Curriculum Implementation Committee

Proposing New/Revised Courses

New/revised course proposal form

Who approves new and revised courses?

All new courses and substantial revisions of existing courses are first reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Implementation Committee (CIC). Then they are approved by the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee (CEP) and by faculty vote at a faculty meeting.

When will my proposal be reviewed and approved?

The CIC attempts to review at each meeting all proposals submitted (and for which approvals have been received from the relevant department chairs) by the Friday before the meeting. (An unusually high number of submitted proposals may require multiple meetings before all proposals are reviewed.) Instructors or department/program chairs may be contacted for supplemental information or clarification. Once the CIC has approved a course proposal, it is added to the next CEP meeting agenda. After the CEP has approved a proposal, it is voted on at a faculty meeting.

What constitutes a new course?

A new course is one that has never previously been taught at Bowdoin. As long as a course was previously taught at Bowdoin and was not approved for a limited duration, it may be reintroduced into the curriculum without another approval.

What types of course revisions require approval?

Revisions requiring approval include (a) a significant change in the content of a course; (b) a change to allow a course to be repeated for credit; (c) a change in prerequisite that makes it more, rather than less, restrictive; (d) changes in registration restrictions (majors only, seniors only, etc.) that are more, rather than less, restrictive; (e) a change in numbering that reflects a change in level; (f) a change in credit value; (g) a change in grading option; and (h) a change in distribution designations.

Who submits courses for approval?

A course proposal is submitted by a faculty member or a department chair after a department/program committee has discussed how the course will contribute to the department/program's offerings. The approval of the chair or director is required on all proposals; when a proposal is not initially submitted by a chair, approval of the chair is subsequently solicited through email.

What is a cross-listed course?

A cross-listed course is one that is listed in more than one department or program. New cross-listed courses and substantial revisions must be approved by all relevant department chairs and program directors.

What are the criteria for approving requests for exceptions to the standard course registration limits?

Requests for exceptions to the standard course registration limits are made for a wide variety of reasons. The CIC and CEP must always judge whether a request is reasonable and appropriate. In the past, exceptions have been approved due to limited lab or studio space, due to limited space in vans for field trips, to make an experimental course more workable, and when dividing a course into multiple sections is accompanied by a different use of faculty resources in the department.

What kinds of registration restrictions get approved?

First years only is the restriction appropriately used for first-year seminars. There is precedent for non-major and introductory-level courses having a restriction of first years or sophomores only, particularly when there is history of similar courses filling to their limits. There is also precedent for advanced-level courses being restricted to majors only; the capstone course in a major is often restricted to senior majors only. These precedents indicate that previous requests for such restrictions have been viewed as reasonable and appropriate; the CIC and CEP base decisions on current issues and registration patterns.

The permission of instructor only restriction is allowed only under exceptional circumstances. An instructor must have a very good reason to be allowed to select students outside of the usual mechanisms of course prerequisites, registration restrictions, and registration preferences.

How are registration preferences used?

Departments use registration preferences to manage registration and ensure fair access to courses. Registration preferences don't prohibit any students from registering for a course, but they do determine registration priority when demand for a course exceeds its registration limit during the first round of registration processing.


Questions about the course proposal process should be addressed to Janet Dana in the Office of the Registrar.

New/revised course proposal form