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Changing an Existing Course

Overview

Course change requests are used to change a course's number, title, description, prerequisites, credit hours, or cross-listing.  As with new courses, course changes do not stand or fall on their own; they are evaluated based on their effect on an overall program of study.  When evaluating a change request, the Committee tries to determine how the change affects the course's role within the programs to which it belongs.   

Note that this year, the deadline for prerequsite and credit-hour changes is 12/7/2015.  If you want to change a course prerequisite for the 2016-2017 catalog, you must submit your request by this date!

When should I request a course change, and when should I propose a new course?

Generally, course changes are appropriate when you want to make some modification to an existing course, and you want the revised version of the course to replace the original.  If you want to keep the original version around, then you should propose a new course instead.

That said, you should not use a course change request to substantially alter a course's content.  To decide whether a change is substantial, the Committee asks the following question: If a student has taken the old version of the course, should they earn additional credit for taking the new version?  If not, then the request qualifies as a course change.  If so, then you should propose a new course.  You could also deactivate the old course by submitting a separate deactivation request. Independent studies and other repeatable courses can be exceptions to this rule; check with the Committee about these.

There are other situations in which a new course request is typically more appropriate than a course change request:

  • you are altering more than 25% of a course's goals, objectives, and outcomes;
  • you are changing an introductory course to a junior/senior-only course;
  • you are substantially changing a course's description;
  • you are changing a course number;
  • you are changing a course's acronym.

Please do not attempt to avoid submitting a New Course Proposal by submitting multiple Course Change Requests for the same course. If a proposed change (or series of changes) seems extensive, the Committee may, at its discretion, ask you to propose a new course instead of modifying an existing one. Please feel free to contact the Committee Chair with any questions you might have about this policy.

What if I want to add a grade requirement such as a C- prerequisite?

Over the last few years, the Committee has found that these requirements cause a number of logistical problems.  We've therefore developed a series of procedures that departments must follow if they want these requirements.  Please review these procedures before submitting your request. 

Questions to Consider

  • What are the goals, objectives, and intended outcomes of the course?  How do they enhance the program to which it belongs?
  • How does this course fit into the sequence of the program?
  • How does the change to the course enhance the liberal education of the students? Conversely, does the change make the course so narrow and specialized that it interferes with rather than enhances liberal education? 
  • Could the revised course logically originate in another department or program? (For instance, History of American Education could originate in either the Teacher Education or the History department.)
  • What are all the consequences of this change?  Does the change have implications for the major, the minor, other courses, etc?
Procedure to Follow
  • Fill out the required sections of the FCC's Course Form.
  • Submit a cover letter that includes a list of all the documents you are submitting.
  • Submit one Signature Form that covers all of the changes you are requesting.  Ensure that it includes signatures from your Department Chair and Dean.
  • If you would like to change the course so that it fulfills General Education requirements, submit a request to the General Education Committee.
  • If you are changing the cross-listing of a course, submit an acknowledgement from the cross-listing department.
  • If another department uses the course, please submit their acknowledgement with the proposal. (You might want to search the catalog to see who else uses your course.)
  • If the course could originate in another department, submit their acknowledgement with the proposal.  
  • Submit the required information to the Provost's Office (Randolph 210) by the deadline.
  • Attend the relevant Curriculum Committee meeting to present the proposal.
  • Attend the relevant Faculty Senate meeting to answer any questions that may arise.
  • Remember that if a course change is approved, it will not take effect until the next academic year.