New Course Proposal Instructions

On this page:

Topics Courses

Undergraduate Course Proposal

Graduate Course Proposal

Topics Courses

What is a topics course?
A topics course has a variable course title, meaning that the department can change the course title associate with the course number each semester as they choose.  Topics course numbers are used to run "temporary" courses, such as pilot courses that may eventually become permanent courses, or courses taught by visiting faculty and/or fellows.

How do topics courses appear on a student's transcript?
Topics course will appear on a student's transcript with their given course title preceded by "Topics:", i.e. "Topics: Israeli Literature".  Some topics course have specific subject associated with them, such as "Topics in the Bible:" or "Topics in Medieval Jewish Studies:", in which case this would appear before the course title.

How do I create a topics course?
Speak with the Department Administrator about scheduling your course using a topics number.  They take only a few weeks to create rather than the several months that a new course proposal can take.

Undergraduate New Course Proposals

All undergraduate new course proposals should be submitted to the HJS Department Administrator, who will send them to CAS on behalf of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  All new course proposals should include an Undergraduate New Course Proposal Form and a Syllabus.

Fall Courses: February 1st
Spring Courses: September 1st
Summer Courses: November 15th

Questions to consider when creating a new course:

  • Is the topic/area to be covered presented clearly and coherently?

  • Does the short description suitably advertise the course to students?

  • Is the workload for the declared level of the course (including readings, assignments, tests, research projects, and papers) comparable to that of similar courses in the College? (The UCC recommends 60-100 pages of reading per week, and 20 pages of writing per course.)

  • Does the syllabus list all readings, assignments and due dates, exams, etc., clearly and in detail?

  • Does the new course overlap with courses offered in other departments? (The DUS is responsible for checking for overlap within the department.)

  • Does the course have the proper prerequisites?

  • Has the proposer consulted with other faculty teaching courses on the topic or related topics, inside and outside her/his department? Should the course be cross-listed?

  • If the proposer is not a regular full-time member of FAS, what plans does the department have for staffing the course in the future?

For more information about the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, click here.

Graduate New Course Proposals

All graduate new course proposals should be submitted to the HJS Department Administrator, who will forward them to GSAS.  All new course proposals should include an Graduate New Course Proposal Form and a Syllabus (detailed instructions are included on the second page of the form).

Deadlines for new course proposals can be found on the GSAS Curriculum Committee website.  Please keep in mind that new course proposals are usually due at the beginning of the semester prior to the one in which the course will run, i.e. Spring 2014 courses are due at the start of the Fall 2013 semester.

New syllabi should contain all of the following:

  • a description of the course as it would appear in the bulletin (250 words or less)

  • a description of the aims of the course

  • a detailed list of the weekly topics and the assigned and recommended readings

  • a description of all examinations, papers and/or other requirements

  • a description of how the students will be evaluated along with a breakdown of how each of the course requirements constitutes the final grade