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Graduate Course Proposal Submission

All graduate course proposals must be initiated in CourseLeaf Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) - Course Management, and all consultation on each course proposal must be obtained via CIM. No hardcopy submission of graduate course proposals is required at any point in the Graduate Council curricular review process.

After a course proposal has been approved through the program-specific and college-specific curricular reviews and reviewed by the Director of Graduate Council Administration, it will be included on the next meeting agenda of the Graduate Council Joint Curricular Committee. After each Joint Curricular Committee meeting, feedback from the Committee is entered directly into the course proposal in CIM and the proposal is returned to the proposer via CIM for further action. The proposer’s response via CIM is required.

Some course change proposals and all course drop proposals undergo expedited review on behalf of the Joint Curricular Committee. The timing of this review is not dependent upon the monthly meeting dates of the Joint Curricular Committee. However, if there are any issues or concerns about these proposals, they may be forwarded to the co-chairs or the Joint Curricular Committee for full review.

After approval by the Graduate Council Joint Curricular Committee, course proposals are published in the Graduate Council Curriculum Report; a 30-day comment period follows publication. New courses are effective the semester following the expiration of the comment period. The timing of when course changes can be effective is determined by the Registrar’s office based on the timetable for scheduling courses.

Sample Course Proposal

A sample course proposal is below, with guidelines for filling out each section. As a general rule, avoid excessive use of discipline-specific jargon, as the Joint Curricular Committee comprises faculty from disciplines across the University. Course proposals need to be clear and comprehensible to a general audience.

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Academic Level: Graduate

Proposal Summary: Provide a concise summary of the proposal that will be included in the email notification to consultants and reviewers so they can judge if they need to review the full proposal.

Principal Faculty Member: John Doe
This individual must be a member of the Graduate Faculty.

Were any other faculty members responsible for the development of the course?: No
If yes, list the additional faculty members. These individuals must also be members of the Graduate Faculty.

Proposers Home College: Liberal Arts
The home college in which the Principle Faculty Member hold membership on the Graduate Faculty. This field will determine the choices for Proposer's Home Unit (if needed).

College: Liberal Arts
This may be the same as the proposer’s home college but can be different. This field will determine the choices for Unit that will initially offer the course (if needed). Select the college that will initially offer the course.

Unit: English (UPLA_ENGL)
Select the unit that will initially offer the course. Only units from the selected college above will appear in the drop down menu.

Graduate Program Head: Jane Doe
Must be the Graduate Program Head or Director of Graduate Studies/Professor-in-Charge of the graduate program as listed in the Graduate Program Management System (GPMS).

Is this proposal for a common course: No
In most cases, proposals for common course numbers (590, 594, 595, 596, 597, 598, 599, 600, 601, 602, 603, 610, 611, 890, 894, 895, 896, 897, 898, 899) only need to provide the Course Designation, Course Information, and Long Course Description. The course title and the abbreviated title should both be the title of the common course, the minimum and maximum credits should match the credits listed here, and the course should be repeatable. The Short Description and the Long Course Description should be copied from the Common Course Numbers descriptions. Enter "N/A" in the other sections. However, any course proposal for a capstone course that will be used as the culminating experience for the degree (including 894 Capstone Experience) must have responses for all fields so the Joint Curricular Committee can review and evaluate it appropriately.

Course Abbreviation: ENGL
Faculty are encouraged to use disciplinary course abbreviations already in existence. Course abbreviations should not be campus/college specific. A new course abbreviation should not be created for one or two courses within a minor.

Course Number: 571
Note the difference between 500- and 800-level courses. Graduate courses at the 500-level foreground research in the frontiers of knowledge in a field of study, while those at the 800-level foreground the application of theory and research to professional practice in a field of study.

Justification of Course Number: Explain how the course fulfills the requirements of a 500- or 800-level course, based on specific reference to the  definitions of 500-level and 800-level courses outlined in GCAC-204 Graduate Council Graduate Course Definitions.

Title: Writer in the Community
There is no character limit for Course Title. Avoid using the term “Introduction,” which is not appropriate for graduate-level work, and the term “Advanced,” as graduate-level courses, by definition, are advanced. “Foundations in [Topic]” would be appropriate for the first course in a sequence. To indicate a foundational course and a course that follows on the same topic, titles such as “[Topic] I” and “[Topic] II” would be appropriate.

Abbreviated Title: Writer in Community
The Abbreviated Title field is restricted to 30 characters or fewer. The abbreviated title will appear on students’ transcript and should be as informative as possible within that constraint.

This course will be delivered: In Residence
Indicate whether the course will be delivered in residence, off-site, or online. More than one option can be selected. Off-site means either at a Penn State location that is not a graduate center approved to offer a graduate degree, or at a non-Penn State location.

Min Credits: 3         Max Credits: 3
The number of credits this course may be scheduled for each time it is scheduled. For a fixed credit course, the MIN and MAX are the same (e.g., MIN: 3 and MAX: 3) and it can only be scheduled for that number of credits. For a variable credit course, the MIN and MAX are different and the number of credits for each scheduled iteration of the course can vary within the MIN and MAX parameters.
If the course is intended to be a variable credit course, in the Proposal Summary, explain why the course is proposed with variable credits. The Major Topics and Evaluation Methods sections must also include sections for each possible credit variation.
Repeatable: No
Most courses are not repeatable. This is typically used for courses such as independent study, research courses, music ensembles, etc. If the course is repeatable, enter the total maximum credits a student can apply to degree requirements by repeating this course.
Does This Course Have an Overnight Travel Component? No
Select this only if the course has overnight travel included as part of the course. Field trips without an overnight do not apply. If yes, describe the travel component.
Cross-Listed Courses: Each course abbreviation must use the same course number for the cross-listed course. It is not necessary to submit separate proposals for each course abbreviation in order to cross-list a course; only one course proposal is required. Keep in mind that each program that agrees to cross-list a course is accepting equal and full responsibility for the course and for offering it on a regular basis. Cross-listed courses are identical in all LionPATH listings and for purposes of degree requirements.
Prerequisite Courses: Prerequisites are courses or other requirements that must be completed prior to the start of a given course. Only existing Penn State course abbreviations and numbers of courses at the 400-level or higher may be listed as prerequisites for graduate courses. Enter course prerequisites using the fields below. Courses that are recommended to be taken prior to enrolling in this course but not required should be entered in the Recommended Preparation section below.
Concurrent Courses: Concurrent Courses are similar to prerequisites except that they may be taken prior to, or in the same semester as, the given course.
Corequisite Courses: Corequisite courses are pairs of courses required to be taken together in the same semester (e.g. lecture/lab).
Recommended Preparation: This text will appear in the Bulletin to alert students to preparatory skills or companion courses deemed useful, but not necessary, for successful completion of a course. Recommended preparation for a course does not affect whether or not a student can register for that course.
Public Course Description for Bulletin & Schedule of Courses: The Public Course Description will be made available to students through the online Bulletin and Schedule of Courses. This description is in essence an advertisement for potential students informing them of what the course is about, what they will learn, and what they may be expected to do.
It must encompass all course sections at all locations over a period of time and therefore must focus on the common and durable aspects of the course. Information that is specific only to a particular instructor, such as evaluation methods and course assignments, should not be included. If the course is offered in multiple relatively stable formats, each may be described. The description should not include specific course abbreviations and numbers, as these are subject to change. Non-credit courses are not published to the online Bulletin.

The following prose may be helpful:

  • This course provides a broad exploration of XXX (course content).
  • In particular, it investigates XX (major topics).
  • It considers XX and builds an awareness of XX, especially in relation to XX (sub-topics).
  • Building on these insights, students will conduct XX and apply XX to XX (learning outcomes).
  • Students will recognize, identify, and apply XX to XX (learning outcomes).
Course Learning Objectives: The Course Learning Objectives should define what the student is expected to learn and what skills the student will develop. State the instructional objectives of the course that form the basis for making inferences about student learning. The objectives must be measurable; refer to the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence’s General Goals and Explicit Objectives for examples of how to write a measurable learning objective. Link each of the objectives listed in this section to the evaluation method in the next section that will assess whether the student has achieved the objective.

The following prose may be helpful:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • recognize and identify XX in relation to XX.
  • demonstrate a basic understanding of XX.
  • discriminate between XX and XX.
  • analyze XX and apply that analysis to XX.
How will the Course Learning Objectives be assessed?: A description of how the instructional objectives listed above will be assessed. The procedures for determining students’ grades should be specifically identified.
  • Include percentages per evaluation method to total 100%. For percentages within a category (2 quizzes totaling 20%, for example), note whether these will be weighted equally to total that percentage.
  • Make sure percentages are appropriately weighted (e.g., quizzes should count for less than major research papers).
  • Do not include class attendance as an evaluation method in graduate courses; however, class participation is a legitimate method of evaluation.
  • Do not include office hours as an evaluation method.
  • Make sure evaluation methods are not unique to the faculty member proposing the course, but can be used by any faculty member teaching the course in the future.
A listing of the major topics to be covered with an approximate length of time allotted for their discussion: Proposers should enter the approximate length of time allotted for each topic in hours, rather than in weeks or number of lectures.
  • A typical 3-credit course requires 45 hours of instruction. See Senate Policy 42-23 Credit Requirements by Types of Instruction.
  • Bullet the major topics covered with sub-topics underneath each.
  • Do not include course readings or specifics, only major topics and relevant subtopics.
  • Include time allotted for exams, if applicable. Note that end-of-semester exams worth more than ten percent of the course grade must be held during the final examination period, not during the 15 weeks of instruction.
Relationship/Linkage of Course to Other Courses: Explain how this course relates to existing or proposed new courses. Explain whether the course requires any prerequisites or can serve as a prerequisite for other courses. If the answer is no, please state that: “This course has no formal prerequisites and does not serve as a formal prerequisite for any other course.” If there is any overlap of content with existing permanent courses, explain how the proposed course differs from and complements those courses.

The following prose may be helpful:

  • This course will serve as a prerequisite for XX degree program, or XX concentration in department XX.
  • This course builds on content covered in XX and XX courses and enables student to do XX.
Relationship of the Course to the Major, Minor, or Option: Explain how the course will contribute to any major, option, or minor (specify which) and indicate how it may function as a service course for other programs. State whether the course is required and, if so, in what degree program(s) or if the course is an elective. If a course is indicated as required that has not previously been required in a particular degree program, a program change proposal will be required.

The following prose may be helpful:

  • This course addresses the needs of increasing numbers of students interested in XX.
  • This course will be a requirement for the XX degree program in YY.
  • It will serve as an elective for the XX degree program in YY(s).
  • It will also attract students in other programs. List these other programs, and make sure the program heads are consulted.

Frequency of Offering and Enrollment: Indicate how many students are expected to enroll and how often the course will be taught.

Notes for Reviewers: If the proposers have any additional information about the proposal to share with reviewers throughout the review process, please include it here.

Consultation: Consultation requests are made directly in CIM. Consultation should be requested from all units with a known interest in the subject field. Consultation should also be requested from any other programs listed in the proposal as potentially affected by the course, preferably at the level of the program/department head. Some duplication of instruction is inevitable, but the Joint Curricular Committee is concerned with keeping such duplication to a minimum.

If consultants respond to the proposal with significant questions or concerns, these must be addressed by the proposers directly in the proposal in CIM.

For the initial round of consultation, add consultants and select “Include” for each. Use the green plus sign to add consultants, and the red x to remove them. The Consultant's Response field is selected by the Consultant.

For later rounds of consultation, the existing consultants can be either Included or Excluded depending on whether they should be consulted again. For consultants being added for the first time, “Include” must be selected.

Links Related to Curricular Review

For additional information or to request consultation on a proposal, contact the Director of Graduate Council Administration.

This page was generated on June 16, 2024 at 6:52 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.