Course Approval Process

Adding, dropping, or revising any course requires approval by the department(s) and school/college(s) that offer the course. The following table outlines the situations in which General Education Oversight Committee (GEOC) and/or Senate approval is required to add, drop, or revise courses.

It is quite common for courses to fall into more than one category. In those cases, the course requires the approvals for every category it occupies. For example, ANTH 1001W, which is a Content Area 1 course, would have to follow the approval process for 1000-2000 level courses, for W or Q courses, and for Content Area courses.

Course GEOC Senate
1000-2000 Only if Gen Ed* YES
3000-4000 Only if Gen Ed Only if Gen Ed or S/U
5000+ Administered by Graduate School (except PHRX courses)
W or Q (any level) YES YES
Content Area (any level) YES YES
S/U Grading (any level) NO YES
Ratcliffe Hicks NO Only if S/U

* “Gen Ed” courses include W and Q courses and Content Area courses.

Types of changes

The following types of changes are subject to the approval process outlined above:

  • Add or drop courses
  • Change prerequisites, consents, credits, patterns
  • Make changes to title or course description
  • Change course number (guidelines)


A limited number of changes may be made with only the approval of the academic department. Documentation is still required, though this can often be in the form of an email. The following types of changes can be requested in this manner:

  • Archiving courses
  • Listed instructor
  • Semester offered
  • Frequency offered (alternate year designations)
  • Corrections and editorial changes*

* Only corrections to errors made by the Office of the Registrar can be made in this manner. Errors in minutes or other documentation submitted to the Registrar can only be corrected with subsequent documentation that includes the corrected information. Exactly what constitutes an editorial change is left to the discretion of the chairperson of the curricula and courses committee of the school or college that offers the course and the Office of the Registrar. Most changes, however, require approval actions.

Note: University Senate By-Laws require faculty to provide syllabi to students. For advice and guidelines regarding syllabus design, refer to the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning website.

GEOC and Senate Approval

Adding, dropping, or changing courses that fulfill general education requirements (Content Area courses, W and Q courses) must be approved by the General Education Oversight Committee. Once approved, GEOC will forward the proposal to the Senate Curricula and Courses Committee.

The Senate Curricula and Courses Committee reviews proposals regarding courses that meet any of the following conditions: general education courses (following GEOC review); 1000- and 2000-level courses (including new topics for special topics courses at this level); and S/U graded courses. Once the committee has approved the proposal, it will report the approval to the full University Senate. Proposals are considered fully approved once the Senate has accepted the committee’s report.

To submit a proposal that requires GEOC and/or Senate approval, use the Senate’s new online workflow form.


Approved course changes are processed from acceptable documentation, which in most cases is limited to official meeting minutes. School, college, and Senate minutes should be clear, detailed, and delivered to the Office of the Registrar in a timely manner. See Documentation Requirements for more information about documenting approvals.

When all approvals have been completed and the Office of the Registrar receives the appropriate documentation, changes will be made according to Effective Date guidelines. To see proof files of all changes processed to date to the upcoming catalog, see Catalog Files.

Please report changes by email or email attachment. If this is not possible, paper will be accepted.

Rules for Certain Types of Courses

Cross-Listed Courses

Adding, dropping, or changing a cross-listed course requires approval by ALL departments and schools sponsoring a subject area offering of the course. A cross-listed course is a single course with one identification number in the Student Administration System that is offered under two or more subject areas. The approval process is otherwise identical to that for any other course. See Cross-Listed Courses for more information.

Special Topics Courses

Adding, dropping, or changing special topics courses is governed by the approval process outlined above. To add a topic to an existing 1000- or 2000-level special topics course, Senate approval is required. New topics for 3000- and 4000-level topics require only school or college approval.

INTD Governed Courses

UNIV, INTD, AIRF, and MISI courses must be approved by the University Interdisciplinary Courses Committee plus any of the additional approvals outlined above if they meet conditions described.

Archiving courses (5 Year Rule)

The University Senate encourages department heads to allow the Office of the Registrar to archive courses that have not been offered in the past 5 years. The courses continue to be stored in the Student Administration System, but they can no longer be viewed and will not appear in the Undergraduate Catalog.

For a list of courses eligible to be archived, see Reports.

A department head can later contact the Publications division of the Office of the Registrar and have the course restored and ready to offer immediately. No further approval processes will be required.

List of Archived Courses

Use of the 5 Year Rule diminishes students’ confusion when they are planning their program studies. There are many listed courses that academic departments are not able to support. When staffing and resources change, each course will easily be returned to its original status upon request.