Course Action Approval Process and Timeline
A course can be offered in two formats:
- Special Topics or Experimental Course Offerings
This course offering allows for faculty and departments to try out new course material on an experimental basis before formally proposing the course with a permanent course number. Most departments have a designated course number approved for the offering of special topics; normally within the course number range of 290-298 and 490-498. A special topic is only permitted to be offered two times. A third offering may be permitted upon approval by the Dean of Academic Programs & Services (APS). Prior to the third offering, the course should be proposed with a permanent number and approved through the college and university level process. Offering a course as a special topics using an existing special topics course number does not require approval beyond the department or other internal processes for such an offering. If no special topics course number is established, the department should submit a course action form to create a special topics course number.
- Permanent Course Offering
Courses to be offered on a permanent basis for either inclusion as a requirement or an elective in a curriculum or as an offering listed in the NC State course catalog will require a unique course number and title. Proposals for new courses will follow the processes listed below.
A proposed course cannot be advertised until it is approved. The course can be set up as a special topics course offering for an upcoming semester and then changed to the approved course number once it moves through to final approval.
Course Approval Process and Timelines
College Level Approval
- Once the decision is made to move forward with seeking approval for a new course, the faculty member should discuss with their department head and begin drafting the necessary paperwork that is required for course approval. A new course requires a course action form, justification and information page, and syllabus. Detailed instructions are available at Creating a New Course.
- If there is concern that the course may overlap with another course or requires a pre/co-requisite course not offered by your college, a consultation with the offering college/department is required which may take a week or more to secure a proper consult. See consultation guidelines. The rate of response to a consult will affect the internal processing time for the action.
- Once the course action and syllabus are prepared, the full course action is reviewed by the department head and/or departmental committee who may require corrections be made or more information be added to the action. Depending on the level of revision needed, this will factor into the internal processing time for an action.
- Once the department head signs the action it then moves forward for placement on the College Courses and Curriculum Committee (CCC) agenda for approval (see college liaison contact). The CCC may also require the faculty member to revise the action which will factor into the timeline to approval.
- Once the CCC signs the action it then requires the College Dean’s signature. Once signed by the Dean, the College Liaison sends the action to the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula (OUCC) in DASA for placement on the University Courses and Curriculum Committee (UCCC) for approval which begins the university level processing timeline.
Each college has a representative member on UCCC who will be assigned to present the submitted course action on the agenda. UCCC membership listing is available at the UCCC website. The UCCC meets usually every other week during the semester. If UCCC tables the action or approves pending, this will delay final approval until corrections/concerns are addressed and received.
Depending on the action taken by UCCC, the timeline to final approval and implementation will be affected as follows.
There are three types of actions that may be taken by UCCC upon review of the course proposal.
- UCCC approves the course action as submitted (Approved):
- If UCCC approves the action with no required revisions, the course action is then signed by the Dean of Academic Programs & Services (APS). The action then moves to Registration and Records electronically for addition to the master course catalog within approximately 7 days.
- UCCC approves the course action contingent upon changes (Approved Pending):
- If the UCCC approves the action pending revision, the UCCC representative for the college shall notify the instructor, department and college liaison (or any other person as needed) of the required changes. Once the revisions are made, the revised documentation should be sent via email to the OUCC directly from the faculty/department or by way of the College Liaison. Once the OUCC reviews the submitted revisions and if all necessary revisions are provided, the course action is signed by the Dean of DASA and forwarded to Registration and Records for implementation.
- Depending on the timeliness of the college representative on UCCC notifying the faculty/department of the needed revisions and then the subsequent submission of these revisions to the OUCC will factor into the timeline for approval.
- UCCC tables the course action (Tabled):
- If the action is tabled by the UCCC, the UCCC representative for the action shall notify the instructor, department and college liaison (or any other person as needed) of the required changes, related issues, or clarification that needs to be resolved in order to return the action to the committee for consideration. The college liaison should notify the OUCC that the action should return to UCCC and submit any revised documentation as applicable. Once approved by UCCC, the action follows the same process to implementation. Tabling of an action affects the timeline in that the course must be reviewed and revised as needed as a result and then placed on a subsequent UCCC agenda.
Scheduling for the upcoming Summer term occurs in late October when Registration and Records sends to the departmental scheduling officers the notification to input their course offerings for the upcoming term. Having the course approved by late October puts the course in the initial scheduling cycle for summer sessions which is completed by the end of January at which time the summer course offerings are posted online. The course action should be submitted to the OUCC by early October for approval by UCCC.
Scheduling for the upcoming Spring term occurs in June when Registration and Records sends to the departmental scheduling officers the notification to input their course offerings for the upcoming term. Having the course approved by the last UCCC meeting in May will allow for the course to be included in the initial scheduling cycle for the spring term which is completed by mid-September. To move through this process, the course action should be submitted to the OUCC by April for approval by UCCC.
Scheduling for the upcoming Fall term occurs in January when Registration and Records sends to the departmental scheduling officers the notification to input their course offerings for the upcoming term. Having the course approved by UCCC by the end of January will allow for the course to be included in the initial scheduling cycle for the fall term which is completed by mid-February. The course action should be submitted to the OUCC by early December or January for approval by UCCC.
How long will it take to get a course approved?
- In terms of approval time, the main issue is how much time it will take for a course to be approved internally within the college as highlighted above. Once it is approved by the college, expect that it will take approximately 3 weeks for a course action to move through it's receipt by the OUCC to the UCCC agenda, then for signature of the Dean for DASA, and forwarding to Registration and Records for implementation if no revision to the action is required.
- A course action requiring revision will delay this 3 week approval timeline only so long as it takes the college representative on UCCC to notify the department/instructor and others as needed for the revision to the documentation to occur, and the forwarding of the revised action to the OUCC for final signature and transfer to R&R for implementation.
- For a course that is also requesting approval to be a course that satisfies a General Education Program requirement, upon approval by UCCC, the action moves to the Council on Undergraduate Education (CUE) for approval which will extend the timeline for approval by 1-2 weeks. If CUE tables the action or approves pending, this will delay final approval until corrections/concerns are addressed and received.
How long will it take before it appears in the course catalog and can be scheduled?
Once Registration and Records receives the approved course action, it may take anywhere from 1 day to 2 weeks for the course to be added to SIS and included in the course catalog. Please contact Registration and Record's Associate Registrar Holly Swart if there are questions about implementation.
I want to offer the new course for an upcoming term, when should the course action be submitted?
To determine when the course should be submitted for the UCCC agenda, consider the following:
- Do you want the course approved prior to the beginning of the scheduling process for a term in order for the course to be processed, scheduled in SIS, assigned a classroom and posted prior to advising for the term? If yes, see summission guidelines above.
- The University Courses and Curriculum Committee and the Council on Undergraduate Education do not meet during the summer terms.
- The earlier the action is submitted, the sooner it can be scheduled and advertised to students. A proposed course cannot be advertised until it is approved. The course can be set up as a special topics course offering for an upcoming semester and then changed to the approved course number once it moves through to final approval.
Curriculum Action Approval Process and Timeline
Curricular proposals requiring UNC-GA approval or notification:
- New Degree/Plan (On-campus and Distance Education) - approval
- Degree Title Change - approval
- University Certificate - notification
- Dual Degree - notification
- Bilateral Agreement - notification
- Articulation Agreement with institution outside UNC and NCCC system - notification
On-campus routing of a New Degree/Title Change:
If all flows smoothly, degree approval on campus should take approximately one year and degree title changes slightly less. Most of the NC State committees in the approval routing meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. The longest interval of delay is with the Board of Trustees which meets twice during a term (Sept, Nov, Feb, Apr) and once in the summer (July). Movement between steps may also be delayed if the department is requested to resubmit revisions at any stage (i.e the cleaner the document is when it leaves the department, the quicker the process goes.) For a new degree, submitting Appendices A and C and/or F and G together expedites the time to final approval.
A new degree, title change or certificate follows the routing as indicated on the routing form and as listed below. The routing form should be submitted with the curriculum package.
- Department Head endorses (signature required on action)
- College Undergraduate Curriculum Committee recommends (signature required on action)
- College Dean endorses (signature required on action). Action submitted to DASA
- Substantive Change Committee review (SACS notified if necessary) (Includes UPA & Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid)
- Recommended by Vice Provost, DELTA (if DE degree or certificate) (signature required on action)
- University Courses and Curricula Committee recommends (signature required on action)
- Dean of Academic Programs & Services (APS) approves (signature required on action)
- Associate Dean’s Council informed. Action submitted to Provost’s office.
- Vice Provosts informed
- Dean’s Council recommends (signature required on action)
- Recommended by Chancellor’s Executive Officers (EOM)
- Provost approves (signature required on action)
- University Council informed
- Presented to Board of Trustees subcommittees (Academic & Personnel and Finance & Planning)
- Chancellor approves (signature required on action)
- Submitted to UNC General Administration by DASA's Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula.
For a New Degree, the time of year the proposal is submitted for approval routing affects the timeliness to implementation.
- If the curriculum action is submitted by late August or early September, the action can move through the approval routing for submission to UNC-GA in late November if no issues arise. A disciplinary panel will be coordinated by GA and the program coordinator will be contacted by General Administration regarding the panel date. Anticipated approval from UNC-GA can vary from 3 months to 1 year.
- If the curriculum action is submitted by late January or early February, the action can move through the approval routing if expedited for submission to UNC- GA in early May if no issues arise. A disciplinary panel will be coordinated by GA and the program coordinator will be contacted by General Administration regarding the panel date. Anticipated approval from UNC-GA can vary from 3 months to 1 year.
- If the action is submitted outside of the timeframe listed above, the approval timeline may be extended.
- Undergraduate Admissions needs to know by May if new curricula are being added in order to list it and recruit students effectively. Printed and on-line applications are updated once a year in June.
Example of approval flow in calendar format.
Click on image to enlarge view.