Curriculum Process & Policies

What is CIM? The Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) system uses online curriculum forms and an online approval workflow to change academic curricula in a smooth and transparent process. Users can see what step the proposed change is at in the process at any time, and approvers are notified when they have a proposal to review.

Who has access? All UWL faculty and staff can log in at any time. Student members of a curriculum committee also have access.

Curriculum at UWL is created by the faculty and approved by one or more of the following curriculum committees: each college's curriculum committee, UWL Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, UWL Graduate Curriculum Committee, Academic Planning Committee, and Faculty Senate. New programs may require additional approval from UW System Board of Regents and the Higher Learning Commission.

The steps outlined below are based on the university's curriculum policies and procedures, which can be found on this and the following tabs. Please note that all new programs have to go through the Academic Planning Committee.

Farther down, there are the different curriculum changes that affect what approvals are needed. In addition, there are UCC/GCC policy documents describing how the meetings work and how the proposals are considered. Policies governing content are on the next tab.

Overview of process

OVERVIEW expanding section

1. Prepare the proposal: Login to CIM through the Course Form or Program Form link to edit or create a proposal. Use the yellow "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the form to save the proposal while it is being edited.

2. Preview the workflow for the proposal: The electronic approval steps (workflow) for each individual course and program can be seen via the "Preview Workflow" link prior to submitting a proposal. The "Preview Workflow" link is located under the "Edit Course/Program" button in CIM. For new courses and programs, this feature becomes visible after the organizational fields are completed at the top and the proposal is saved. Workflows will change if the organizational fields (i.e. college, department, course prefix, course number) are changed.

Steps in workflow are either approval steps which require action by the reviewer or "FYI" steps which are informational only. The person in an FYI role is notified by email that a proposal has been made but is not allowed to make edits. More FYI notifications are added to workflow if additional departments are chosen farther down on the form.

3. Submit to workflow: When the Course or Program form is finished and ready for official approval, the proposer/faculty member should click the green "Save and Start Workflow" button. After workflow is started, the form is only editable by the approvers listed in the workflow.

Upon submission, the CIM system automatically sends an email to the next approver in workflow. Either an "Action Required" or an "FYI" email is sent after every step in workflow. "Action Required" emails are sent to the official approvers, notifying them they may now review, edit, approve or roll back the proposal. Proposals will not move forward in workflow without this person's electronic approval. Approvers review the proposals on a separate Approval Page.

4. Department and college review: The first step in workflow is typically the department chair. The approval of the department chair indicates approval by the entire department. Next, a college may have its own curriculum committee review the proposal before it is sent to the college dean's office. Proposals always require the dean's approval in the relevant college or school. Teacher education proposals include the Dean of the School of Education in the approval process. Graduate programs include notification to the Graduate Studies Director. All faculty and staff can see how far a proposal has gotten in workflow by logging back into the Course or Program Management screens and searching for the proposal.

5. Other governmental bodies review: For new programs, additional university and UW System approvals may be necessary (i.e. Academic Planning Committee, Faculty Senate, UW System Board of Regents). These approvals come before and/or after UCC/GCC approval. When finished, the Curriculum Planning and Approval Guide mentioned above will lay out the steps for each type of change. In the meantime, the "Preview Workflow" link on each form also shows the approval steps (see #2 above).

6. UCC/GCC review: Proposals need electronic approval from the department chair and the dean's office before being included on a UCC or GCC agenda. The proposal must be at the Registrar step in workflow by noon on Wednesday the week before the committee meets. Records and Registration staff place the proposals received on time on the agenda and disseminate the agenda to committee members. The proposal's department chair is sent a reminder to attend the upcoming meeting or to send a representative. A proposal will not be heard without someone to present it.

If presenting a large number of changes or presenting a whole new program, it is helpful to include a document summarizing the changes and the department's purpose in proposing the changes. This summary can be attached to one of the CIM course or program forms under the "Additional Information" section or emailed to the Records and Registration Office. Summary cover memo sample

The standard rule for UCC and GCC meetings is that a proposal has two readings - the proposal is presented at the first meeting; action is taken at the second meeting. However, the second reading is often waived and action taken on the first reading if no committee member objects. If the proposal is not approved, it is sent back to the department to start over or to correct as necessary.

7. UCC/GCC approval: If the proposal is approved, change is then processed in the Records and Registration Office. (General education proposals go on to the Gen Ed Committee first. See the general education section below.) Final processing includes updating the course/program in PeopleSoft/WINGS; programming the Advisement Reports (AR); and entering the information in the catalog (including sample degree plans). When these steps are finished, the original proposer, the department chair, and ADA are notified by email, and the course or program is ready to be updated again. 

After the proposal is completely processed, users will see a "History" section appear in the course or program preview in CIM. Each event in the history includes the date when the proposal was finished being processed and the name of the original proposer. Click an individual date in the history and a new window will pop up showing the changes and comments that were made for that proposal. This history remains with the course or program and can be viewed at any time. Every time a course or program goes through the curriculum change process, a new record is added. If no history is displayed, the course or program has not yet been changed using CIM. The history of the course or program prior to CIM will continue to be saved in the Records and Registration office.

Deadlines: To ensure a course is created or changed in time to be scheduled for registration, the change should be approved by the UCC/GCC deadlines. To find specific deadlines, review the UCC agendas and GCC agendas.

Variations that affect approval steps

The above steps are typical of the curriculum change process; however, different types of courses may require a variation in the process. Descriptions of the most common variations are below.

Approvals required based on type of change expanding section
  • New Majors* - Faculty Senate Exec Committee, Academic Planning Committee, UCC, Faculty Senate, System
  • New Emphases within Majors* - Academic Planning Committee, UCC, Faculty Senate
  • Major Name Change* - UCC, UW System
  • New Minors/Certificates* - Academic Planning Committee, UCC, Faculty Senate
  • New Graduate Programs* - Faculty Senate Exec Committee, Academic Planning Committee, GCC, Faculty Senate, System
  • Graduate Program Name Change* - GCC, UW System
  • Undergraduate Courses - UCC (possibly APC if unresolved resource issues)
  • Graduate Courses - GCC (possibly APC if unresolved resource issues)
  • Slash Courses - Both UCC and GCC (either committee first)
  • General Education Courses - UCC, Gen Ed Committee
  • Umbrella topics - Registrar (no UCC or GCC)
  • New Prefix - Provost, Registrar (no UCC or GCC to just approve the prefix itself)
  • Department Name Change* - Provost, Registrar, System (informational item to System only)
  • College/School Name Change* - Provost, Registrar, System
  • Academic policies - CAPS and/or Graduate Council (UCC and/or GCC may also be necessary, depending)

* Review the academic program development resource guides. Contact the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Sandy Grunwald, early in the process of planning a new program or making substantial changes to existing programs.

Combined U/G (slash) courses expanding section

Combined U/G (slash) courses are courses in which students may earn either undergraduate or graduate credit. Undergraduate and graduate sections are combined together and taught by one instructor. Proposals for a combined U/G (slash) course must be approved by both the Graduate and Undergraduate Curriculum Committees by using two separate forms. It does not matter which body hears their level's proposal first. 

Slash courses are open to upper-level undergraduates who have earned at least 60 credits. Junior standing is an implied prerequisite for the undergraduate section. The course description, title, and number of credits must be identical between the levels.

Slash courses have an undergraduate Course Form and a graduate Course Form. Proposers must create/edit and submit both the graduate and the undergraduate Course Forms when making a change or a new course, except where the change only affects one level. For instance, if a department is deleting one level of the slash course but not making any changes to the other level, the proposal only needs approval from the committee that oversees the level being deleted since the other level is not being changed (i.e. a department dropping the graduate level does not need to present the deletion to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee).


To meet the standards of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), our undergraduate and graduate slash courses must be updated to include an explanation of how the course is taught differently for the different career levels. In the Spring of 2017, UCC and GCC approved a new policy on how this information will be requested from departments. The CIM form was updated to reflect this change. Departments with slash courses are now asked to update the undergraduate and graduate CIM forms with an explanation of how the course is mainly taught and in what way the experience is different for undergraduates versus graduates. See the new Slash Course Policy document for more information.

Cross-listed courses expanding section

Cross-listed courses are courses offered by more than one department. The course number is the same but the prefixes are different. They must have identical course descriptions, credits, titles, and prerequisites. Student may only earn credit once for taking a cross-listed course. 

Cross-listed courses are maintained on one CIM Course form. One of the departments will be listed as "primary" which just means it is the first department listed. The next departments will be listed in the cross-listed fields. A department updating a cross-listed course must confer with the other department(s) before updating the course. The other department(s) will also be in workflow to approve the changes.

General education courses expanding section

With the implementation of CIM, a separate general education form is no longer used. The general education (Gen Ed) requirements and committee notification have been integrated into the CIM Course Form and workflow. 

Blue help bubbles next to the questions explain what is needed. Some bubbles contain links to documents with longer explanations to help proposers complete the form. A General Education Courses guide, linked on the CIM Help - Courses page may provide additional help. Further questions about general education requirements and committee review may be directed to the General Education Committee (GEC) chairperson.

To get started: Gen Ed proposals are done through the Course Forms in CIM. For brand new Gen Ed courses, click on "Propose New Course." For existing courses, find the course using the search function and click on "Edit Course" below the search results box. When completing the form, make sure "yes" is checked for the question "Are you seeking approval to include this course in the General Education Program?" If "yes" is checked, the Gen Ed section of the Course Form will be visible. 

When the proposal is ready, click the "Save and Start Workflow" button. This starts the electronic workflow. The proposal is first sent to the department chair, the dean's office, and the registrar. 

After the Registrar approves, one of the following situations will apply:

  • New Course: Requires UCC and GEC approval. After UCC approval, an email is sent to the GEC chairperson, who will include the proposal on the GEC agenda for consideration. 
  • Making an Existing Course a Gen Ed Course: Might require UCC approval. Requires GEC approval. An existing course needs UCC approval first if the department is making changes beyond adding it to the General Education Program (for example: course description, prerequisite, or credit changes). After the dean's office and/or UCC approves, depending on the proposal, an email is sent to the GEC chairperson, who will include it on the GEC agenda for consideration.
  • Editing an Existing Gen Ed Course: Requires UCC approval. Might require GEC approval. Departments editing an already Gen Ed course only go through to the GEC if they are changing the category of general education to which the course applies. Otherwise, edits on Gen Ed courses only go through the regular UCC approval process.
  • Deleting a Gen Ed Course: Requires UCC approval. Does not require GEC approval. Departments completely deleting a Gen Ed course do not need approval from the GEC. Deletions only go through the regular UCC approval process. Departments that want to keep the course active but just remove it from the Gen Ed Program should contact Records and Registration. (To delete, find the course in CIM and click the red "Delete Course" button. If you can't find that button, contact Records and Registration.)

Once a course is on the GEC agenda, the department proposing the course should plan to attend the relevant GEC meeting to answer any questions. If and when the GEC approves the proposal, the chairperson will give electronic approval in CIM. Records and Registration then adds the course to the Gen Ed curriculum in both the Advisement Reports and the next published catalog.

Umbrella courses & their topics expanding section

Umbrella courses are generic courses that allow departments to try out specific topic first to test for student interest. An umbrella test topic can be offered an unlimited number of times within three years or three times total. After that period, in order to offer the topic again, the department must create the topic as a regular free-standing course.

The approval process for umbrella test topics is condensed to department chair, dean's office, and the Registrar. The Records office ensures the specific topic title appears on the students’ transcripts, but not in the catalog. Only the parent umbrella course is listed in the catalog.

A CIM Umbrella Topic Form must be completed before the topic can be scheduled.

  • The department must resubmit the form every time a test topic is offered, so that the Records and Registration office can keep track of how many times its been offered. 
  • If a department is testing multiple topics during the same term, a separate form must be submitted for each test topic.
  • If a test topic is for a graduate course, the instructor should be listed so that graduate faculty status can be verified. List the instructor in the additional information section of the form. 

Courses with a rotating or exchangeable selection of topics are NOT umbrella courses, and the umbrella topic form does NOT need to be completed for these topics. Contact the Scheduling Coordinator to schedule a topic for a non-umbrella course.

Getting started

New test topics: New umbrella topics do not need UCC or GCC committee review. Through the Course Form link, search for the umbrella course number. Click the green "Add New Topic" button. Complete the required course information and hit "Save Changes" if you need to come back and finish later. To return to a topic that is being edited, search for the umbrella course number with an asterisk (*) at the end (i.e. WGS 330*). Click "Save & Start Workflow" when ready for approval.

Re-using an existing test topic: Existing topics to be offered again do not need UCC or GCC committee review. Through the Course Form link, search for the existing topic by including an asterisk after the umbrella course number (i.e. WGS 330*)​. ​​This will find all the existing test topics that were offered under the parent umbrella course. ​​Select the test topic you want to offer again and hit the green "Edit Topic" button. Complete the form. Hit "Save & Start Workflow" when ready for approval.

New umbrella courses: An actual "parent" umbrella course number must exist first before a department may schedule any umbrella test topics. New umbrella courses require UCC or GCC review and approval like all new courses. Through the Course Form link, click on "Propose New Course." After the course has been approved as an umbrella course, the department may begin testing individual topics.

Revising an existing umbrella course: Use the CIM Course Form to revise the "parent" umbrella course. Edits to existing umbrella courses require UCC or GCC review and approval like all normal course changes. Examples of changes requiring UCC or GCC approval include changing the credits, component, number of maximum times the course is repeatable, or the grading pattern.

Curriculum change procedures

Submitting Proposals expanding section

Proposals for curricular change must come from academic departments (and/or academic program units such as Environmental Studies and International Studies). All official curricular change proposals must be submitted using the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) Course Form or Program Form with appropriate Department Chair and Dean's office electronic approval.

To be included on the UCC or GCC agenda for any regularly scheduled UCC or GCC meeting, the electronic curricular proposal form should be at the Registrar approval step in the electronic CIM workflow no later than noon the Wednesday prior to the meeting. The Office of Records and Registration will place proposals on the agenda in the order in which they were received and will distribute the agenda to committee members prior to the meeting. Department Chairs for the proposals are sent a reminder to attend the upcoming meeting or to send a representative. A proposal will not be heard without someone to present it.

UCC meets on the second, fourth, and fifth (if necessary) Tuesday of each month during the Fall and Spring semesters. GCC meets the first and third Tuesday of each month for the Fall and Spring semesters. No curriculum meetings are scheduled during the first week of classes for the semester or during spring break.

Committee Action on Proposals expanding section

The standard rule for UCC and GCC is that a proposal has two readings. The proposal is presented at the first meeting, and action is taken at the second meeting. However, the second reading may be waived and action taken on the first reading if no committee member objects. All curricular changes approved by the committee are subject to Faculty Senate review and action as well as review by the Chancellor’s Office. All new majors, sub-majors, certificates, and graduate programs approved by the Committees must be approved by the Academic Planning Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Chancellor’s Office.

Criteria for Evaluating Proposals expanding section

UCC and GCC will consider new and revised course and program proposals with the following criteria in mind, in decreasing order of importance. Department representatives submitting proposals should be prepared to answer questions concerning these issues, and present/discuss evidence of fulfilling these requirements:

  1. Needs of Students and Society
    1. The new course, program or revision should satisfy an identifiable need within the mission of the University.
    2. The new or revised course should not duplicate curriculum already available in the department.
    3. For new course proposals that may have overlap with courses in other departments, evidence should be presented that those departments have been contacted and that the overlap is minimal or that the perspective is significantly different to merit a new course. Departments may want to consider enrollment restrictions and the feasibility of course cross listing. Course revisions that may result in significant overlap with courses in other departments should be accompanied by similar evidence.
    4. The clientele of the program or course should be carefully considered and include sufficient enrollment to merit the use of necessary resources.
    5. The role of the course or program should be carefully considered, including requirement in major or minor programs within and external to the department. If the course will significantly impact other departments or programs, submitters are encouraged to include evidence of communication with the other programs/departments.
  2. Quality
    1. The new course/program or revision should be well conceived and well organized. Revisions resulting in substantial changes to course content or new course proposals should include a sufficient outline of the course material and pattern to demonstrate these requirements.
    2. The level of rigor should meet current standards for a university course or program, and the number of credits awarded should be reflective of the amount of work required in the course.
    3. The new or revised course should have appropriate prerequisites.

  3. Ability of the Department and College to meet resource needs
    While UCC and GCC recognizes that electronic approval on the CIM form certifies the Dean's willingness to support a course or program, there are course design issues that can significantly impact the quality of a course offering and the experience for the students. Therefore, submitters may be asked to discuss the following:
    1. The department must have sufficient faculty/staff expertise for the new course or program or to make the proposed changes in an existing course or program.
    2. The department must have sufficient faculty/staff resources for the new course or program or to make the proposed changes in an existing course or program. Departments submitting multiple proposals for new courses should consider whether there are infrequently offered courses that could be deleted.
    3. The support infrastructure must be adequate (sufficient laboratory facilities, sufficient library resources, availability of required internships, etc.) to offer the course/program in the long term.

  4. Record Keeping
    1. The course number should be consistent with the level of work required in the course.
    2. The course or program description should be clear and accurate, and programs should not have hidden requirements.
    3. The instruction pattern should be appropriate and accurately described.

      Questions involving course and/or program revisions will generally be limited to those sections of the CIM form that are marked for revision. However, presenters should give consideration to how the proposed changes may impact the other aspects of the course or program that have not been selected for revision, and be prepared to address questions from UCC members as necessary.

  5. Consent Agenda
    Very minor changes may be handled through the Consent Agenda, which is presented to UCC or GCC members for expedited approval. However, any UCC or GCC member may pull any item from the consent agenda and request a full first reading for the next meeting. Generally only minor changes will be considered as possibilities for a consent agenda item. The Registrar has been charged with determining which items appear on the consent agenda. A small number of items do not need to be on the agenda at all.

The linked procedural chart indicates whether or not specific changes (usually, but not always) require UCC/GCC review, either as an action item or on the consent agenda. 

Academic Planning Committee (APC) expanding section

In the Faculty Senate bylaws, the Academic Planning Committee (APC) is charged with reviewing all new programs, including emphases, concentrations, minors, majors, graduate, and special programs. To that end, they have created guidelines as an aid to departments planning on creating a new program. 

More information about APC can be found on their Faculty Senate page.

UW System Academic Program Management expanding section

The University of Wisconsin System maintains the ACIS 1.0 Policy on University of Wisconsin System Arrange Management: Program Planning, Delivery, Review, and Reporting 

ACIS 1.0 provides detailed guidance on academic degree program array management actions, including approvals of new programs, review of program suspensions and eliminations, individual and lateral program reviews, as well as other required reporting and approval items at the Board of Regents (BOR) or University of Wisconsin System (UW System) level.  Such items may include, but are not limited to, revisions to institutional missions, establishment of new schools or colleges, and the extension of programs to other sites, including international sites. 

The goals of systemwide array management include the provision of appropriate academic degree programs (program) to meet student, community, state, and employer demand; minimizing unnecessary duplication of programs; and offering programs effectively and cost-efficiently.


Contact the UWL Curriculum Team at 608.785.8954 or

Curriculum policies at UWL are created and approved by one or more of the following curriculum & policy committees: Committee on Academic Policies & Standards, Graduate Council, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and Graduate Curriculum Committee. The most current versions of the policies have been collected and posted below to help departments and faculty members make their changes and create new programs in accordance with UWL policy.

The sections below cover courses, programs, the general education program, online & distance education, guidelines for institutions, and guidelines for international courses.

Please note that directions on how to fill out the course and program forms are on the CIM Help - Courses and CIM Help - Programs page. Those directions cover the technical aspect of the forms. The below policies cover content.

In addition, the UCC & GCC committees advise proposers to review their Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting CIM Forms.


Course Forms

Course Form Considerations Policy expanding section

CIM Course Forms are designed to provide members of UCC and GCC with sufficient information about new course proposals and course change proposals.

CIM Course Forms consider the following elements:

  1. The academic organization under which the course falls
  2. The course structure and details, including, but not limited to:
    1. Number of credits
    2. Course prefix and number
    3. Prerequisites
    4. Components
    5. Grading pattern
    6. Mode of delivery definitions:
      1. In-person: course in which content delivery, course, activities, and assessments take place in a physical classroom;
      2. Blended (hybrid): course in which content delivery, course activities, and assessments take place in a physical classroom and online;
      3. Online: course in which all content and course activities take place online. No face-to-face meetings are required, but some exams and assignments may take place at authorized locations established by the instructor.
      4. Independent study: mostly on their own time, students study and/or research a subject approved by a supervising instructor and the department. The supervising instructor connects with student over the term of the course to help guide the studies. The amount of time they meet will vary.
      5. Interactive video (a.k.a. video conferencing): utilizes real time, two-way communication between instructor ans student. Everyone may see and speak with each other for real-time discussions.
  3. Justification for offering this course:
    1. Rationale for the course.
    2. Potential degree programs served by this course.
    3. Relationship of proposed course to other department courses.
    4. Whether  the proposed  course entails dropping another course
    5. Whether the proposed course entails changes in other courses
  4. Demonstration of consultation with other departments and units:
    1. Consultation with library about needed resources (yes/no)
    2. Consultation with information technology (yes/no)
    3. Consultation with other academic programs
  5. Does the proposed course affect your departmental assessment plan?  (yes/no)
  6. If a graduate course, is the course sponsored by a graduate program? (Requires signature approval of sponsoring graduate program.)
  7. If a teacher education course, how does the course enhance teacher education and/or respond to accreditation or certification requirements? Which teacher education programs does the course affect and has the department consulted with them?
  8. If a general education course, additional general education fitness and assessment questions are included.
  9. Advisement Report information:
    1. Is the course a requirement in one or more of the department's programs?
    2. Is the course a specific elective in one or more of the department's programs?
  10. Learning outcomes and objectives
  11. Instructional and evaluation methods
  12. Principal activities usually required for all students
  13. Undergraduate/graduate combined course information (slash courses):
    1. Whether it is taught mainly as an undergraduate or as a graduate course
    2. What assignments or methods of evaluation will be used to differentiate the undergraduate students from the graduate
  14. Dean's sign-off implies:
    1. Qualified instructional staff
    2. Adequate facilities
    3. Appropriate equipment and materials
    4. Consideration of exceptional course fees (above $20)
    5. Approval of college/school curriculum committee, if applicable
    6. Estimated student demand for this course (expected enrollment)

Originally part of the "Course Prerequisites, Numbers, and Credit" Policy that Faculty Senate approved 5/4/1995. Updated to reflect current CIM Course Forms.

Course Form: Learning Outcomes and/or Objectives expanding section

UCC and GCC may refuse to act on course proposals that do not provide adequately detailed student learning outcomes and/or objectives.

Course Form: Outlines and Assessment expanding section

UCC and GCC may refuse to act on course proposals that do not provide adequately detailed outlines of course content and assessment.

Course Forms: Effective Date Recommendations expanding section

In a CIM Course Form, the effective date of a course proposal is not always the next term in which the course will be offered. The effective date is intended to make sure the student information system (WINGS) will recognize the change in time for registration and catalog deadlines. Thus, the effective date to use depends on what the proposal is. Occasionally, the Records and Registration may need to change proposal's effective term in order to meet registration and catalog deadlines. In order to avoid that, the Records and Registration office recommends the following:

  1. New Courses: the effective date is the term in which the course is approved by UCC or GCC. This will ensure the course is active in time for registration.
  2. Existing Course: the effective date is the first term in which the change will be effective in the schedule. This is typically a future term. This will ensure the timetable and catalog are updated in time to reflect this change. Generally, course changes should not be effective in terms in which students have registered or which have already started. Departments should plan accordingly.
  3. Deleted Courses: typically, the effective date is the next Summer in order for the deleted course to be removed from the catalog. If the course is being offered in the summer, the effective date will be the following Fall term.

Course Policies

Course Numbering Policy expanding section

Course level set by number:

Courses with numbers in the 100/200 series are primarily for first years and sophomores; those in the 300/400 series, which normally carry a prerequisite, are primarily for juniors and seniors. Almost all courses in the 500 series and some in the 600 series are "slash" courses; they are graduate courses with a companion number in the 300 or 400 series and are open to upper level undergraduates who have earned at least 60 credits and graduate students. All courses with numbers in the 700, 800, or 900 series, and those in the 600 series that are not slash courses, are for graduate students only.

Department and Program responsibilities:

All undergraduate and graduate programs and departments should develop courses in keeping with the general description of the academic numbering levels found above.

All undergraduate and graduate programs and departments should maintain a policy generally describing the criteria used to define lower division, upper division, slash, and graduate levels.  This general information may include:

  1. Types of course topics or content for courses at this level.
  2. Typical student learning outcomes for courses at this level.
  3. Critical thinking processes expected of students enrolling in these courses.
  4. Prerequisite knowledge base expected of students enrolling in these courses.
  5. Typical nature of work expected of students enrolling in these courses.
  6. Typical methods of student performance evaluation.

Course level requirements for students:

Undergraduate students must earn at least 40 credits in the 300/400 numbered courses. See university degree requirements for more information.

Students in all master's degree programs must earn at least one-half of the minimum number of semester credits required in their program in graduate-only level courses.

Students will not receive credit for courses for which they do not have appropriate class standing.

Reusing a Number:

A department can re-use an existing number if the desired number has been inactive for more than 10 years. 

Course numbering policies last updated in "Course Prerequisites, Numbers, and Credit" document approved by Faculty Senate 5/4/1995.

An abbreviated version of this policy is in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs. See also the Slash Course Policy which was updated more recently.

Course Credit Hours Policy expanding section

Definition of a credit hour: Study leading to one semester credit represents an investment of time by the average student of not fewer than 42 hours over the course of the semester. Included in this time is 770 instructional minutes (class time) plus an out-of-class investment of 28 hours for activities such as tutorials, recitations, study time and preparation for participation in class, or a demonstration. In a course with a supervised laboratory or studio, some or all of the required 42 hours can be fulfilled by student participation in these activities. Instructors of online and hybrid courses should take this definition of a credit hour into consideration when designing the course for online delivery. UWL approves courses and course credit based on the content of the course, on the student learning outcomes defined for the course, and on the assessment of those student learning outcomes and approves credit accordingly.

Laboratory hours: The standard for supervised laboratory or supervised studio hours is that two such hours per week are equal to one lecture hour in generating semester credits. Departments requesting a standard different from this must assume the burden of demonstrating the need for varying from the standard in order to obtain committee approval.

Last updated in the "Course Prerequisites, Numbers, and Credit" policy approved by Faculty Senate 5/4/1995. Also listed in UCC Curriculum Policy Document, last updated 2008.

Credit by Exam, Retroactive Credit, & Other Credit Curriculum Policy expanding section

Along with taking regular courses for credit, students at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse have five other ways to earn undergraduate credit.

The five options are:

  1. Advanced Placement Program: Students who have participated in the College Board Advanced Placement program (AP) in high school and have received scores of 3, 4, or 5 will receive academic credit. Transcripts of your AP scores must be submitted directly from the College Board to the Admissions Office for evaluation to determine how academic credit will be awarded.
  2. College Level Entrance Program: The College Level Entrance Program (CLEP) is a national program administered through the College Board. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse follows the American Council on Education (ACE) guidelines and recommendations for minimum scores for awarding credit in all subject examinations. Transcripts must be submitted directly from the College Board to the Admissions Office.
  3. Departmental Credit by Exam: Each department will have on file an examination for each course the department determines to be introductory, including courses applicable to the skills component of the General Education Program.
  4. Retroactive Credit: Two departments (Global Cultures and Languages, and Mathematics) offer retroactive credit for previous course work.
  5. International Baccalaureate Program: Credit will be granted for "Higher Level" examinations with a score of 4 or greater. Transcripts must be submitted directly from IB to the Admissions Office.

Procedures for Administering the Programs and Awarding Credit

  1. Advanced Placement Credit: The AP program is completed in high school; thus, university administration is limited to confirming that credit was earned and posting the credit to transcripts. Transcripts of AP work must be submitted to the Admissions Office for evaluation to determine if academic credit will be awarded.
  2. College Level Entrance Program (CLEP) Credit:
    1. Students should contact the Counseling and Testing Center (CTC) for information about CLEP and to register for an exam. Examinations are scheduled on an individual basis. 
    2. Counseling and Testing Center staff send scores to the Records and Registration Office who updates the student's transcript.
    3. Students will receive their official score with in two weeks.
    4. A non-refundable fee may be charged at the time of the exam.
    5. Students who have taken exams at other sites, may submit the results to the Admissions Office for evaluation to determine if academic credit will be awarded.
  3. International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit: Transcripts of IB work must be submitted to the Admissions Office for evaluation to determine if academic credit will be awarded.
  4. Departmental Credit by Exam & Retroactive Credit:

A. Academic policy for earning credit by examination and retroactive credit:

  1. All credits earned by examination or through retroactive credit will have full academic value, i.e., they will count toward the total required for graduation and, if applicable, fulfill prerequisite requirements for advanced courses, general education requirements, college core requirements and/or major/minor requirements.
  2. Credit will be entered but no grade will be recorded on the permanent academic record.
  3. Credits earned in this manner will not be counted in determining the grade point average.
  4. Credits earned by examination or by retroactive credit will not be counted as part of a student’s course load.
  5. Restrictions:
    1. No student will be permitted to attempt to receive credit by examination or retroactive credit for a particular course more than once.
    2. A student may earn credits by examination or by retroactive credit from UWL only after admission to and enrollment at UWL. A student will be regarded as "regularly admitted and enrolled" after attending on a full-time or part-time basis and paying the appropriate fees in a regular semester or summer term.
    3. No one who has received a final grade in a course or an "incomplete" may earn credit by examination or retroactive credit for the same course.
    4. A student may not receive credit by examination or retroactive credit for a course they are auditing or have audited at UWL.
    5. No student who has withdrawn from a UWL course after the first four weeks may earn credit for the course by examination or by retroactive credit.
    6. Prior or concurrent enrollment in a course as reflected on a student's transcript negates the opportunity for retroactive credit in that course.

B. Curriculum procedures for creating a new or editing an existing departmental credit by exam and/or retroactive credit policy:

  1. To create a credit by exam and/or retroactive credit policy for their department, individual departments first determine which course or courses should have credit by examination or retroactive credit available as an option.
  2. If a policy already exists, the department first determines whether to add or subtract a course to an already existing policy, or to delete the policy entirely.
  3. Departments create new proposals or enter changes to an existing policy through the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) system by creating or editing a credit by exam Program Form for their department and marking it as a "policy."  A retroactive credit policy for the department should be created on a separate Program Form from the credit by exam policy.
  4. After the department has approved its changes, it should submit the policy to workflow. The policy then goes to the dean's office for approval.
  5. The proposal is approved by the dean's office and then forwarded to the Registrar to be placed on the agenda for the next UCC meeting.
  6. UCC must approve the proposal before credit by exam or retroactive credit may be awarded for a course, or before any changes to the policy may be implemented.
  7. Credit by exam and/or retroactive credit proposals shall include:
    1. Designation of the specific course(s) for which granting of credit by examination is proposed.
    2. Information concerning the particular examination to be used for each course.
    3. Eligibility standards for taking an examination for credit.
    4. Scoring of the examination.
    5. Estimation of the number of students who may successfully pass the examination.

C. Administrative procedures for awarding credit by examination and retroactive credit

  1. Credit by Examination
    1. Enrolled students should contact the appropriate department chairperson for permission to take an examination for credit. 
    2. Departments administer the examinations for courses within their departments. Examinations will be given once each semester.  If they wish, departments may also administer the examinations during the summer session.
    3. A non-refundable fee will be charged each student for each examination.  This fee is payable at the Cashiers Office.  Examination for credit will not be administered by departments to students who do not have an examination fee receipt.
    4. Department chairpersons will submit the names of those who pass the examinations to the Records and Registration Office.  The appropriate credits will be recorded on the student's transcript. 
    5. The names of students not passing the examinations will be kept on file in the department for future reference, but should not be submitted to Records and Registration. 
    6. Department chairpersons will inform the students who take the examination of the results as soon as possible after the examination has been administered.  The communication to the student should indicate "pass" or "fail," but it should not indicate a letter grade.
    7. A student who successfully passes the examination for a particular course may choose not to have the credits earned by examination placed on the transcript.
  2. Retroactive Credit
    1. Students must contact the department to file the request for credit.
    2. The department submits the requests for those students who are to be awarded credit, to the Records and Registration Office. The appropriate retroactive credits will be recorded on the student's transcript. 
    3. There is no charge for this transaction.
  3. To maintain integrity and fairness of the academic record, departments should take reasonable precautions to verify that the student who takes an examination or course is the same person who is awarded the credit. One suggestion is that a student who takes the examination be required to fill out a form asking for information which can be compared to information already in the student's record (such as date of birth, names of mother and father, etc.).

A portion of this policy is printed in the undergraduate catalog.

Dates of revisions: 

Entire policy revised by Faculty Senate 2/15/96; approved by Chancellor 4/25/96;
Departmental credit by exam revised by Faculty Senate 11/19/98; approved by Chancellor 12/02/98;
CAPS revised catalog section of policy 1/30/2014.
UCC revised catalog section of policy 4/29/2015.

Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Program expanding section

Background: One of the action steps associated with the Community Engagement pillar of the university’s Sustaining Excellence Strategic Plan and the Community Engagement Civic Action Plan (CAP) is to create a formalized approach to data collection. We wanted to work with the mechanism that already exist at UWL – for instructors (Digital Measures) and students (WINGS). In addition, UWL community engagement data is often requested by constituents and colleagues such as legislatures, UW System, and the UWL Foundation.

Although community engagement is not possible or even practical for all courses or departments, we need a mechanism to track where and how it is occurring on our campus. The data on courses and activities within these courses can help UWL’s Community Engagement Coordinator discover untapped resources/partners in the community and tell the university’s community engagement story.

Process for designation as a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) course/class: Interested instructors fill out the Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Course Attribute Designation Proposal form.

Criteria 1: All CEL courses/classes must have a syllabus that includes a Student Learning Outcome(s) aligned with at least one Eagle Advantage Competency. (Undergraduate courses/classes only)

Criteria 2: All CEL courses/classes must involve 15 hours of engagement with/for the community, as well as at least one reflection piece on the engagement that is tied to a graded course material. The reflection piece can be an assignment, a paper, a quiz, a test, etc. (Graduate and undergraduate courses/classes)

Submit the CEL attribute designation proposal form to the Community Engagement Council. If the above criteria are met, the instructor is provided a letter for their Digital Measures portfolio and the Community Engagement Coordinator will inform Records and Registration to note the course/class as CEL. Instructors will be contacted annually to ensure the course/class still represents the CEL criteria.

Approved by Faculty Senate 4/27/21.

More information about program is at the CEL Classes page.

Component Type and Contact Hours Guidelines expanding section

The description of UWL's component types and component hours is listed in the Component Type and Contact Hours Guidelines in CIM.

Course Prerequisites Policy expanding section

Course prerequisites, listed in the course description, indicate the academic preparation required for successful completion of the course. Occasionally students may have sufficient knowledge to enter courses without the formal prerequisites. In these circumstances, students may ask instructors for consent to enroll; all instructors retain the right to admit any student to their classes, subject to departmental policy. Students who do not meet the stated prerequisite(s) or the required class standing must obtain permission to enroll in a class. Students will not receive credit for courses for which they do not have the appropriate class standing, specified prerequisites, or permission to override the requirements.

Last updated in the "Course Prerequisites, Numbers, and Credits" Policy approved by Faculty Senate 5/4/1995.

Cross-Listed Courses Policy expanding section

A course offered by more than one department that has the same course description, credits, prerequisites, and title but different prefixes (e.g., ECO/THA 376; MTH/PHY 461) is a cross-listed course. Students may only earn credit once for taking a cross-listed course.

This policy is also listed in the undergraduate and graduate catalog.

Extra-Departmental Courses Policy expanding section

All courses being submitted to UCC & GCC must identify a department or program that will be  responsible for the Academic Program Review of the course. The normal APR of that instructional unit would trigger the review of the extra-departmental course, but the evaluation of that course should be done in consultation with or by those actually involved in teaching it.

Last approved by Faculty Senate 5/5/2005.

Slash Course Policy #1 - Numbering & Procedure expanding section

Slash courses are 400/500 numbered parings of undergraduate and graduate level courses in the same subject. These two courses of different academic career levels are scheduled together and taught by one instructor.

Only juniors (who have earned 60 credits or more), seniors, and graduate students will be permitted to enter slash courses.


  1. Departments wishing to offer a course as a slash course must create two CIM Course Forms, one for the undergraduate level and one for the graduate level. The title, course description, number of credits, course prefix and number, and component hours of both levels must be the exactly the same. Everything else may be different, including prerequisites.
  2. Slash course proposals should be substantially justified in terms of student learning outcomes, content, method, and student assessment procedures for both graduate and undergraduate students. The addition of an "extra paper for graduate students" does not constitute a substantive rationale.
  3. However, no difference in instruction is required to be noted between the undergraduate and graduate experiences in slash courses. The courses should be taught to the graduate level for all enrolled students.
  4. The undergraduate level is submitted to UCC for review, and the graduate level is reviewed by GCC. The courses may be submitted and reviewed in either order.

Departments that do not offer graduate programs may propose slash courses only with the approval/formal endorsement and sponsorship of a graduate program.

Departments should continually examine all existing slash courses and decide whether or not they need to remain slash courses. Courses that have no sponsoring graduate program, student markets, or logical place in the structure of the graduate curriculum should be eliminated or converted to undergraduate-only courses.

If departments still have the old style 300/500 or 400/600 slash courses, those courses should be renumbered to 400/500 whenever possible.

Updated by Faculty Senate 5/4/1995 in the "Couse Prerequisites, Numbers, and Credits" document. GCC reaffirmed slash course policy 3/1/2011. Faculty Senate approved an additional slash policy about how the undergraduate and graduate levels need to have different learning experiences 1/26/2017.

Slash Course Policy #2 - Distinction Between the Levels expanding section

At a comprehensive university, there are courses appropriate for both upper level undergraduates and graduate students to be enrolled in the same course.  At UWL, these courses are designated 400/500 (slash) level courses. While the content for graduate and undergraduate students may be similar, even identical, there should be a distinction in learning outcomes and student experience.  In most instances, the learning outcomes of the graduate students should explicitly include a level of analysis and synthesis that exceeds expectations of the undergraduate students. These different outcomes and/or different levels of expectations must be stated explicitly in the syllabi (either separate undergraduate and graduate syllabi or a clearly stated section of a common syllabus).

Curriculum Forms for Slash Courses

The CIM (Curriculum Inventory Management) form for slash courses will require: 1) in the Objectives/Learning Outcomes section, identification of distinctions in learning outcomes for the undergraduate students and the graduate students and 2) completion of the new section titled Difference Between the Undergraduate and Graduate Experience (see below).

Objectives and/or learning outcomes

In the guidelines for Course Objectives and/or Learning Outcomes, include the following statement:

A distinction must be made between course objectives/learning outcomes for students taking the course for undergraduate credit and those taking the course for graduate credit. This distinction could include skills in analysis, synthesis, and/or evaluation at the graduate level.  These differences in course objectives/learning outcomes must be listed in the course syllabus.

Difference between undergraduate and graduate experience

Select one of the following statements and provide information on how this will be accomplished in the course.

  • Although this course is taught largely at a graduate level, the following differences exist to also make it accessible to upper level undergraduates (e.g., different assignments, different expectations, different readings).
  • Although this course is taught largely at an undergraduate level, graduate students are receiving a graduate level experience because of the following graduate-only expectations (e.g., opportunities to teach or co-teach, graduate-only discussion sessions, community outreach/service, writing or research assignments that clearly elevate student analysis of the course content to a graduate level).

(The section above will only appear on CIM if the course is marked as a slash course on the CIM form)

Add to course description

Cut and paste one of the following to the end of your course description:

  • This slash course is taught largely at a graduate level with differences to also make it accessible to upper level undergraduates.
  • This slash course is taught largely at an undergraduate level. Graduate students will have additional course requirements/expectations.

Implementation of new slash course policy

Eventually all departments will revise learning outcomes and complete the new Difference Between the Undergraduate and Graduate Experience section for all slash courses.

Beginning Spring 2017, slash courses (both new and revised) brought before the Graduate Curriculum Committee and/or the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will include differentiated learning outcomes and will articulate the Difference Between the Undergraduate and Graduate Experience.

No later than May 2019, all slash courses will include differentiated learning outcomes and will articulate the Difference Between the Undergraduate and Graduate Experience. Slash courses not updated by the end of the 2019 Spring semester should be reviewed by the department for possible deletion.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Syllabi Review group will ensure inclusion of slash course learning outcomes and student experiences in slash course syllabi campus-wide. It is expected that all slash course syllabi will include distinctions between the graduate and undergraduate student learning outcomes and experiences prior to the course being taught, but no later than Spring 2019.

Policy approved by Faculty Senate 1/26/2017.

Syllabi Policy expanding section

Instructors are required at the beginning of each credit‐bearing course to provide their students with a syllabus containing, at minimum, the information laid out in the university's Syllabi Policy. Exceptions include independent studies, practicums, internships and field experiences.

The full syllabi policy and syllabi templates can be found on the CATL website.

Pass/Fail Courses Curriculum Policy expanding section

The only categories of courses that qualify for pass/fail grading are:

  • Internships
  • Independent Study
  • Workshops
  • Courses Offered for Special Clientele
  • Field Study
  • Remedial
  • ESL

A proposal to designate  a course that meets one of the above categories be graded on a pass/fail basis must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate. Students enrolled in pass/fail courses must be graded on a pass/fail basis, unless it has been approved that the department have the option to choose pass/fail grading on a term by term basis. If a departmental option for pass/fail grading has been approved by the Undergraduate or Graduate Curriculum Committee, the grading system to be utilized should be designated each time a term's schedule is submitted to Records and Registration.          

Additional Requirements:

  1. Credits taken on a P/F basis will not be averaged into a grade point average if "P" is filed by the instructor. The credits will count as credits earned. An "F" will be averaged in and will be counted as credits attempted.
  2. Specific courses are approved for pass/fail grading. Students do not have the option to request a graded course be taken as P/F.
  3. A maximum of 21 credits of P/F course work can be used toward an undergraduate degree.

UWL does not accept graduate transfer credit from other institutions in which a grade of "pass" was earned.

Students should realize that P/F graded courses might not be accepted in transfer to other institutions of higher learning. Professional schools are especially reluctant to accept P/F graded course work. Some employers, principals, and/or superintendents may be unable to acknowledge credits or reward employees, especially graduate students working on advanced degrees, when course work has been taken under the P/F grading system.

Approved by Faculty Senate 1/27/77; Revised by CAPS 12/4/91.

An abbreviated version of this policy is published in the undergraduate and graduate catalogs.

Umbrella Courses Policy expanding section


  1. Regular Course: A course where the syllabus remains substantially unchanged across multiple offerings.
  2. Regular Course with Topics:  A course such that the syllabus may change substantially across multiple offerings although each offering falls under the same broad academic topic. None of the offerings are expected to become separate regular courses.
  3. Umbrella Course: A course that allows departments to test or pilot individual topics under that umbrella course's number to see if the topic would be useful as a regular course. Each course offering of an umbrella course is distinct and has a substantially different academic topic.
  4. Umbrella Topic: The individual topic being tested out under the umbrella course's number. If a department decides there is enough student interest in the topic and the topic is ready, the department creates a new course for that academic topic. An umbrella topic being offered under the umbrella course's number may only be offered a limited number of times before the department must make it a separate, new course.


The Umbrella Course:

  1. When submitting a new course for approval, the CIM Course Form must indicate whether the course is an umbrella course or a regular course. Flagging courses as umbrella courses allows the Registrar to manage the courses according to the umbrella course policy.

The Umbrella Topic:

  1. The department must approve each new topic to be offered under a previously established umbrella course, prior to its initial scheduling.
  2. The department offering an umbrella topic must consult with other departments whose subject interests may be affected, prior to the submission of CIM Umbrella Topic Forms to the dean. Interdepartmental action/consultation is to be fully noted on the curriculum documents.
  3. The department must complete or update an electronic Umbrella Topic Form through the Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) system. When finished, the department submits the form to workflow. The department chair will give electronic approval for the topic and forward the form to the dean's office
  4. The department should submit an electronic Umbrella Topic Form each time the topic needs to be scheduled (up to the limit for number of times the topic can be offered), even if the topic has been submitted electronically before.
  5. If the dean's office gives electronic approval, the Umbrella Topic Form is then forwarded to the Registrar in the Records and Registration office. The Registrar will work with departments to see that appropriate scheduling and program application is accomplished. Graduate courses and "slash/course" topics are also forwarded to the Director of University Graduate Studies. All Umbrella Topic Forms are kept on file indefinitely.

Number of Times Offered Limit: Umbrella topics with similar course content may be offered a maximum of three times within an unlimited number of years or an unlimited number of times within three calendar years. 

Scheduling and Application of Umbrella Topics: A properly approved umbrella topic will be processed and applied by the Records and Registration office based on the instructions submitted on the CIM form. Individual umbrella topics are scheduled as sections of the "parent" umbrella course on a term by term basis. The individual topics will be added to the Advisement Report (AR) and applied to student records as requested. However, umbrella topics will not be added to the catalog pages of majors, minors, emphases, or concentrations and will not appear in the next published catalog as part of the curriculum.

Approved by the Faculty Senate 9/09/93; Revised 1/23/96, Senate notified 3/15/96; 2015 revision approved by GCC 4/7/2015; by UCC 4/28/2015.

University Catalog Course Management Policy expanding section

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse requires its catalog of course offerings to be kept up-to-date because students and advisors rely on the catalog to make informed class scheduling decisions as they plan their academic careers. It is also recognized that current course offerings are dependent upon both student needs and faculty availability. Therefore, if a course is active in the catalog and WINGS but has not been taught in five or more years, the Records and Registration Office will notify the appropriate department chair(s) and encourage review of the course status. The department may elect to deactivate the course or keep the course active. Decisions to deactivate the course will be added to the appropriate UCC/GCC consent agenda. Deactivated courses may be revived within five years of the deactivation using the same CIM form. If the course information remains unchanged upon reactivation and the course was reviewed and approved at UCC/GCC in the five years prior to deactivation, the course will be added to the appropriate UCC/GCC consent agenda and the department does not need to present. If the course was not reviewed in the five years prior to deactivation, or if significant changes are being made, the department will need to present the proposal in person at the appropriate curriculum meeting.


Program Forms

Program Form: Effective Date Recommendations expanding section

For the CIM Program form, the effective date is the first term the changes or new program will apply to students. It is important to keep in mind that this also affects in which catalog the change will be published. The deadline for getting into the next year's catalog is summer term.

Program Form: Emphasis vs. Concentration expanding section

Emphasis, concentrations, and minors are not interchangeable. Departments should keep in mind the following definitions when creating programs.

Emphasis: as part of a major, an academic focus on a subject found within the department that supplements the major. Emphasis credits may come entirely from courses within the department. An emphasis does not necessarily add credits to the major, but selects departmental electives and/or core courses to go toward an internal academic focus.

Concentration: as part of a major, an academic focus on a subject external to the department that broadens and enhances the major. The majority of concentration credits must be from courses outside of the department and are added on top of a major. A major with a concentration will have more credits than a major with an emphasis. The difference between a concentration and a minor is that a concentration is designed to go with and in a major, while a minor is completely separate.

Minor: an academic focus separate from a major requiring less credits to complete than a major. A minor introduces the student to higher level information in a subject, but the minor is not the student's primary academic focus and the student is not required to demonstrate as much proficiency as with a major. Except for possible requirements set by a major's college and department, minors usually do not have to relate to the major in any way.

Program Policies

Stand-Alone Certificate Policy expanding section

Login to view the most up-to-date version of the University's Stand-Alone Certificate Policy.

GPA Requirements in Programs Policy expanding section

Departments or programs wishing to institute GPA requirements shall justify those requirements based on:

1. External accreditation requirements or nationally accepted parameters in a profession,


2. Historical and/or empirical evidence proving that students below the minimum requirements do not succeed in upper division courses in the major or program.

Departments or programs with entrance requirements should not rely solely on overall GPA. Additional tools should be employed to assess program readiness. These tools could include the following:

  • GPA requirements in discipline-specific or other required lower division courses
  • Type, difficulty and chronology of courses already taken
  • Credit load
  • Interviews
  • Essays/writing samples/letters/portfolios
  • Work and/or life experience
  • References and recommendations
  • Performance in particular skills/observations/field experience

Departments or programs with exit requirements should establish policies and/or committees which periodically monitor students' progress toward completion of requirements, especially in cases where a relatively high GPA is needed for a required internship or where the exit requirement is higher than the entrance requirement. These policies and/or committees should relate to three specific student concerns:

  1. Advising
  2. Appeals/hearings
  3. Probation

Program GPA requirements shall not be implemented exclusively for purposes of enrollment management.

Approved by Faculty Senate 4/1/99; approved by Chancellor 9/30/99.

Minors (New or Revised) Policy expanding section

New minors should conform to the following guidelines: 

  1. Credits required for the minor should range from 18-24. 
  2. At least one-half of the course work should be upper division level (300-400) 
  3. There should be a maximum of six credits double counted between General Education and the minor requirements 
  4. No more than six credits should be “hidden prerequisites” (defined as courses outside the minor department and normally above 100 level introductory or General Education courses) 

In addition to the above requirements, the committee proposes the following guideline to address the concern about double counting between majors and minors. 

5.  Between a major and a minor there must exist at least 42 “unduplicated credits” (defined as common combinations of fresh or unique credits, not double counted between the two programs). If there are courses that are required for both major and minor, the student must use other courses within the discipline to come up to the minimum number of credits in the major or minor. (Note: CBA professional core does count as credits in the business majors.) 

Inability to conform to any of these guidelines should be justified by a rationale for non-compliance in the curriculum proposal. 


The information provided to the Academic Priorities Committee in the “Contents of Proposals for New Programs” should be submitted to the UCC with the LX 138P. Interdisciplinary programs need to submit all appropriate approvals from sponsoring departments and colleges. The UCC recommends that the College Deans, in tandem with the University Registrar and the Chair of Faculty Senate, assist in directing each new subprogram proposal through the proper approval process, in the following sequence: Appropriate departmental and college committees, college dean, Academic Priorities Committee, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Faculty Senate, Chancellor or designee. 

Approved by Faculty Senate 10-14-99.

Maximum Credits in a Major (Extent of Majors Policy) expanding section

No department may require more than 40 semester credits in one major unless it becomes necessary to do so in order to meet external requirements for certification or accreditation as prescribed by an external agency or accrediting group and is approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. 

Departments that have already been approved to offer majors in excess of 40 credits will be encouraged (but not required) to comply with the Extent of Majors policy.

Revised by UCC on 10/13/1992.

General Education Policies

General Education Course Review Procedures expanding section

Review of new general education course proposals and changes to existing general education courses will be processed on a CIM Course Form and reviewed by the General Education Committee after these courses have been approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.

Last approved by CAPS, Faculty Senate, and Chancellor in Spring 1996.

Student Appeals & Petitions on Requirements expanding section

Students desiring to make substitutions in course or graduation requirements must obtain the appropriate petition form from the office of the college in which the student is enrolled, complete the petition form, obtain the appropriate signatures, and return the petition to the dean of that college. The petition should clearly reflect the recommendation of the Department(s) involved, if any. The dean will review the petition and either approve or disapprove the request. If the department and the dean recommend approval of the petition concerning general education substitutions, the petition must be forwarded to the General Education Committee and recorded in the minutes. No action is required by the General Education Committee. If the department recommends against and/or the dean denies the petition and the student wishes to appeal the decision, the petition can be brought before the General Education Committee through the office of the dean. Once the petition is before the General Education Committee, the student may choose self representation or college representation. If self representation is chosen, the student may make a presentation to the General Education Committee and/or be available to answer questions. After hearing the student’s presentation and asking all student-directed questions, the committee may go into closed session for discussion and voting. Decisions made by the GEC are final; there is no further appeal process.

All petitions concerning writing emphasis requirements must be brought before the General Education Committee for action. 

Student petitions will be last on the agenda. 

Approved by UCC on May 10, 1994; Received by Faculty Senate October 27, 1994. General education petitions now to be seen by Gen Ed committee instead of UCC approved by Faculty Senate on 11/30/06 per change to committee by-laws.

Associate Degree Standards expanding section

The University of Wisconsin System has issued standards in regards to the creation and granting of Associate Degrees which apply to all institutions in the University of Wisconsin System.

Consistent with this policy, UW-La Crosse has requirements that must be met in order for a student to earn an Associate Degree. These associate degree requirements are in the catalog. The committee responsible for overseeing these requirements is the General Education Committee.

General Education Committee expanding section

The General Education Committee reviews all general education courses that are being changes or proposed. Their by-laws and other committee documents can be found on the Faculty Senate Google Drive. Below are some useful documents when creating or editing a general education course.

General Education Glossary of Helpful Terminology

Guidelines to Proposing General Education Courses

Rational for Changing the General Education SLO Structure

Gen Ed Requirement Waiver Policy expanding section

The Undergraduate General Education Requirement Waiver Policy can be found in UWL's electronic Curriculum Inventory Management system (CIM).

Online Education

Online Courses & Education Policy expanding section

**IMPORATNT NOTE: The below mode of instructions were recently updated to include online synchronous and online asynchronous and to update the hybrid definition. Please refer to the COVID-19 FAQs for more information about teaching online.**

  1. Definition of Course Types:
    1. Face-to-Face (F2F) or In-Person or On Campus: Course in which content delivery, course activities, and assessments take place in a physical classroom.
      1. Shown in WINGS as "P" for In Person in the Timetable 
    2. Hybrid: Course in which content delivery, course activities, and assessments take place in a physical classroom and online. This combination of online and in-person elements is based on meaningful learning strategies that best serve an instructor’s pedagogical goals and objectives. This classification signals to students that there is an expectation of both physical presence and online learning in the instructor's design of the course. While a percentage is not mandated, hybrid courses are traditionally 30% to 50% of seat time replaced with online components. Hybrid courses include a class note available to students at registration, which indicates anticipated in-person and online class time.
      1. Shown in WINGS as "HY" for Hybrid: Blend On-campus/Online
    3. Online courses (fully) - students do not meet in person at a physical site. All content and course activities take place online. Prior to Fall 2020, shown in WINGS as "OL" for online.
      1. Synchronous - some or all of the elements of the class occur in real time. Elements can be required (e.g., a lecture or exam) or optional (e.g., office hours or discussion times). The course should be listed as online in the timetable and a meeting date/time should be noted.
        1. Shown in WINGS as "OS" for Online Synchronous
      2. Asynchronous - although there are deadlines for students by which they need to complete work, there are no requirements for a specific date/time when the student must be available.
        1. Shown in WINGS as "OA" for Online Asynchronous
    4. Independent Study
      1. Shown in WINGS as "IS" for Independent Study
  2. Mode of Instruction: The CIM Course Form includes a mode of instruction to indicate if the course will be partly or entirely offered online. Departments must indicate online synchronous, online asynchronous, hybrid/blended, in-person, or independent study modes of instruction so that Records and Registration can appropriately designate these courses in the timetable and find a classroom with the appropriate technology. More than one mode of instruction may be selected in order to fully describe how the course currently is or may be taught in the future.
  3. Existing online courses: Follow the standard course review by a university curriculum committee, e.g. significant changes in course outline, grading pattern, etc. In other words, no special review is required for online courses making changes.  Departments will be responsible for ensuring course compatibility with selected technology and for evaluating online offerings.
  4. Existing courses converting to an online format: Review is only required by UCC or GCC if the conversion is accompanied by a change that currently warrants UCC or GCC approval (i.e. a, addition or deletion of prerequisites, credit change, course description change, change in course objectives, changes in instructional methods and evaluation procedures, etc.). Changing a course to an online format is the decision of the department and, on its own, does not affect the rest of the course. If the conversion is not accompanied by a change that requires UCC/GCC review, the mode of instruction change should be identified by the Registrar and sent to UCC/GCC as an informational item.
  5. New online courses: Follow the standard curriculum approval process and indicate the appropriate mode of instruction. Departments should be prepared to address the following questions in regards to the class being taught online.
    1. How is the credit court determined?
    2. How is the instructor contact hour load determined?
    3. What is the role of the instructor?
    4. How are student/instructor interactions facilitated?
    5. How are the students assessed?
  6. New programs delivered entirely online: Follow the standard review including the department, college, the Academic Program Committee, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, the Undergraduate or Graduate Curriculum Committee, and the full Faculty Senate. Approval from the University of Wisconsin System may also be required.
  7. When the curriculum committee reviews a course proposal in which a form of distance education technology is a significant component, the Online Advisory Board and the appropriate contact from Information Technology Services (ITS) should be invited to provide input concerning the appropriate use of the technology.
  8. Individuals teaching online courses should work with ITS staff on possible instructional design changes that may be required and the availability of needed technology prior to offering a course.

Further resources about UWL's online programs can be found on the UWL Online Education website, including the "UWL Online Education Handbook."

Dates of policy revisions:

  1. Principles of distance education first approved by Faculty Senate on 9/28/1995 and approved by Chancellor 11/28/1995.
  2. Online course recommendations approved by Faculty Senate on 10/4/2006 and Chancellor approved on 11/5/2006.
  3. More online course recommendations approved by Faculty Senate on 2/11/2010.
  4. Definitions adopted by UCC on 1/31/2008; revision adopted by GCC on 2/4/2014 & UCC on 2/11/2014.
  5. Definitions revised and adopted by UCC 10/27/20, GCC 11/4/2020, and Faculty Senate 11/10/2020
  6. Definition of hybrid revised and adopted by UCC 3/31/2021, GCC 4/20/2021, and Faculty Senate 5/6/2021.

Other Curriculum Policies

Institute Guidelines expanding section

A. The initial establishment of an Institute or other organization conducting an academic program outside of existing departmental programs should be by action of the Faculty Senate. Proposals for Institutes, or their functional equivalents, should include completion of Academic Program Format C with particular attention to:

  1. Anticipated needs for administrative and instructional staff.
  2. Anticipated needs for Summer Session staff.
  3. The potential effect on existing departments and programs from which institute staff are drawn.
  4. The extent to which the proposed Institute will seek extramural funds.
  5. The standards by which the success or failure of the Institute and its academic programs are to be judged.

Proposals for Institutes are to be submitted to the Provost/Vice Chancellor. With the approval of the Provost/Vice Chancellor, the proposals will be forwarded to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and upon approval by that committee, forwarded to the Senate for final consideration. Initial approval will be for a period of two years. During the second year of its existence, a new Institute must complete the Audit and Review procedure described in paragraph B of this section.

B. Continuing Institutes, those which have completed the initial Audit and Review after two years of existence, must complete the Audit and Review process every three years.  Institutes are to submit Audit and Review reports to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee under the schedule announced by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Departments. The Audit and Review report of an Institute should devote particular attention to the evaluation standards defined at the time the Institute was initially approved. Continuation of the Institute following Audit and Review requires action of the Senate.

C. Institutes in existence at the time this report is accepted--Institute for Minority Studies, Institute for Women's Studies, and Honors Program--are to complete the Audit and Review process beginning during the 1979-80 academic year. Subsequently, these Institutes will be reviewed on a three-year cycle as specified in Paragraph B.

E. The Provost/Vice Chancellor may delay the scheduled review of any Institute for one year for the purpose of distributing Institute reviews more evenly in the three-year cycle. This provision applied only to the regular three-year reviews and not the initial review after two years.

International Courses expanding section
  1. All proposals from UWL faculty and staff for credit-generating courses which include travel beyond the region of the University’s customary activity are subject to review and recommendation by the Travel and International Committee.
  2. Once departmental and college approval has been given for a course involving travel, a curriculum course form for this course must be submitted to the Travel and International Education Committee. This committee screens such proposals for content and consistency in format and design. Once reviewed and recommended by this committee, these proposals are then forwarded to the appropriate curriculum committee, or Dean in the case of umbrella course topics, for review and final approval. (This final approval should be obtained before such courses can be advertised).
  3. Credit for courses involving travel shall be generated subject to the existing regulations for resident study.

Approved Faculty Senate December 15, 1988.

If you are serving on a curriculum committee or are a department chair, you will use CIM differently based on your role. These specific training materials will walk you through the process. The curriculum policies on the previous tab should also be reviewed to gain a more thorough understanding of the policies that govern curriculum at UWL.

UCC/GCC guides:

Guides for other approval steps:

Approvers in the workflow such as department chairs, college deans, and committee chairs should review the proposal from the Approval Page, a separate webpage from the Course Forms and Programs Forms. The Approval Page is where the proposal can be approved (and sent forward to the next step in workflow), edited, or rolled back to the proposer (for more editing or to reject proposal).

The link to this page is sent to the approver in the "Action Required" email that comes from the UWL Curriculum Team. Approvers can bookmark the Approver Page in their browser from the link in the email or by using the button below.

The Approval Page requires the same UWL login information as the CIM forms, so login using your normal UWL username and password. Once on the Approval Page, go to your specific approval role in the drop-down menu and select a proposal to review. 

Please note: once you have hit "Approve," you can no longer make edits because the form has moved on to the next step in workflow. If you accidently send the form forward, please contact the next person in workflow to roll the form back to you for more editing. 


Contact the UWL Curriculum Team at with questions or for in-person training.