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 (CSC), 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. There is a quick video tutorial, How to Submit a Yale College Course Proposal, on the Registrar's website. After completing the course proposal form, click the “Start Workflow” button at the bottom of the form to begin workflow for the course review process. The course proposal form is then sent automatically to your DUS for approval and then ultimately to the Course of Study Committee. The CSC reviews the course proposal and then alerts both you and your DUS via email of its approval or requests for more information. 

Most helpful 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 suitable for publication in Yale Course Search.
  • A list of required course materials and principle readings organized by week or topic, including approximate page count for readings.
  • A provisional syllabus. Anyone teaching at Yale College for the first time is also asked to attach to the CIM form a curriculum vitae as well as a syllabus. 
  • A specific indication of the nature and amount of work required of the student (see below). 
  • The suggested meeting time pattern. Information about standard time patterns is available under Course Time Patterns. Specific days and times are not required in the CIM form. First-time instructors are encouraged to meet twice a week for seventy-five minutes.

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

  • Instructors must provide students with feedback on their academic progress prior to midterm (week 7).
  • Instructors should assign no more than 25 pages of formal writing. Writing assignments such as weekly reading responses, blog posts, and creative writing are not necessarily included in the 25 pages of formal writing.
  • 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.
  • No final examination or assignment 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 the reading period. Term papers and term projects are to be submitted by the last day of the final examination period.

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

The CIM form includes a question regarding academic integrity. 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, as well as an academic integrity statement.

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. Any courses that newly introduce asynchronous components must also be reviewed by the CSC. 
  • 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.
  • The instructor would like a distributional designation (HU, SO, WR, QR, SC, L5) assigned to the course.

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.