Course Toolbox for Faculty & Staff

Overview of Course Approval Process

Course approval requests are submitted via the Curriculum and Approval Tracking System (CAT)

  • Course approval requests are initiated by the faculty of any course sponsoring agency (department, college, academic program, or division). 
  • The new CAT system is designed to capture all required information for new courses and course modifications; supplemental forms are no longer required.
  • Many requests require the uploading of a syllabus; please be sure to review TLC's Learner-Centered Syllabus page for guidance in syllabus design.
  • Deadlines to submit course approval requests must be adhered by as the Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) meets bi-weekly on Mondays from Fall to Spring quarter.


Levels of Review for Course Approvals

  • Department Chair: Reviews and approves course proposals. The Department Chair’s role may be delegated to another faculty person (e.g., curriculum committee chair or other proxy), depending on the department’s procedures. The proposal is automatically routed to these reviewers and once approved, sent to the Dean who has authority to comment on (but cannot delay) submission to the Academic Senate approval process. 
  • Registrar Staff: Conducts a preliminary review of proposals and syllabi for completeness,
    and may contact department if more information is needed.
  • Academic Senate: Members of the Committee on Courses of Instruction (CCI) review the proposal and either approve the request or submit a request for information to the department regarding any questions or concerns.

Deans do not have curricular authority; the Regents vest this authority in the Academic Senate.

The need or lack of need of any specific course or type of course is an academic decision under the purview of Committee on Courses of Instruction, as agents of the Academic Senate and requests that a Division forward any course for which the supervising Dean has not indicated approval (but can comment on).  This gives CCI the opportunity to understand the positions of the department and the dean in making its decision. The approval of a course is an academic matter, in the purview of the Senate, while the offering of a course may, or may not, be a matter of funding and resource allocation.


Course Approval Deadlines

Please review the Course Approval Calendar for course approval deadlines.

Late submissions or last minute requests negatively impact staff and committee member workload and may not be reviewed.

CCI does not routinely review courses during the summer. Courses submitted for review after the end of the quarter in June will not be reviewed until the start of the following fall quarter.

Exceptions will be granted to address emergency issues, such as last minute staffing changes due to an unexpected separation, medical emergency or similar issue. To ensure timely approval of courses, departments and programs must prioritize meeting course approval deadlines.


Syllabus Requirements

CCI would like to have a current syllabus on file in CAT for every course taught at UCSC. Therefore CCI
requests that a current syllabus be submitted with every course revision, even minor ones, unless a syllabus
has been submitted through CAT in the previous three years.

If the uploaded syllabus is missing one or more of the elements below, course approval will be delayed
until a completed syllabus is submitted. For best practices, please refer to TLC, IRAPS Course Learning
Outcomes; and Programming Outcomes by Division, and DRC, particularly for learning outcomes, course
pacing and grading structures.

Undergraduate Courses

  • Learning outcomes or objectives specific to the course (it is recommended that at least one align with your program’s learning outcomes)
  • Nature of assignments/assessments (projects, homework, written assignments, quizzes, exams, etc.) and how these connect to the course learning objectives
  • Weekly schedule for course materials
  • Student hours for class: Systemwide Senate Regulation 760 specifies that one academic credit corresponds to a total of 30 hours of work for the median student over a quarter (e.g., 3 hours per week for a 10-week quarter). Syllabus should estimate the anticipated distribution of the required hours. For example, a 5-unit course may require 3.25 hours of lecture, 5 hours of reading, 1 hour of section, and 5.75 hours of homework per week.
  • How assessments add up to a final grade
  • If you are not giving a final exam in the course’s assigned time slot, provide information regarding what replacement for a final exam will be used.
  • No examinations, tests, assignments, papers, final projects or final performances that result in more than 12.5% of the final grade (other than individual makeup exams) may be given during the last week of instruction. This does not include the collection of materials produced throughout the quarter, such as final portfolios.
  • Policies on collaboration, citation, and academic integrity specific to the course. Please refer to TLC's Learner-Centered Syllabus and/or the UE’s Faculty Resources page.
  • The following notification for student support resources is required: DRC.
  • The following notifications for student support resources are recommended: CARE, Title IX, CAPSPlease refer to TLC's Learner-Centered Syllabus page resource page.    


Graduate Courses

  • Course learning outcomes or objectives (it is recommended that at least one align with your program’s learning outcomes)
  • Nature of assignments and how they connect to course goals
  • Weekly schedule for course materials
  • Method of determining final grade, including the weight for each element, if providing letter grades
  • Policies on collaboration, citation, and academic integrity with links to resources on correct practice.
  • The following notification for student support resources is required: DRC
  • The following notifications for student support resources are recommended:CARE, Title IX, CAPS.  


New Courses

  • Submit a new course request for approval using the new Curriculum and Approval Tracking System (CAT)
  • To number a new course, use a new number that has not been used in the recent past, for a number that is not active. Departments may check with the Registrar’s Office if it can be re-used.
  • Provide a syllabus for the course being proposed. For every new course, or for any request to substantially change an existing course, a syllabus is required. Please review the syllabus section in the CAT system for guidance on designing a UCSC course syllabus. 
    • The requirements for the course (what students will be expected to do to pass), and the relative weight of each requirement toward the final grade (usually expressed as percentages)
    • Requirements for undergraduate courses must include a comprehensive final examination, unless an alternative method of final assessment has been noted in the proposaland explained in the syllabus.
    • A chronological schedule of topics, usually in a week-by-week format
    • A list of required readings
    • Title IX, DRC, and CARE notices


Course Revisions

Course revisions are submitted for approval using the new Curriculum and Approval Tracking System (CAT) and include the following:

  • Renumbering with substantail changes to the content
  • Revision to an exisiting course with substantial changes
  • Reactivating a course with substantail changes and or a new instructor
  • Prerequisite changes
  • Credit unit changes
  • GE addition, removal, renumbering with
  • Enrollment restrictions
  • Change from lower to upper division
  • Change default grading option to P/NP only
  • Cancellation
  • Reactivation with same instructor
  • Suspension 
  • Number change
  • Title change
  • Interview only
  • Repeat for Credit
  • Withdraw a course


Online Courses

New or existing courses can request permanent or long term approval for Asynchronous, Synchronous, and Hybrid modes. This request can be submitted in the CAT system where supplemental questions or a checklist may be required. CCI evaluates online courses with the same rigorous vetting system accepted by our campus.

Disciplinary Communication

This general education and major requirement curricula was approved by CEP.

Most departments would only be submitting changes or additions to the existing approved curricula. 


Additional Resources

CCI strongly encourages instructors to visit the The Teaching & Learning Center website, which contains useful teaching resources and a guide on designing courses & syllabi. 

For Policies and other definitions please see the Committees on Educational Policy (CEP) and Courses of Instruction(CCI).