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 Yale College courses are reviewed by the Course of Study Committee (CSC), as are previously taught courses returning to the curriculum after an absence of more than seven years. Existing courses requesting a format change, credit value change, and/or addition of a graduate number also require CSC review.

Proposals for New Courses

The success of the Committee’s work depends upon the careful review of the course proposal by the directors of undergraduate studies. Obviously, the members of the Committee cannot be experts in all fields of instruction; they must place great trust in the thoroughness and diligence of the DUS, whose approval is taken as representing the considered judgment of the department or program. Therefore, in the event that the DUS is the instructor of the proposed course, the chair of the department or program should submit the CIM form (and, conversely, the DUS should submit the form if the chair is the instructor). The Committee’s responsibility is to ask such questions as: “Is this an appropriate subject of instruction for credit in Yale College?”; “Does the work required represent roughly one-thirty-sixth of what a student ought to do to earn a bachelor’s degree?”; and “Are the title and description sufficiently clear to give a student, particularly one from outside the major, a reasonably good sense of what the course is about?” Sometimes the secretary or the chair of the Committee will return a course proposal to you asking for clarification or a revision. In such a case, you are asked to exercise patience and tolerance in the face of what might sometimes appear to be the Committee’s lack of knowledge.

Once approved by CSC, the courses are submitted for faculty approval at the monthly faculty meetings. The Yale College Faculty meets on the first Thursday of each month during term time, except in September and January. 

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

  • The title and a brief description (200 words or less) of the course.
  • 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.
  • A provisional syllabus. Instructors teaching at Yale College for the first time should also include a curriculum vitae 

 The Course of Study Committee uses the following guidelines in reviewing new course proposals:

  • Instructors must provide students with feedback on their academic progress prior to midterm (week 7).
  • Instructors should 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 coursework rules and guidelines, see Midterm Feedback in Courses, Final Examinations, and Course Requirements in the Instructors’ Handbook.

The CIM form includes a question regarding academic integrity, 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 Poorvu website. Instructors should include the statement on academic integrity submitted on the CIM form on the course syllabus. In addition, the CSC strongly encourages all instructors to include on every syllabus a link to the Writing Center’s recommendations for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

Changes in Existing Courses

An existing course that undergoes a significant change must be reviewed by the Course of Study Committee. Any course that hasn't been offered within the last seven years must also be reviewed by the 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. 
  • A department requests the addition of a graduate or professional school number to an undergraduate course. 
  • Changes to a course record are significant enough that the student could enroll in the course and learn new information. In this instance, a new course proposal, with a different course number should be submitted.