Curricular Changes Needing Approval

The Bylaws of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences give the Educational Policy Committee  responsibility for the undergraduate educational program. EPC regularly reviews all requests for changes to the curriculum. EPC may approve or disapprove these changes so long as they do not affect educational policy.

When a change affects educational policy, EPC brings the matter to FAS with a recommendation. FAS must approve all changes in educational policy. It is up to EPC to decide when a curricular matter rises to the level of a change in educational policy.

Changes Requiring EPC Approval (or not)
  • Catalog changes. All substantive changes in the Undergraduate Catalog relating to Arts and Sciences need EPC approval. Exceptions: minor changes such as staff or semesters a course is taught, minor typographical errors, and minor (stylistic) changes can be approved by the Registrar’s Office.
  • Prerequisites. Please send requests for removing, adding, or changing prerequisites to the registrar; the registrar will inform EPC if it is the sort that needs to go to EPC.  Changes in prerequisites sometimes need EPC approval. For instance, a prerequisite in another department/program must be approved by both units and EPC.
  • Course restrictions. Enrollment restrictions based on graduating class or major do not need EPC approval. Departments and programs may decide whether courses require instructor permission.
  • Cross-listing. Cross-listing creates a number of administrative difficulties and should be avoided where possible. Both cross-listing units must approve of the cross-list. Cross-listing normally does not need EPC approval unless a new course must be created.
  • Topics courses. Topics courses allow faculty to experiment with new courses before adding them permanently to the curriculum. The general policy is that a specific topic in a topics course may be offered three times without EPC approval. The exceptions include all COLL 100 and COLL 150 courses. If a course is taken for the fourth time, a permanent number should be requested and approved by EPC. In order to avoid formally changing major/minor requirements, this number could be the usual topics course number followed by a letter (such as 350K) if the department or program so wishes.

    When a specific topic carries a COLL attribute, it must be approved the first time. The same topic will normally retain the same attribute(s) when taught for the second and third time as long as the basic content has not changed. The exception includes all on-campus COLL 300 courses; they may not be repeated without EPC approval. Departments and programs should be aware that the retention of this attribute(s) will need to be explicitly requested of the University Registrar. Permanent COLL attributes can be assigned to topics course numbers if the department/program can guarantee that all courses offered under that number will fulfill the requirement specific to the COLL attribute in question. In such cases, the attribute will continue indefinitely once the permanent number is assigned.
  • Credit and contact hours. In keeping with the Academic Credit Hour Policy, EPC, chairs and directors, and deans are all responsible for monitoring credit hours. One credit hour in most courses consists of one hour of class time per week between students and instructors (where the teaching is face-to-face in the same room) for fifteen weeks. When more than 20% of a course departs from that traditional format (e.g., 25% of a course is online or involves watching movies outside of class), EPC must approve the change. Broad exceptions include internships and independent studies (including Honors), where expectations differ.
  • Online courses. These must go through the same approval processes as other courses, and must also undergo additional vetting for following best practices in e-learning. The amount of credit earned in the absence of direct contact hours between students and faculty must also be justified.
Changes Requiring FAS Approval
  • New majors and minors. New majors and minors must be approved by FAS with a recommendation by EPC. The same is true for major or minor concentrations within Interdisciplinary Studies. New concentrations or tracks within majors may be approved by EPC alone.
  • Changes in the names of majors and minors must be approved by FAS with a recommendation by EPC.
  • Changes in major or minor requirements generally only need EPC approval unless the new requirements are especially heavy, light, or might impact other departments or programs. EPC will determine what changes of this sort need FAS approval
  • Changes in general education requirements, and substantive changes in other requirements and policies listed in the catalog.
  • When an educational program involves two or more schools (e.g., FAS and Law), changes must be approved by each school and by the Faculty Assembly. Significant changes (e.g., establishing a new degree, changing the name of a degree) require approval at higher levels (e.g., BOV, SCHEV, SACS). See the Institutional Change Policy for further information.