departments should ensure that the requested grade mode meets the standard for the particular course offered. For instance, an internship or directed study may be best served with an S/U grade type rather than a Letter grade type. Options for grade mode are as follows:

Schedule Type

Departments select the instruction type for a course based on the primary methods of teaching each section. Multiple types can be included if sections will be taught using different methods (although each individual section only has one method). The options for instructional type are as follows:

Schedule type is distinct from delivery method (i.e., hybrid, fully online, etc.). The delivery method could vary across sections using the same instructional method or could be the same for sections using different instructional methods.

Credit Hours

The Curriculum Update site includes prompts for the credit hours or range of values for the following areas:

Changes to the credit hour values for a course require an explanation in the Rationale section of how the course content has increased or decreased enough to warrant the new credit hour value.

Course Fees

Laboratory Fees or Supplemental Course Materials Fees are noted in this section; however, any increase or addition of course fees will require approval at the college, university, and University System levels. If new fees are added to the curriculum form, the college will ultimately request additional information in support of fee requests. See Section 24 of the USG Business Procedures Manual for guidance on acceptable fees.

Primary Curricular Role

In consultation with departments, the college assigns each course a primary curricular role (PCR) code based on its function in the major (or in multiple programs). For courses that have multiple roles, the function that has the broadest impact on student progress and enrollment will be used as the PCR. Options are as follows:


The rationale must include the justification for the new course. Departments should address the following in the rationale:

Related Proposals

If a proposal for a related course has or will be submitted during this curriculum cycle (e.g., graduate-level equivalent or other courses to be cross-listed), please provide the course subject and number.

Student Accommodations

If a course proposed for elimination is a requirement at present, the department should indicate what steps will be taken to accommodate current students who have not completed the course. This normally involves having a designated course or set of courses that can serve as substitutes on the student's academic audit. The undergraduate and graduate advisement offices need to be informed of these plans, so that they can share this information with students and amend their records appropriately.

Consultation Requirement

Departments must consult with other units before submitting proposals to modify courses shared with another unit (e.g., lower-division courses shared with Perimeter College, cross-listed courses) or that may otherwise have a notable impact on another unit.

Consulting with cross-list partners allows the collaborating unit to submit a parallel course proposal if necessary. This is particularly important if the proposed changes affect credit hour values or course content in a significant way.

Departments should be cautious when proposing the elimination of courses that play an integral role in the programs of other units and should fully discuss the change with appropriate representatives from the affected unit(s) before submitting a Course Drop proposal.

As part of the course proposal submission process, departments will indicate which units have been or should be consulted. This information will be part of the public record available for review before the course proposal is considered by the college Curriculum Committee. Designated curriculum representatives from each of these units will receive an email notification of the course proposal with a link that allows them to review the full proposal. They will have the opportunity to provide suggestions, express concerns, or show support as part of this process.

Scheduling Frequency

The college and university expects courses listed in the catalog to be offered regularly, particularly if the course is required of all or some students in an academic program. As part of the course proposal process, units will indicate how frequently it is expected that the course will be offered. Additional inforation will be required if a course is set to be a program requirement but it is not expected that the course will be offered every term.

Course Delivery Method(s)

Departments will be asked to describe the instructional delivery model(s) (i.e., fully in classroom, hybrid, fully online) for the proposed course. Although there are not set college or university approval processes for online offerings, departments should refer faculty to the university's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) for best practices in distance learning and other course delivery methods (see CETL Instructional Resources).

Sample Syllabus

All new course proposals must be accompanied a sample syllabus, which should include the following:

Change proposals should include a syllabus when the changes proposed are significant enough to indicate changes in course content but not so significant that the department must create a new course and drop the current course. The following kinds of changes may determine if a syllabus is needed:

The college Curriculum Committee is not responsible for verifying that the sample syllabus complies with all university requirements for course syllabi (see section 401.01 of the university Faculty Handbook).

Uploading Syllabi

You can upload a sample syllabus at any point while completing a course proposal (i.e., at the draft or final submission stages). Once uploaded, a link to the syllabus is available for review. You can update the syllabus by re-uploading the corrected file.

Revised Catalog Copy

Departments should use the Microsoft Word Track Changes function to indicate updates to the current catalog copy (which can be downloaded from the catalog update form for the specific program).

Catalog Program Information

Identifying information for the program is provided at the top of the catalog update form (program department, name, level, and section).

A link to the catalog copy for the current year is also provided at the top of the form. The document is a MS Word version of the final copy from the relevant online catalog edition. The document should be used as the starting point for developing a catalog update proposal. Departments should indicate all changes using the Word Track Changes feature.

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