University of Minnesota
College of Liberal Arts
Student Info: 612-625-2020

College of Liberal Arts

Proposing New CLA Courses

New course proposals for undergraduate and graduate courses are reviewed by the college's Course Review Committee and the Assistant Dean for Curriculum. In order to ensure a complete and thorough review, the Committee asks that proposals be submitted according to the following instructions:

  1. Complete all fields for new course proposals in the Electronic Course Authorization System (ECAS).
  2. All new course proposals must include a course syllabus with the exception of topics courses only.
  3. For undergraduate courses, if the course is designed to meet any of the Twin Cities liberal education requirements, and/or writing intensive, complete the appropriate portion in ECAS. Refer to the detailed descriptions of both the liberal education and writing intensive requirements for additional information. Please note, that a course must first be approved by the college before it will be submitted to the Council on Liberal Education or Campus Writing Board for review.

If you have questions about proposing new courses, please contact Assistant Dean for Curriculum, Nanette Hanks at or by phone at 4-4801.
Following is additional information on the fields to be completed in ECAS.

  1. Number of credits
    Indicate reason if requesting variable credits in the “Editor Comments” dialog box.
  2. Number of contact hours
    Give a detailed explanation in the “Editor Comments” dialog box if proposing more or less contact hours than required by standard University policies; i.e. 1 credit equals approximately 1 class hour (50 minutes). A writing intensive course should not have fewer contact hours without a compelling reason.
  3. Semester prerequisites
    Courses and/or criteria necessary prior to beginning the course.
  4. Highest level of consent required
    e.g., department or instructor permission.
  5. Course description
    350 characters maximum.
  6. Multiple designators or cross-listing
    Proposing units must make a compelling case on programmatic grounds that multiple designators are necessary. Indicate any cross-listings in the “Editor Comments” dialog box.
  7. Please provide the following details in the syllabus as applicable:
    • Evaluation standards and workload
      How will students be evaluated in this course?
      What is the expected student workload?
    • Multiple level courses (e.g. 1xxx/3xxx, 3xxx/5xxx)
      If this course will be a multiple level offering, please include the following—
      1. Why is it necessary to offer this course at more than one level?
      2. How will course requirements and evaluation standards for students registered at different levels be differentiated?
    • Graduate student workload for 4xxx and 5xxx courses
      If this is a 4xxx or 5xxx level course, please specifically describe how the evaluation standards and workloads will differ for undergraduate and graduate students.
    • Objectives and topics
      Please describe the objectives of the course and the main topics or themes that will be covered.
  8. Under the section labeled Strategic Objectives and Consultation
    Please provide the following—
    • Name of department chair approver
    • Explain how adding this course improves the overall curricular objectives of the unit
    • Whether or not the unit considers this course to be part of its core curriculum
  9. Consultation with other units
    In order to prevent course overlap and to inform other departments of new curriculum, circulate proposal to chairs and/or Directors of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies in relevant units and follow-up with direct consultation. Please summarize response from units consulted and include correspondence. By consultation with other units, the information about a new course is more widely disseminated and can have a positive impact on enrollments. The consultation can be as simple as an email to the department chair, DUS or DGS, informing them of the course and asking for any feedback from the faculty.