Course Proposal Information



Permanent Courses

New permanent courses (including courses transitioning from experimental to permanent status) must complete the Faculty Senate approval process.

Course proposals must be submitted for Faculty Senate review through the UMass Course and Curriculum Management System. This system will navigate the course through all of the workflow steps necessary for it to receive final approval and be scheduled by the Registrar.

Proposals for new courses that will include a General Education, Honors, or International Program designation can be submitted as a single proposal that includes all of the forms required for evaluating the proposed course and designations. For information on General Education designations, please visit the General Education website.

Permanent undergraduate courses are numbered x00- x95, with the x94 numbers now reserved for Integrative Experience courses, x98 (for practicum courses), or x99. The x90 numbers are used for experimental courses, the x96 numbrs for Independent Study or Directed Readings, and the x97 numbers for special topics seminars.  These are approved and scheduled by departments and programs.  Please see the guide to course numbering and listing of current course rubrics below for more information.

Proposals for permanent courses must be approved at the following levels, all of which are handled via the online system:

Department Curriculum Committee (or equivalent body)
Department Head or Chair
College Curriculum Committee (or equivalent body)
Dean of the School or College
Graduate Dean (for courses numbered 500 or above)
Faculty Senate (In general, undergraduate courses are reviewed by the Academic Matters Council; graduate courses by the Graduate Council; courses applying for Honors, Gen Ed, or International Program designation will also be reviewed by the appropriate councils)
Provost's Office

Experimental Courses
Departments are authorized to offer courses on an experimental basis following an abbreviated approval process, and proposers of permanent courses are encouraged to offer the courses on an experimental basis prior to and/or during the review process for permanent approval. Experimental courses are given a -90(alpa) course number (e.g., 190A, 290R, 390B, etc.). Proposals for experimental courses must receive the following approvals, all of which are handled via the online system:

Department Head or Chair
Dean of the School or College
Secretary of the Faculty Senate

Following approval, an experimental course may be taught only three (3) times without establishing permanent course status.

Other Courses
Although most courses go through the Faculty Senate approval process, some specific types of courses are exceptions. Independent Study and Directed Readings courses (courses with numbers ending in -96) and Special Topics courses (ending in -97) are approved at the departmental level. Practicum courses (ending in -98) and theses credits (-99) need to be approved as permanent courses, and proposals should include clear statements regarding their basic components.

Making Changes to an Existing Course
Once approved, a course is not frozen in time; faculty can propose minor or major changes to an existing course as circumstances warrant. Minor changes entail an abbreviated approval process but are only applicable under very particular circumstances, described below. Major changes to a course entail a more thorough workflow process involving appropriate Faculty Senate councils. To make either a minor or major change to a course, please use the UMass Course and Curriculum Management System.

Definition of Minor Changes:
A minor course change is appropriate for the following circumstances:
1) a change of the number assigned to a course;
2) a non-substantive change to a course’s title (such as when the terminology of a discipline changes);
3) a change of course credit up to one credit; and
4) a change of course prerequisites.
5) an agreement to cross-list a course among two or more departments and/or programs

Occasionally, the splitting of a course may be considered a minor change; the Secretary of the Faculty Senate, in conjunction with the Rules Committee, will determine whether the splitting of a particular course is a minor change or will require review as a course modification.

The purpose of the minor course change procedure is to allow flexibility in and development of the curriculum as disciplines and methodologies evolve, but not to circumvent the approval procedures for new courses. Minor changes may be approved without review by any curriculum committee or council. Requests for approval to change the title or number of a course or to designate a course as pass/fail require the approval of the Department Head/Chair, the Dean of the School or College, the Dean of the Graduate School (for courses numbered 500-999), the Secretary of the Faculty Senate, and the Provost or designee.