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Academic Subject Listings (Curricular Subject)

A central location for all KB information related to Subject listings.


Course Subject Listings

Policy Number


Responsible Office

Data, Academic Planning & Institutional Research


University Policy


This policy defines the parameters by which course subject listings are established, renamed, reorganized, and/or discontinued. The purpose of this policy is to ensure disciplinary and curricular consistency across the university’s Course Subject Listings.


Each course subject listing is associated with an academic unit that is responsible for the subject listing.

A proposal to establish, rename, restructure, and/or discontinue a course subject listing must be reviewed and approved by the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) and subsequently presented to the University Academic Planning Council (UAPC) for consent.

Establishing a Course Subject Listing

A proposal for a new course subject listing must be submitted via Lumen Structures. The proposal must identify the academic unit for the course subject listing and must include the following:

  • How/why the proposed course subject listing is necessary to support course enrollment by students.
  • A list of the courses anticipated to be included in the new course subject listing.
  • Most courses are to be uniquely offered under the new course subject listing. Some cross-listed courses can be included when applicable. An explanation as to how the courses to be included in the course subject listing represent a distinct group of courses not duplicated in an existing course subject listing.
  • Evidence that the academic unit is stable with a long-term academic and resource foundation.
  • Evidence of faculty and staff expertise, continuity, and availability required to maintain a course subject listing.
    • This includes identification of a curricular representative who is trained and responsible for maintaining the course subject listing and coordinating/managing the following:
      • Course details (e.g., requisites) and the schedule of classes, and
      • Course information for the Course Search and Enroll app,
      • Communication to students and advisors, and
      • Course enrollment, and/or
      • Classroom scheduling.
  • Evidence that department faculty will be involved in course instruction.

If the proposed course subject listing overlaps with established course subject listings, e.g., a related field of study or similar curricular content, a similar name, etc., the proposal must be reviewed by the academic division and academic unit associated with the existing listing(s), and documentation of comment, support, or concurrence must be included in the proposal.

Renaming, Reorganizing, or Discontinuing a Course Subject Listing

A proposal to rename, reorganize, or discontinue a course subject listing must be submitted via Lumen Structures. If approved, the proposal will become effective in a future summer term. The proposal must include the following:

  • The rationale for the action, including the impact on students.
  • A timeline for the action, including in which summer term it will become effective.
  • Details on any fiscal considerations and/or impacts on faculty and staff resources.
  • Evidence of consultation with units with overlapping interests (see above).
  • Necessary approvals from the academic division and academic unit.

Cross-Listed Courses

A cross-listed course is shared by multiple course subject listings. There is no requirement that a course be cross-listed, even when it meets the criteria for cross-listing. Cross-listing is generally reserved for courses that are taught with an inter-or multi-disciplinary framework and that appropriately belong in multiple subject listings. There may be occasions when cross-listing courses serve the broader goals of departments/programs, and since the responsibility for managing their Course Subject listings rests on these units, they bear responsibility for determining the proper use of cross-listing.

The following conditions are expected to be met for cross-listed courses:

  1. All course information related to the cross-listed courses must be identical, including course number, title, credits , requisites, and attributes.
  2. Cross-listed courses are owned equally by each cross-listed subject. One subject is not a “primary” owner.
  3. Faculty associated with a department owning the Course Subject Listing in the cross-listing teach the course.
  4. Any of the departments participating in the cross-listing has the potential to offer the course independently.
  5. The subject matter must be appropriate and relevant to fields represented by the participating departments.

Connections between programs and interests must be sufficient for cross-listing courses across subject listings. The cross-listing of courses increases the complexity of scheduling classes and adds to staff workload. This must be taken into consideration prior to the submission of a proposal for cross-listing.

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

Effective Date

Source: View policy UW-1027 in the UW-Madison Policy Library


Considerations of changes

Subject changes require ample lead-time for changes due to the financial considerations and should be thoughtfully planned. For more information on things to think about related to revising the long description of a subject, see the Considerations for Department, Academic Program, and Subject Listing Name Changes KB.

Proposals and Governance

Course subject listings (curricular subjects) are considered a part of the academic structure. Proposals must be submitted through Lumen Structures (requires authentication).

Proposals are reviewed and must be approved by:

  1. Department(s) approval
  2. School/College(s) approval
  3. University Curriculum Committee approval
  4. University Academic Planning Council (consent)
  5. UW-System/OPAR (notification)
  6. Registrar (implementation)

See the Lumen Structures KB for specifics on how to fill out the form.

Timing of proposals (effective dates)

  • Subject changes must always be effective for a summer term.
  • The effective term of the change proposal hinges on the term roll for scheduling courses. Once the term roll happens, no additional changes to a subject may be made.
  • Changes to subjects are typically 1 year+ out from when the proposal is approved through governance.
Listing the terms when governed changes may take effect.
Academic year governance approved the change The summer term the change is effective
2023-2024 2025 (1256)
2024-2025 2026 (1266)
2025-2026 2027 (1276)
2026-2027 2028 (1286)
2027-2028 2029 (1296)
2028-2029 2030 (1306)
2029-2030 2031 (1316)
2030-2031 2032 (1326)
2031-2032 2033 (1336)
2032-2033 2034 (1346)
2033-2034 2035 (1356)

Note: A proposal to only change the subject long description may be able to take effect sooner than 1+ year out. Contact DAPIR for consideration (

Communication to UW-System

The UW-Madison CDR liaison (DAPIR) provides official communication to UW-System of new or notification of changes/discontinuations to Academic Curricular Subjects. See the Procedures: Administrative Communication and Implementation about Academic Subjects KB for more information on the process.

Communication to UW System/OPAR via UW-Madison CDR liaison is required for:

  • New Subjects
  • Subject Changes
    • UW-System/OPAR needs notification when a change in subject long description or UDDS (dept) occurs.
  • Subject Discontinuation

Timing of updates in SIS related to CDR reporting

Due to the SIS cross-walk tables, changes to academic/curricular subjects must be implemented in SIS after the Office of the Registrar submits the CDR for the semester and prior to the effective date of the change. See the Procedures: Administrative Communication and Implementation about Academic Subjects KB for more information on the process.

Historical (imaged proposals)

Historical proposals for academic subject listings are available in the Imaged Academic Planning repository. Academic Planners in the schools/colleges have access through this viz (requires VPN): Imaged Academic Planning Documents.

    Keywordsacademic subject, course listing, subject listing, subjects, courses, curricular, course subject listing, lumen structures, structures   Doc ID116661
    OwnerMelissa S.GroupAcademic Planning
    Created2022-02-10 12:36:49Updated2024-06-26 13:53:34
    SitesAcademic Planning, Lumen and Guide
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