Proposals for New Courses and for Changes in Existing Courses

Proposals for new courses and changes to existing courses in Yale College are submitted in CourseLeaf CIM.

Proposals for New Courses

Proposals for new Yale College courses are submitted in CourseLeaf CIM and reviewed by the Course of Study Committee, as are previously taught courses returning to the curriculum after an absence of more than seven years.

To propose a new course, after logging into CIM click the green “Propose New Course” button and fill out the form in the pop-up window. Click the “Save and Submit” button at the bottom of the form to begin workflow for the course review process. The course proposal form will then be sent automatically to your DUS for approval and then ultimately to the Course of Study Committee. The CSC reviews the course proposal and alerts your DUS to its approval or a request for more information. Proposals must be submitted one week prior to a CSC meeting for inclusion on that meeting’s agenda. New courses submitted after March arrive too late for inclusion in the initial online publication of the YCPS and in Yale Course Search. Such courses will be added to the online systems by mid-August.

Most helpful to the Course of Study Committee in understanding the nature of a proposed course are:

  • The title and a brief description of the course suitable for publication in the YCPS.
  • A list of required course materials and principle readings organized by week or topic. An approximate page count of weekly required reading and any other material that might explain the nature and purpose of the course.
  • Anyone teaching in Yale College for the first time is asked to attach to the CIM form a curriculum vitae and a provisional syllabus for the proposed course. All instructors, however, are strongly encouraged to submit a provisional syllabus for the proposed course.
  • A specific indication of the nature and amount of work required of the student (see below). 
  • The meeting time pattern. Information about standard time patterns is available under Standard Meeting Times. Specific days and times are not required in the CIM form.

Each course proposal must also provide a breakdown of the component values of course assignments in determining the term grade. The course work table requires information about all graded course work; the percentage of the final grade that each assignment is worth; the approximate week each assignment is due; and approximate length of written work. The total grade percentages assigned to each assignment should add to one-hundred percent. The Course of Study Committee uses the following rules and guidelines in reviewing new course proposals:

  • Instructors must provide students with feedback on their academic progress prior to midterm (week 7).
  • Instructors may assign no more than 20–25 pages total in graded writing assignments, not including informal assignments, such as weekly reading responses or creative writing assignments.
  • Class participation—that is, the engagement and interaction of students during class time, not including formal oral presentations or any written work—may count for no more than 20% of the term grade, except when the instructor explicitly defines the evaluative basis for the participation grade and agrees to provide before midterm graded feedback to each student about his or her performance in this area of the course.
  • The committee expects every course to conclude with a final examination, term essay, or similar demonstration of proficiency in the course material.
  • In consensus with the judgment of the directors of undergraduate studies, as sought in spring 2014, the Course of Study Committee will henceforth use as a guideline that no final examination should count for more than 50% of the student’s term grade, unless compelling reasons to deviate from this cap are provided by the instructor and accepted by the committee.
  • The committee expects that instructors will require all course assignments, other than term papers and term projects, to be submitted at the latest by the last day of reading period. Term papers and term projects are to be submitted at the latest by the last day of the final examination period.

For more information on course work rules and guidelines, see Midterm Feedback in CoursesFinal Examinations, and Course Requirements.

The CIM form includes a question regarding academic integrity, to be included on the course syllabus. The question is designed to ensure that instructors are prepared to address issues of cheating, plagiarism, inappropriate collaboration, and the like within the context of the proposed course. Information about teaching these matters is available on the Writing Center website. The CSC strongly recommends that all instructors include a link to the section on understanding and avoiding plagiarism on every syllabus.

Changes in Existing Courses

An existing course that undergoes a significant change must be reviewed by the Course of Study Committee. All other course changes are reviewed by the University Registrar’s Office before they are published in Yale Course Search. All changes are submitted using the same CIM form used to submit new course proposals.

The Course of Study Committee must review an existing course if:

  • The course format changes. For example, a course that was originally approved by the CSC with a lecture format (with a standard lecture time pattern and required work appropriate for a lecture course) that is changing to a seminar course (with limited enrollment, a standard seminar meeting time, and a different pattern of work expected of the students) must be resubmitted to the committee. Conversely, a seminar becoming a lecture course must also be resubmitted.
  • A department requests the addition of a graduate or professional school number to an undergraduate course. All courses requesting joint undergraduate/graduate status must answer two questions on the CIM form that explain why a dual level would be appropriate.

Course Titles and Course Descriptions

The Course of Study Committee and the editors of the YCPS also have within their charge the editing of course titles and course descriptions to conform to a consistent standard.

The title of a course should be both descriptive and succinct. Course titles need to make evident the focus or method of the course, whether to students searching online databases for keywords, to colleagues in other departments serving as advisers, or to graduate admission committees, fellowship commissions, or potential employers seeking to establish the nature of the student’s program of study. Titles longer than thirty characters, including spaces, are abbreviated to fit on transcripts; consideration of the clarity of a thirty character transcript title is important for long and descriptive YCPS titles.

Course descriptions should be between fifty and two-hundred words, and should focus on what will be taught in the course rather than on observations or general statements about a field or discipline. Descriptions are lightly edited for clarity and in keeping with YCPS style by changing future tense to present tense and keeping the description to one paragraph.