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Course Proposals

New Course Proposals

Before proposing a new course, make sure that a similar course is not already being offered by another academic unit.  If there is any potential overlap with an existing course, it is important to coordinate with the other unit prior to submitting your proposal and obtain a letter of support. Also, if the course has prerequisites offered by another unit, it is important to obtain an agreement with the unit offering the prerequisite.

New course proposals should generate a sample syllabus using the Syllabus Builder.

The Teaching and Learning Commons in conjunction with the Provost's Office has developed a course design rubric to assist faculty with designing the highest quality courses.

Course Alterations

A course alteration should be used for the purpose of making a minor revision to the course's CIM entry. Course alterations undergo an expedited review through a shortened workflow. Courses alterations that are deemed to have been submitted incorrectly will be rolled back to the initiator to resubmit as a course change.

Course Changes

Course changes are generally associated with a change in expected learning outcomes, a non-trivial change in course prerequisites, or a change in credit hours or course repeatability. Often, course changes are accompanied by a change in the course description or title.

Requesting that a course become a new GEF offering or changing GEF areas also constitute a course change.  See the Faculty Senate GEF webpage for more information about GEF courses.

Requesting a course to be considered as a capstone course is also a course change. Read the guidance for capstone courses.

Course Adoption

WVU locations (Morgantown, Keyser, and Beckley) that want to adopt a course currently being taught at another WVU location need to complete this request to ensure course harmonization.

Course Deactivation

Courses may be deactivated and removed from the Catalog. Once a course number is deactivated, it cannot be used again for three years. All courses that have been inactive for a period of seven years or longer will automatically be deactivated.

Course Elements

Subject Code and Number

Make sure the course level (100, 200, 300, etc.) reflects the appropriate level of learning for the course.


Pick a title that accurately reflects the content of the course; please see the guidelines posted on the Faculty Senate website. Please notice that the following titles and abbreviations are reserved: Advanced Topics (ADTP), Directed Study (Dir St), Honors (HNRS), Seminar (Sem), and Special Topics (SPTP).

There are two types of titles:

  • Full Title. This is the title that will appear in the course catalog. It should not contain any abbreviations, and is limited to 90 characters.
  • Transcript Title. This is the title that will appear on student transcripts and in the schedule of courses. It is limited to 30 characters.

If the full title does not exceed 30 characters, then both titles will be the same. If the full title exceeds 30 characters, then you will need to enter a transcript title (a box will automatically appear in the form). Per the guidelines, the transcript title may contain abbreviated words and should be similar to the full title (containing the same key words). Flexible Title Request

Flexible title courses allow departments the ability to offer a course that has not been approved by Faculty Senate with a permanent course number. This is done to allow courses to run on a trial basis, to accommodate a topic that is not required in the curriculum, or to allow a visiting instructor to teach a topic of particular interest. Flexible title courses are part of the common courses adopted by WVU. Therefore, these courses have the same credit hours and course description across campus regardless of the subject code. A specific flexible title course may only be added to the Schedule of Classes three times. To be offered additional times, the course would need to be approved with a permanent course number. Pre-requisites may not be added to these courses.

See the Office of the University Registrar to request a flexible title course.

Credit Hours and Repeatability

The number of credit hours associated with the course should accurately reflect the amount of expected work. See the guidelines posted for guidance on how to set the number of credit hours. The number of credit hours may be fixed or variable.

Courses may be designated as “repeatable” by checking the appropriate box. Repeatability means that the course can be counted multiple times for a program. For instance, a degree might require two units of a given course (typical for seminar courses in some programs), in which case it should be marked repeatable.

Note that any course can be attempted multiple times (for instance if a student fails it, or if the student gets a D and wants to D/F repeat it) — the course should only be marked as “repeatable” if the program requires that it be taken multiple times.

Grade Mode

Select between “Normal grading mode” and “Pass/Fail grading mode."

Undergraduate courses taken on a pass/fail basis may only be used to satisfy free elective credit.

Courses used to satisfy specific college, school, department, major, minor or General Education requirements may not be taken pass/fail. Selecting the pass/fail grading mode removes all other grading options for the course (e.g.: audit, letter grade).

Selecting the normal grading mode defaults the course to letter grading but permits other grading options (pass/fail, audit).

In most cases, experiential education courses (e.g. standalone service learning courses, internships, teaching practicum) are offered Pass/Fail. However, departments and programs may request normal grading for experiential courses so long as the course proposal can demonstrate appropriate academic rigor.

Catalog Description

The course catalog description should reflect the topics covered by the course. The description should be concise, and is limited to 60 words. In writing the description, you should be consistent with the stylistic conventions used by your unit. In particular, consider the following issues:

  • It is not necessary to list the prerequisites in the description itself (the prerequisite is a separate field in the CIMS form, see below). For instance, it is not advisable to start the description: “This course builds upon concepts learned in ABC 101."
  • There is no need to list the title of the course, its course number, its subject code, the number of credit hours, its prerequisites, or its level in the course description.
  • Consider whether the description should be a complete sentence or a list of topics. Some units write their descriptions as full sentences (example: “This course examines the social, economic, and legal aspects of advertising”) while others simply write out a list of topics (example: “The social, economic, and legal aspects of advertising”). If full sentences are used, use the present tense; avoid the future progressive tense (“Students will study …”).
  • The description should be understandable to those not in the discipline. Avoid jargon. Acronyms and abbreviations should be defined.

Catalog Prerequisites

Enter the requisite courses in the Catalog Prerequisite field. There are three types of requisites:

  • Prerequisite: Course must be completed beforehand. Abbreviated “PR”.
  • Co-requisite: Course must be taken at the same time. Abbreviated “Coreq”.
  • Prerequisite or Concurrent: Course may be taken previously or at the same time. Abbreviated “PR or CONC”.

When there are multiple prerequisites, be clear in how they must be logically combined through the use of “or” and “and”. Use parenthesis for compound logic. Distinguish the requisite type by using the abbreviations “PR:”, “Coreq:” and “PR or CONC”.

A minimum grade may be specified. However, when you specify a minimum grade, be sure to end it with a minus (-). For instance “grade of C- or better” or “grade of B- or better”. It is not necessary to write “grade of D- or better”.

Example: “PR: MATH 101 with a grade of C- or better and (BIOL 101 or BIOL 103) and PR or CONC: MATH 102.”

Non-course prerequisites are possible, such as “Junior standing” or “History major”. However, such prerequisites will not be automatically checked by the registrar. To check for such prerequisites, the unit offering the course needs to set up the appropriate section-level restrictions when it is scheduled.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected learning outcomes document what skills students are expected to obtain once the course is completed. The focus should be on the outcome of the course, not the tasks required to achieve the outcome. Thus, “writing three technical papers” is not an outcome, though the ability to write a technical paper is.

Course learning outcomes should be clear, measurable, appropriate in number, appropriate to the degree level and appropriate to the course level. For help writing strong learning outcomes, see the Curriculum Committee's guide as well as the Teaching and Learning Commons' site.

Course learning outcomes should also be aligned with course learning activities and assessments.

Alignment with Program Learning Outcomes

Course learning outcomes and assessments should align with and support one or more program learning outcomes (as published in the Catalog).

What course learning outcomes and related assessments could be used to provide evidence in support of what particular program learning outcomes?


Submit a reference syllabus using the syllabus builder. This will ensure that the syllabus requires the minimum set of expected elements while excluding extraneous details not necessary for review in a course proposal.

In support of BOG Rule 2.5, proposal syllabi will be expected to show either how a minimum of 20% of the course's grade will be earned in time for reporting at mid-term or to provide a rationale for why that isn't possible. Instructors should also indicate what assignments will constitute the mid-term grade and what percentage of the total grade the mid-term grade represents.

Optional Statements

The use of Faculty Senate's approved syllabus statements located at the following website are optional: Syllabus Policies and Statements. However, if a statement is used, it must appear in the syllabus exactly as it is listed. Faculty may provide a link to the page itself in lieu of the statements themselves.

Overlap with Other Units

If the course has content that may be covered by another academic unit, you must attach documentation showing the agreement with the other academic unit.

Course Redundancy Process

A course will be determined to be redundant with another course at the institution if the Provost’s Office determines that there is significant overlap across the course’s student learning outcomes.

The following elements of the two courses will also be considered in determining redundancy:

  • Course title
  • Course description
  • Course level (could be taken by the same students)
  • Credit hours
  • Type of instruction (lecture, lab, studio)
Course Redundancy Rationale

Courses deemed to be redundant will then be required to provide a rationale for why the unit should be permitted to offer the redundant curricula. Rationales can include documented issues with:

  • Student success (DFW rates, success rates in subsequent courses, etc.)
  • Scheduling accessibility (access to necessary days, times, modalities, issues with permitting / restrictions)
  • Curricular accessibility (pre-requisites add time to degree completion)
  • Instructional capacity