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Course Proposal Help

An overview of all questions on the Lumen Course Proposal form.

Each section provides specific help and additional information for each question on the course proposal form.

Contact Info, Proposal Type, De-Crosslisting, Course ID, and Notes

Proposal Contact Information

The system assigns the contact information (email, phone number) based on the person who started the proposal. It may be changed if there is someone else who should be contacted with questions about the proposal. The email address and phone are based on university directory information and these fields are not editable; only employees provisioned in Lumen can be listed here. This should be the person who is the point of contact for the course.

The person who submits the proposal to workflow is the one who receives notification emails from workflow. This does not need to be the same person as listed in the contact listed in the

Type of Approval

  • Governance Approval Needed (default)
  • Administrative (admin use only; used for technical issues within the system)
  • Obsolete Course Process (admin use only; see the Obsolete Course Process documentation)
  • Obsolete Course Waiver (admin use only; see the Obsolete Course Process documentation)

The purpose of this proposal is to remove your subject from a cross-listed course.

This allows a subject to remove themselves as an active partner of a course. If this answer is switched to "yes", no other changes can be made to the course. If changes are made prior to answering "yes", the course proposal must be shredded so the only change is the de-cross-listing.

Course ID

Only appears for course change and deactivation proposals, this is the primary course identifier in the Student Information System (SIS). SIS assigns a course id once created. This cannot ever change.


This field houses information about exam equivalencies (AP, IB, etc.). Administrative use only.

Basic Catalog Information

First Available Term:  

The action of publishing the creation, changing, or deactivating of a course occurs three (3) times a year at the start of the fall, spring and summer terms. This is commonly referred to as the effective date or effective term.

On new proposals, select the first term listed in the dropdown, even if that's not the term when the course will be offered. This allows the course to be built in SIS and indicates when it can be used in curricular requirements in Guide, Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS), and the Graduate Student Tracking System (GSTS). Being built in SIS as soon as possible after approval allows seamless scheduling.

On change proposals, determine when that change must take effect:

    • A catalog number or subject change should go into effect for a fall term. This aligns with Guide publication and minimizes the need for program changes mid-year.
    • Does this change need to be in effect for the start of a cohort? Which term do those students start?
    • When will this course be scheduled?
    • Do these changes need to be implemented mid-year?
    • Do these changes have a large impact on the curriculum? If so, it's best to use a fall term.
    • It is possible to select a later term if there is a reason why the course should not appear in campus publications or be available for use in the Guide until a later date. Consult with DAPIR or indicate in the rationale why this term should be further in the future.

Deactivation proposals submitted will always be processed for the term in which the course is reviewed at the University Curriculum Committee, regardless of the term selected in the dropdown. This allows for appropriate data retention and minimizes proposals sitting in workflow until they can be processed. Deactivation proposals will never be processed if there is student enrollment. Deactivation proposals for a course that has enrollment which has already been approved for deactivation by the School/College will not be reviewed by the UCC until there is zero enrollment. The proposal will be rolled back to the School/College until the course can be reviewed and processed in the same term.

There are deadlines for when changes to an existing course may be made effective based on the publication of the Schedule of Classes. If the proposer has selected an effective term and the deadline has passed for that term, the proposal will be updated administratively for the effective term that is the first available at that point in time. The deadlines for the current academic year are published as part of the University Curriculum Committee meeting calendar.

Should this course have the graduate attribute?

If no is selected: the audience for the course is assumed to be undergraduate students and the course number will be restricted to 1 - 699 and the section of the form for course designations will be available.

If yes is selected the proposer must also indicate whether the course will:

    • Enroll undergraduates and graduate or professional students - the course number will be restricted to 300 - 699 and the section of the form for course designations will be available.
    • Enroll graduate or professional students only - the course number will be restricted to 300 - 999 and the section of the form for course designations will not be available. If the course is numbered below 700 the course requisites should limit the course to graduate or professional students.

The course requisites must align with the intended audience of the course.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Attribute for Graduate Level.


The selection of a subject in this field impacts the approval workflow for the proposal. While anyone can propose a course in any subject listing, all proposals must be approved by the department that owns the subject listing and the school or college that owns that department. The same is true with any cross-list partners that are selected.

Course number:

Must be between 1 and 999.

The course proposal system is programmed to display an error message if a selected course number is not available because it is currently in use or has been deactivated and had enrollment in the past 8 years (inclusive of transfer or study abroad). An error message will also appear of the course number does not align with the response to the graduate attribute question.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Numbers.

Is this course cross-listed? 

All cross-list partners:

    • must have the selected course number available for use
    • are considered equal partners in owning and maintaining the course (When a class is offered in a given term a "primary" is designated for scheduling and enrollment management purposes, this is distinct from the overall responsibility for the course which is shared equally.)

Proposers are asked to consider carefully whether it is necessary to cross-list a course. Please recognize that there are very few "good" reasons for cross-listing courses. Cross-listing is a vestige of a time when the class schedule (aka Timetable) and catalog were paper only and it was more difficult for students to search and find courses. Today, students use google and other search tools to locate what they are looking for using key words. Students are far more likely to find a course if the title and description contain the key words they are using in searches. Cross-listing does not give a subject/department "credit" in the budget allocation or other campus reporting systems. The interdisciplinary nature of many courses and the fact that there are over 180 subject listings also make it difficult to use subjects as an effective tool for categorizing and searching for courses.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (cross-listing).

Course Title:   

This field has a character limit of 100. This is the title that is used in Course Guide, Guide, Canvas and other campus systems and publications where space is not an issue. Titles should be unique in most situations. Exceptions would include independent/directed study and other similar courses where the title simply describes the basic activity of the course (ex. Research and Thesis, Directed Study etc.).

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Course Titles).

Transcript Title:   

This field has a character limit of 30. This is the title that appears on the student transcript.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Course Titles).

Course Description:  

This field has a character limit of 1000. The description should briefly and succinctly describe the content, purpose or primary skills developed in the course that will be common across all offerings of the course regardless of instructor.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Descriptions).


Populates with the text that describes the enforced requisite (aka requirement group) as coded in SIS. On a change proposal, revise the requisite text to represent the new required preparation for the course.

Requisites are the required academic preparation necessary to be successful in the course. This should not be used for enrollment management purposes.

Grading basis:   

This determines what options are available to the course instructor when entering final grades.

Available grading bases include:

    • A-F
    • Credit/No Credit
    • Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (Available for certain graduate-level courses only)
    • School of Veterinary Medicine grading option
Courses numbered 681 or 691 - Contact about the creation of or changes to courses with these numbers. There is an additional, small administrative step that is needed.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Grading Basis).

Component Type:  

Component types are used for scheduling and reporting purposes, they are not intended to describe the instructional methods of the course. If the course is exclusively online, select only a single component.

    • Lecture (LEC) - the most typically used component, covers most group instruction
    • Seminars (SEM) - generally these are small discussion oriented courses
    • Field Studies (FLD) - takes place in a work setting
    • Discussion (DIS) - attached to a lecture where the discussion is a subset of the lecture enrollment
    • Laboratory (LAB) - hands on learning 
    • Independent study (IND) - one-on-one instruction, no group instruction

Course Components that may be used in combination:

    • Lecture/Discussion
    • Lecture/Laboratory
    • Lecture/Discussion/Laboratory
    • Lecture/Laboratory/Field Studies
    • Laboratory/Discussion
    • Lecture/Field Studies

A course with a single meeting pattern (ex. MWF 8:50 - 9:40) would likely be either LEC, SEM or LAB etc. depending on the size and purpose. A course where a student needs to enroll in 2 components (ex. MWF 8:50 - 9:40 and one of several 1x/week sessions) would likely be LEC/DIS or LEC/LAB etc.

The sample syllabus must include information about all components selected.


UW-Madison has a credit hour policy that must be observed by all for-credit courses. This policy also applies to courses not just when they are proposed but each time they are offered.

Variable credit courses should be entered as #-# (ex. 3-4).

The syllabus provided must reflect the maximum credit offering.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Variable Credits).

Is this a topics course?  

All versions of a topics course with the same subject/course number combination must have a common set of learning outcomes. Additional learning outcomes may be added on a topic by topic basis.

For more information, see the Policy on Course Proposal Elements (Topics Courses).


Can a student successfully complete this course, for credit, more than once? 

Total completions:   

If a course is repeatable, what is the limit on the number of times it may be repeated for credit? This is represented in the number of times the student enrolls and completes a course (earning at least a D and thus receiving credit). The default is 99, enter this if the student may repeat the course for credit as many times as they choose.

Multiple enrollments:   

Commonly used with topics courses where each section represents a separate, stand alone course. Answering yes would allow an individual student to enroll in the course more than once in a given term. 

Does this course need a scheduled two-hour final exam for fall and spring offerings?  

This question appears only on new course proposals numbered 698 or lower because it is a required part of the course catalog entry in SIS. It is used by the Office of the Registrar and is not governance approved course information. It can be changed at a later date by contacting the Office of the Registrar.

Course Designations

This section of the form only appears when it is relevant to the course being proposed.

Type of honors designation (if any)  

A value should be selected ONLY if each and every time the course is offered it will have the selected honors designation. 

If the course will have an honors designation at the catalog level (on every section each and every time the course is offered) there are three options. If a value is selected the proposer will need to enter a brief rationale for having the designation. The sample syllabus should also reflect and support the selection of an honors designation.

Available Honors designations at the catalog level:

  • Honors Only Courses (This is administrative only. Contact DAPIR if you would like to use this value.)
  • Accelerated Honors
  • Honors Optional
It is also possible to add honors using a "section level" designation where the designation is applied to a specific offering of the course in a given semester. Oversight is the responsibility of the school/college honors program and is added each semester in the process of developing the Schedule of Classes.

Breadth attribute (if any)   

If a course has a breadth attribute it is always applied at the catalog level (on every section each and every time the course is offered).

The criteria for each breadth attribute.

If a value is selected the proposer will need to enter a brief rationale for having the attribute. The sample syllabus should also reflect and support the selection of a breadth attribute.

Should this course be considered for LAS credit?  

All proposals for courses in a subject listing owned by a department in the College of Letters and Science (L&S) (including subjects that are cross-list partners) will have this question defaulted to yes

If the proposal is for a course in a subject that is not in L&S, the proposer will have the option of setting the question to yes and requesting the LAS attribute. If this is selected the proposer will be asked to provide a brief rationale for having the attribute. The sample syllabus should also reflect and support the selection of the LAS attribute.

The criteria for the Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) attribute.

Select a level  

This does NOT appear if the response to the LAS credit question is no. If "Should this course be considered for LAS credit?" is set to yes then the proposer must also indicate a level and will be asked to provide a brief rational for the level attribute that is selected.

The criteria for the level attribute.

General Education: QRA, QRB, Comm A or Comm B (if any).

The criteria for the General Education Quantitative Reasoning or Communications attributes.

Communication A

Communication B (including section-level Com B)

Quantitative Reasoning A & B

Should this course be considered for the Ethnic Studies General Education attribute?  

Ethnic Studies is also part of the University General Education requirements but since it is stored as a separate attribute and may be available on a course that also has a Quantitative Reasoning or Communications attribute it is asked about in a separate question.

The criteria for the ethnic studies attribute.

If this is a foreign language course, indicate the level.   

This attribute is used to help undergraduate students identify the hundreds of courses offered that focus on learning to speak, understand, read and write a language other than English. 

If a foreign language level is selected the proposer will be asked to provide a brief rationale. The course requisites must align with the foreign language level selected.

For more information, see the Policy on the Course Attribute for Foreign Language.

Should this course have the workplace course attribute?   

This attribute helps undergraduate students identify courses that take the theories and concepts learned in the classroom and apply them in professional settings.

For more information, see the Policy on the Course Attribute for Workplace Experience.

Rationale for the Course

This section of the form is used to provide information about the purpose of the course and the role it will play in the curriculum. None of the information entered here is part of the catalog entry for the course. Each of the questions is intended to help proposal reviewers understand how the course will be used and why it is needed.

Why is this course being proposed? In responding to this question, be sure to answer the following: What gap in the curriculum is this course fulfilling? What is the purpose of the course? What degree and/or major requirement(s) will this fulfill?

This question is used by the reviewers of the proposal during the approval process. Indicating a specific degree/major etc. will not automatically add it to the requirements. Among other things, the purpose of this question is to explain the need for creating this course.

For course change proposals the questions are slightly different but the intention is the same. Address why the changes are needed and/or how the changes will address an identified problem or need.

What is the estimated enrollment for the course?

Understanding the intended size of the course it helpful in understanding how the course will be taught and the role it will play in the curriculum.

How many qualified instructors in the primary unit will be able to teach the course?

It is important to assure that the course is sustainable over time. If there is an insufficient number of regular faculty and instructional academic staff who are qualified to teach this course it is unlikely that the course will be taught regularly. For more information, see the Policy on Minimum Qualifications for Instructional Staff.

Address the relationship of the course to other UW-Madison courses, including the duplication of content, both inside and outside the primary unit.

It is recommended that the proposer search the Course Search and Enroll using key words, review of courses in related subject listings, etc. to make sure that the same or very similar course does not already exist. Failure to do so will slow down the approval process.

What subjects (if any) might be interested in this course?  

There is an expectation that subject owners will consult with other areas that offer similar or overlapping courses. Selecting subject listings here will notify the subject owner that this proposal has been submitted, however the approval of the subject owner is not part of the course proposal approval process. If the subject owner has questions or concerns about the proposal they may enter a comment which should be addressed as soon as possible by the course proposer. Failure to do so will slow down the approval process.

Course Content Information

Course Learning Outcomes 

Course learning outcomes at the catalog level are an integral part of the course and all outcomes must be a part of all offerings of the course (regardless of modality, term, instructor, section, credits, etc.). Learning outcomes are a governed element in the course proposal. Any course without learning outcomes, must add them. Revisions to the learning require a course proposal. The course learning outcomes are used in the learning management system (Canvas), course evaluations (AEFIS) and for student learning assessment.

Course learning outcomes state what students are expected to know or be able to do upon completion of a course. They may contribute, or map to, program learning outcomes, and are required in group instruction course syllabi. It is critical that the llearning outcomes are written in a way that they can be assessed. 

Course Learning Outcomes:
  • are clear, observable, and measurable
  • reflect how students will be assessed through activities such as participation, assignments, exams, etc.
  • typically relate to one or more program learning outcomes
  • meet the campus format requirements
  • must be 400 characters or less per learning outcome
  • must be in English
  • cannot have special characters (accents, umlats, etc.) in the Lumen Course Proposal. It is fine to use special characters etc. in the syllabus document.
  • cannot utilize formatting (bullets, dashes, etc.)
  • do not start with "Students will..." - this is assumed/implied

Information about UW-Madison course level learning outcomes policies and practices.

Watch a video about writing high quality learning outcomes.

Note: In the syllabus for a particular term, the instructor may add section level learning outcomes in addition to the governance-approved course learning outcomes.

Credit hours meet credit hour policy 

UW-Madison has a credit hour policy that must be observed by all for-credit courses. This policy applies to courses not just when they are proposed but each time they are offered. For more information, see the Policy on the Credit Hour.

Please upload a syllabus. 

Uploaded files may be in the .pdf or .docx file format. All new course and course change proposals require a sample syllabus that meets the university's syllabus requirements. A checklist of required items is included on the form to help proposers verify that they have included all required elements. Sample syllabi that do not include all required elements will not be reviewed by the University Curriculum Committee until all elements are included.

For more information, see the Policy on the Course Proposal Sample Syllabus Requirements.

Please provide additional information, as necessary, to further describe your course. 

In some instances it may be helpful to include additional information or documentation not otherwise required on the course proposal form.

Administrative Use

This section is for admins only.

CDR Level


The career should reflect the catalog number and/or audience.

    • 0-699 = Undergraduate
    • 700+ = Graduate
    • Courses using the MEDS career = Medical School

Exempt from Obsolete Course Process

  • transfer equivalencies
  • study abroad equivalencies
  • new independent study courses (generally all X99 numered courses)

Consent of Instructor

If the requisite is Consent of Instructor, select "Instructor Consent."

Practical Experience Attribute

For guidelines on how this is assigned, see Procedures for Course Attributes.

Keywordscourse proposal help   Doc ID78720
OwnerMelissa S.GroupLumen and Guide
Created2017-12-13 12:12:28Updated2024-01-16 09:44:32
SitesLumen and Guide
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