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Policy: Course Proposal Review

Policy detailing the course proposal review process, including the purpose, standards, and responsibilities.

Course Proposal Review

Policy Number


Responsible Office

Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research


University Policy


The review of course proposals is a shared responsibility, the intent of which is to broadly communicate curricula, offer feedback, enhance the quality of instruction, and meet certain standards. This policy outlines the requirements for the review of course proposals.


All course proposals are subject to at least three levels of review and approval:

  1. The academic unit that owns the subject listing where the course is being proposed.
  2. The academic division that owns the academic unit.
  3. The University Curriculum Committee (UCC).

Some course proposals may require an additional approval step, e.g., course attributes.

It is expected that at each level, respective members will, in good faith, review the entire proposal in the context of their departmental, school/college, and university policies and standards.

Cross-listed courses are owned equally by all cross-list partners and each partner must approve the proposal before it advances to the next level. Subject owners with courses that may share content with the proposed course will be notified by Lumen of the course proposal but are not required to approve it.

Course Proposer Responsibilities

Department Review and Approval

School or College Review and Approval

Special Review and Approval

University Curriculum Committee Review and Approval

Boundaries of Academic Disciplines

Course Proposer Responsibilities

The proposer of the course, or a delegate, is responsible for completing all required course proposal form components in Lumen for action by the department chair. Once the form is submitted, the proposer is responsible for monitoring the progress of the proposal, responding to questions and requests for additional information, and resolving issues. From the time the proposal is initiated, the proposer has six months to submit the proposal for review. A completed proposal must receive full approval within one year of submission. If not fully approved within one year, the proposal will be canceled and removed from Lumen.

Department Review and Approval

Subject listings are owned by departments or department-like units within the schools and colleges. Per UW-805 Faculty Policies and Procedures Chapter 5 – Departmental Faculties, the chair of the department has responsibility for submitting new courses, major revisions of existing courses, and deletion of courses proposed by the department for action by the school/college and the UCC. The chair may delegate responsibility for course proposal review to a departmental curriculum committee. Course proposals must be thoroughly reviewed by the department that owns the subject(s) that will house the proposed course.

Approval of a course by a department/subject owner is an attestation by the department to the following:

  • The course is of value to the educational mission.
  • The course meets a student-learning need.
  • The department has the resources to offer the course on a regular basis.
  • The course meets the policy and quality standards of the department and the university.
  • The course meets subject-specific accreditation standards, if applicable.

The department review must:

  • Determine whether the content of the course is substantially similar to that of another course in the course catalog.
  • Confirm the course is appropriate for the subject listing.
  • Ensure the title of the course accurately conveys the purpose or content of the course, is not already in use in the Guide, and will be searchable for students who use keywords.
  • Ensure the course description clearly and accurately describes the content of the course in a concise manner.
  • Verify any course requisites are appropriate, complete, meet campus standards, and include cross-listed and equivalent courses.
  • Ensure the course fulfills an unmet need, is aligned with program or university learning outcomes, and/or meets a degree/major or certificate requirement.
  • Ensure the department has the resources to offer the course on a regular basis.
  • Verify the proposal clearly meets the standards of the credit-hour policy.

Approval by the department is an indication that the department or program’s faculty, via an appropriate approval body such as a curriculum committee, has approved the course and agrees to support it.

School or College Review and Approval

The next level of review is by the school/college. In addition to affirming that the department-level review is complete, the school/college curriculum committee must:

  • Determine whether all appropriate academic units have reviewed the proposal, including units in other schools/colleges with overlapping content or interest in using the course in a program they offer.
  • Determine whether the department considered the course in the broader university context.
  • Verify the course adheres to school/college and university policies.
  • Verify the course meets the standards of the credit-hour policy.
  • Ensure learning outcomes align with the intended audience and purpose of the course.
  • Ensure the course fulfills an unmet need at the university.

Approval by the school or college curriculum committee is an indication that the school/college approves the academic merits of the course and of the decision of the department/program faculty to offer it. Generally, courses are offered within existing departmental/program resources, and dedication of new school/college-level resources or assignment of course scheduling preferences are not conveyed by this approval unless specified in the proposal.

Special Review and Approval

A review of course proposals with specific content or course attributes may be required when, for example, a course attribute is requested. In cases where such review takes place, the review body is responsible only for the aspects of the proposal that relate to the attribute.

University Curriculum Committee Review and Approval

The successive levels of review allow for evaluating broader contexts. As stipulated in UW-806 Faculty Policies and Procedures Chapter 6 – Faculty Committees, the final level of review and approval is by the UCC. It is assumed that proposals that reach this level have been refined during the departmental and school/college reviews and require few or no corrections.

The UCC will consider only complete course proposals. Proposals with missing information will be returned to the school/college. The UCC will focus on:

  • The broader context, which may identify trends related to potential policy inadequacies.
  • Potential conflicts of interest or course overlap that may not be apparent to individual schools or colleges.

The UCC bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that courses meet all university policies.

Review and approval by the UCC signals that a course:

  • Is ready to be offered to students.
  • Meets university curricular policy requirements, including the credit hour policy.
  • Has been endorsed by the department and the school/college, and they are committed to delivering it with established quality standards.

Boundaries of Academic Disciplines

The UCC expects that those submitting a course proposal will consult with the subject listing units that offer courses with similar content or learning outcomes. The course proposal form includes a field for indicating those subject owners. The Lumen Course Proposal System automatically notifies the department chair and designees of those units and offers the opportunity to review and comment on the proposal (either by contacting the proposer and/or entering a comment on the proposal). If relevant subject listing units are not entered by the proposer, the proposal will not be approved by the UCC.

The UCC expects that this process will provide appropriate notification for potential impingement across academic disciplines. Any contentions related to these boundaries are to be resolved by the involved subject listing units and/or among the schools and colleges that house those subject listing units. If resolution at the department or school/college level is not achieved, the issue will be considered by the UCC.

Related UW–Madison Documents, Web Pages, or Other Resources

Approval Authority

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Policy Manager

Vice Provost for Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research


Associate Director, Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research -- Michelle Young, MEYOUNG@WISC.EDU, (608) 262-2143
Source: View policy UW-1072 in the UW-Madison Policy Library

Keywordscourse proposal, responsibilities, review process, course review, course proposal, subject approver, roles   Doc ID116438
OwnerMelissa S.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2022-02-02 11:16:44Updated2024-07-10 08:37:21
SitesAcademic Planning
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