Definitions and Approval
Major, Sequence, Concentration, and Minor
A cohesive combination of courses, including introductory, intermediate, and advanced course work, that designates a student's primary areas of specialization. Majors are designated on university transcripts. The offering of a new major requires approval by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Higher Education.
A subdivision of a major in which there are specific requirements. Sequences of the same major generally share a common core within a major. Sequences are designated on university transcripts. The offering of a new sequence needs approval beyond the University Curriculum Committee.
A subdivision of a degree without specific requirements that is provided for advisement only. Concentrations are not designated on University transcripts. All informal curricular recommendations made by departments/schools (such as emphases, tracks, areas of study, specializations, etc.) should use the term "concentration".
Minor (for undergraduate programs only)
A combination of courses designed to provide a cohesive introduction to an area of study beyond the major. Minors are designated on university transcripts. The offering of a new minor needs approval beyond the University Curriculum Committee (Academic Senate and the Provost). A minor, including all required prerequisite hours, may include 18 to 36 hours. In no case may the minor include more than 25 hours from the department offering the minor (policy 2.1.9).
Accelerated Master's Degree Programs
A program that allows students to complete an undergraduate and graduate degree in the same disciplinary area within a timeframe that may be less than the traditional bachelor's and master's programs. Students will take both graduate and undergraduate classes when they have junior or senior status and seamlessly transition into their master's degree program. The undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred separately. After approval by the College Curriculum Committee, the proposals proceed simultaneously through the University Curriculum Committee (undergraduate).
Integrated Bachelor's/Master's Degree Programs
An Integrated degree program (BA/MA or BS/MS) allows students to complete an undergraduate and graduate degree, in the same disciplinary area, within a time frame that may be less than the traditional bachelor's and master's program. Students take undergraduate and graduate level courses simultaneously beginning as early as the second semester of their junior year. An integrated degree is normally a five to six year program for currently enrolled Illinois State University students. Students who wish to complete an integrated program will receive both degrees simultaneously upon completion of all program requirements for both degrees. New integrated degree programs need approval beyond the University Curriculum Committee (Graduate Curriculum Committee, Academic Senate, Provost, Board of Trustees and the Board of Higher Education).
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificates are graduate courses of study approved by an academic unit designed to provide professional development and career advancement opportunities, broaden career options, or enhance an individual's skills or education as part of the process of life-long learning. These certificates are not part of degree programs, although courses completed as part of a certificate curriculum could be used in meeting degree requirements, where appropriate.
Contract educational services, programs and courses are delivered through mutual contract to a business site for a specific cohort or business entity.
CR- Credit: Assigned to students who do satisfactory work in a course which is offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis. Certain courses in the University are offered only on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.
NC- No Credit: Assigned to students who do not do satisfactory work in a course which is offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis. Certain courses in the University are offered only on a Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) basis.
For new and revised courses indicate "yes", the course will be offered only as Credit/No Credit on the course proposal.
Cross-listed courses are ONE course that is jointly developed by two or more departments/schools and may be offered by those units. A cross-listed course is one course regardless of the department or school through which the student registered for the course and the course will meet all the same requirements. This is a general rule that applies to all cross-listed courses taken for any purpose.
Example: If a student earned credit in HIS/SOC 112 by completing a HIS offering of the course and they attempt to enroll in a SOC offering of the HIS/SOC 112 course, they will get a Repeat message (See Course Repeat rules) since they would be attempting to enroll in the same course they already have earned credit in.
For new cross-listed course proposals, one department/school should begin the New Course Proposal and indicate the other department(s)/school(s) who will be cross-listed with the course. The proposal will then be routed for approval to all department chairs or school directors, college curriculum committee chairs, and college deans where approval is required. In every case, including if a cross-listed course is being revised, all involved departments/schools must be represented on the proposal form for the proposed cross listing of a course.
If, at a later date, one or more of the department(s)/school(s) wishes to not be affiliated with the cross-listed course, they should submit a Course Revision Proposal and request to be removed from the course. The other affiliated department(s)/school(s) should be included on the proposal so they are aware of the request. If the department/school then wishes to create their own separate course they should submit a New Course Proposal. If there is significant overlap in the content they should include "Not for credit if earned credit in ABC 123" in the course description.
Course format that combines lecture and laboratory components in each class meeting.
Topics courses, seminars and other courses follow the procedures for new courses and are approved by the University Curriculum Committee Executive Secretary. A base 'topics' course is developed with a general description, this base course is not offered and should include this statement in the description: "Various topic areas of this course are available for enrollment, 222aXX." The approval of new topics, decimalizations of the base course having similar objectives and student outcomes, are approved following the procedures for new courses. The decimalized topics courses must have the same course prerequisites and multiple enrollments are not allowed, so if a student repeats a decimalized course, the repeat policy applies and the subsequent grade will replace the first grade. If a new topic area is needed, a new decimalized topics course should be proposed using the New Course Proposal Form.
Repeatable courses are not the same as Decimalized/Topics Courses. Students are able to repeat the course for credit up to the maximum of credit hours or number of total enrollments stated. The University's Course Repeat policy does not apply to courses that are approved as repeatable for credit. Examples of repeatable courses are independent studies, professional practices, university band and ensembles. The course description should include the phrase "multiple enrollments allowed, maxiumum of X credit hours. Or, it may state the maximum number of enrollments.
Course format used for independent study, thesis, and dissertation courses.
A formal education process in which the majority of the instruction occurs when student and instructor are not in the same location at the same time. Field-based courses such as professional practice courses (198, 298, or 398) are not considered distance education.Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous. When preparing a course proposal where the delivery format of the course is being revised from regular to distance education format (or vice-versa), check the appropriate box on the proposal web site. If the only revision to the course is in delivery format, the only approvals needed are those of the Department Chair/School Director and College Dean.
General/Common University Courses
Courses with a common course description and identified with a university-wide common number may be offered in each academic department/school. Examples include courses ending in x89 temporary courses, 287/400 Independent Study, 393 Workshop, 398/498 Professional Practice, 499 Master's Thesis, and 599 Doctoral Dissertation.
- Face-to-face (F2F)/In person: 75% or more in person
- Blended (hybrid): 26-74% in person
- Online blended (hybrid): 1-25% in person
- Online (synchronous or asynchronous): 0% in person
Intensive study in a special area of the student's interest under the direction of a qualified member of the faculty. Each individual investigation is to culminate in a comprehensive written report and/or examination and/or artistic project. Independent Study is designated by the number "287" or "400" and is offered for one to six credit hours. A maximum of six semester hours of independent study may be applied toward graduation.
Interdisciplinary (IDS) Courses
Interdisciplinary courses are designated as IDS (rather than listing departments/schools in cross-listed courses). Interdisciplinary courses offer faculty and students a unique opportunity to synthesize knowledge that spans two or more academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary courses proceed through the regular curriculum process with the Council on General Education approving in lieu of the College Curriculum Committee and the administrator in charge of General Education, approving in lieu of the College Dean, after which the proposal is routed as new course proposal.
Professional Practice consists of one or more credit-generating, academic/career related, salaried or non-salaried work experiences. Professional Practice is a supervised work related experience in local, state, national, and international businesses, agencies, institutions, and organizations. The experience is planned, administered, and supervised at the department or school level and coordinated through the Office of Professional Practice. A written learning contract/training agreement should be signed by the student, the worksite/agency supervisor, and the department/school Professional Practice supervisor.Professional Practice courses are designated by the numbers 198, 298, 398, 498, and 598. In a graduate degree program, Professional Practice 498 cannot constitute more than 20 percent of the hours applied for graduation. Undergraduate students may count a maximum of 16 hours of Professional Practice toward graduation requirements. Experiences are divided into two types:
- Internship: Frequently unsalaried and usually occurring only once during a student's enrollment at the University.
- Cooperative Education: Salaried, multiple periods of academic/career-related work experience. (See Professional Practice.)
- Professional Practice: 198, 298, 398, 498, 598
Excluded from this definition are programs designed for students pursuing Teacher Education and school administrative programs that follow certification guidelines. Some programs are coordinated by the Office of Clinical Experiences in the Cecilia J. Lauby Teacher Education Center and are governed by state licensure requirements.
- Graduate-level Professional Practice: Professional Practice is open only to graduate students who have completed considerable work in a degree program, who are in good standing, and who have demonstrated ability to profit from professional practice experience.
- The preferred title for such courses is: "Professional Practice" or Professional Practice followed by a descriptive title, e.g. "Professional Practice: Internship in Accounting." Decimalization of Professional Practices courses is permitted when a department or school has more than one valid fieldwork offering.
- One hour of credit implies a minimum of 40 hours of on-the-job, supervised work experience.
- Professional Practice proposals must be submitted online, using the "Professional Practice Proposal Form" with the appropriate department chair or school director approval. Proposals are then electronically routed to the Director of Professional Practice and then follows the new course approval process.
A regular meeting of students, under faculty guidance, in which each conducts research and exchanges information, problems, and results through informal lectures, reports, and discussion.
Temporary Courses, Workshops, and Institutes
These courses are approved for a time period not to exceed one year. If a unit wants to continue to offer the course after a year they should submit a new course proposal. The approval process for a new temporary course is to submit the online proposal form for Temporary Courses, Workshops, and Institutes and it will be routed to Department Chair/School Director and the UCC Executive Secretary or the Graduate School Director for approval.
- Temporary Courses, Workshops, and Institutes may not be required in the curricular or graduation requirements of majors, minors, or sequences. Temporary courses may not be used for Independent Study.
- Temporary/Workshop/Institute course proposals are submitted using the Temporary, Workshop, or Institute Proposal Form on the Curriculum Forms System. The proposal requires a syllabus to be uploaded with the proposal.
- Temporary courses are experimental courses designed to take advantage of the skills of a faculty member who will be at the University for a limited time period, or courses responding to particular short-term trends and interests of students and faculty. Temporary courses should not be active longer than one year and are designated by the numbers 189, 289, 389, 489 or 589. If a department/school wants to make a temporary course permanent, a new course proposal must be submitted. In the new course proposal include "Formerly ABC 289a03" in the course description and explain that the new course is the permanent course for the temporary course "289a03" in the proposal. This will prompt the Registrar's Office to build the new course with the same Course ID in our student information system so students who may have previously completed the temporary course (289a03) will get a Repeat message if they attempt to enroll in the new course.
- Institute courses are federal and state-sponsored (or similar) short-term programs requiring treatment of subject matter of a special nature, often for special groups. Institutes are designated by the number 397.
- Workshop courses: Intensive and applied work on special problems in one or more subject areas for one to six credit hours. Workshop opportunities are provided on special problems not covered in any regular University courses. A workshop differs from a regular course in that it offers not only a solid theoretical component but has a practical "hands-on" character and offers intensive work in a given area of knowledge. Courses proposed for workshops should be designed for a specific clientele and intended to provide an updating of skills and knowledge needed by that clientele, and should offer a combination of material and/or approaches not ordinarily found in existing courses at the University. Workshops for credit may be either for degree credit in the department/school offering the workshop or in another department/school (193, 293, 393, 493) or not for graduate degree credit in any department/school (429X).
100-199 Lower-division undergraduate courses, primarily for freshmen and sophomores. As a minimum, in this 100-level course, a student can be expected to:
- gain a basic knowledge of this topic
- acquire basic skills in the topic
- learn fundamental principles and theories of the topic
- learn how fundamental principles and theories in the topic are applied
- learn the general methods of analysis and problem-solving in the topic
- learn how to communicate ideas about the topic clearly and effectively
- learn how to develop creative and expressive capacities in the topic
- learn how to examine basic values in the topic
- develop breadth in the topic
200-299 Upper-division undergraduate courses, primarily for juniors and seniors. A student should normally have completed 45 semester hours before enrolling in a course at this level. As a minimum, in this 200-level course, a student can be expected to:
- use basic knowledge and skills in the field of study
- gain specialized knowledge in the field of study
- acquire specialized skills in the field of study
- learn specialized principles and theories in the field of study
- learn specialized methods of analysis and problem-solving in the field of study
- develop creative and expressive capacities in the field of study
- examine basic values in the field of study
- receive general training to meet career objectives
300-399 Advanced undergraduate courses, open to juniors, seniors. A student normally should have completed at least 75 semester hours before enrolling in a course at this level. As a minimum, in this 300-level course, a student can be expected to:
- use specialized knowledge and skills in the field of study
- acquire "state-of-the-art" knowledge and skills in the field of study
- apply principles and theories in the field of study
- employ methods of analysis and problem-solving in the field of study
- communicate ideas about the field of study
- clearly and effectively demonstrate creative and expressive capacities in the field of study
- receive specialized training to meet career objectives
- practice career-related skills in the appropriate settings
Dual credit courses are those 300 level courses in which a graduate student can receive graduate credit. These types of courses are no longer being approved. Existing 300-level courses offered for dual-credit will continue to be offered for graduate students (at the 300-level). Once an existing 300-level dual credit course is revised, both a 300 and 400 level course should be created. The 300-level course will go through UCC and the 400 level course will go through the GCC.
400-499 Graduate courses
500-599 Courses limited to advanced graduate students in terminal degree programs such as the M.F.A., Au.D., DNP, Ed.D., and Ph.D.
Bachelor of Science - Science, Mathematics, and/or Technology (BS-SMT) Course Approval Process
Students with a B.S. must have one additional science, mathematics, statistics, and/or technology (SMT) course (beyond the General Education requirements) which must meet three criteria: (a) courses must be three semester hours or greater; (b) courses must list specific prerequisites from mathematics, or natural science, or approved natural science alternative courses, or courses in the quantitative reasoning category; and (c) course content must be mathematical, scientific, and/or technological, and must constitute a significant extension of the courses that count as prerequisites.
To submit an existing course for consideration as an approved BS-SMT course, submit a Course Revision Proposal in the Curriculum Forms System. For a new course, the BS-SMT review should be requested at the same time the New Course Proposal is submitted. For both proposal forms, Be sure to check "Yes" to the question on the proposal form regarding the BS-SMT graduation requirement and include in the Comments section on how the course meets the BS-SMT criteria. BS-SMT course requests will be reviewed by the Council on General Education (CGE) for approval.
AMALI Graduation Requirements - cultures and traditions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America or Indigenous Peoples of the World
Students must complete at least one 3 credit hour course in 'AMALI' (that is, cultures and traditions of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America or Indigenous Peoples of the World), which must meet the following criteria: (a) the course focuses primarily upon facets of specific cultures from these regions or these cultures in general (a minimum of 75% of the course content must deal directly with the culture(s) from these regions); (b) exploration of the culture(s) is developed in a comparative perspective which helps the student understand and appreciate differences between culture(s) under consideration and American culture; and (c) the course includes exposure to primary writings and artifacts from the culture(s).
To submit an existing course for consideration as an approved AMALI course, submit a Course Revision Proposal in the Curriculum Forms System. For a new course, the AMALI review should be requested at the same time the New Course Proposal is submitted. For both proposal forms, be sure to check "Yes" to the question on the proposal form regarding the AMALI graduation requirement and include a rationale in the comments section on how the course meets the AMALI criteria. AMALI course requests will be reviewed by an AMALI panel of experts who will review and grant/deny the AMALI designation.
AMALI designated courses should be designed to facilitate the students’ ability to accomplish the following learning outcomes:
- Develop cultural, historical and geographic knowledge of AMALI areas of the world.
- Demonstrate an understanding of cultural imagination, empathy, personal and social responsibility in AMALI context.
- Analyze existing knowledge, research, and/or perspectives in AMALI context.
- Develop analytical skills in AMALI context.
- Demonstrate textual comprehension in AMALI context.
- Report information effectively, take perspective, and make informed judgments in a variety of genres, contexts, and disciplines in AMALI context.
IDEAS: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in U.S. Society Graduation Requirement
In Fall 2021 the Academic Senate approved a new graduation requirement starting fall 2023 for all incoming first time in college students. Each student must complete at least one 3 credit hour course in “IDEAS.” These are courses designed to recognize the benefits and challenges of living in a diverse society and to address the influence of power among social groups within the United States.
IDEAS designated courses may count both towards this graduation requirement and general education requirements; however, IDEAS courses cannot count towards both the IDEAS graduation requirement and the AMALI graduation requirement.
Graduation Requirement Satisfaction
Students can satisfy the IDEAS graduation requirement in three ways:
- Complete an IDEAS-approved course at Illinois State University.
- Complete an approved Illinois Articulation Initiative General Education Core Curriculum "D" designated course.
- Complete a baccalaureate-oriented associates degree (A.A. or A.S.) at an Illinois community college.
Courses with an IDEAS designation should address some significant aspects of U.S. society as their central focus. A minimum of 75% of the course content must deal directly with topics that will meet the learning outcomes.
IDEAS designated courses should be designed to facilitate the students’ ability to accomplish the following learning objectives:
- Analyze the influence of power among social groups in the United States. Discuss how markers of difference (e.g., class, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, language) interact in the formation, experiences, and transformations of individual actors and complex group.
- Identify the strengths and contributions of diverse groups within the U.S.
- Analyze the sources of preconceptions and bias influencing the experiences of diverse social groups in the U.S.
- Articulate the historical, social, and economics contexts that shape inequality, marginalization, and exclusion within U.S. society.
- Reflect on one’s own cultural identity, beliefs, biases, and privilege within dynamic socio-historical contexts.
- Examine how individuals from diverse groups express their identities and shape society in the U.S. through the arts, sciences, cultural practices, political and civic engagement, etc.
Course submissions should list and describe which of the IDEAS learning outcomes are addressed in the course. Not all learning outcomes must be addressed. Sample learning outcomes descriptions can be found on the Sample Alignment Table.
How to Submit an Existing or New Course for the IDEAS Designation
- To submit an existing course for consideration as an approved IDEAS course, submit a Course Revision Proposal in the Curriculum Forms System.
- For a new course, the IDEAS review should be requested at the same time the New Course Proposal is submitted.
- For both proposal forms, be sure to check "Yes" to the question on the proposal form regarding the IDEAS graduation requirement and include a rationale in the comments section on how the course meets the IDEAS learning outcomes.
- IDEAS course requests will be reviewed by an IDEAS panel of experts who will review and grant/deny the IDEAS designation.
- Once approved, IDEAS courses will be reviewed every 5 years to maintain their designation.
Variable-Hour Courses/Repeat Policy
Variable-hour courses are those courses that have a range of possible credit hour options. Variable credit courses are repeatable for credit up to the number of hours shown in the catalog. The student will be graded each time they take the course. These courses do not fall under the "Repeat Policy" where a student can retake a course for a better grade.
For example, the University-wide listing of course numbers includes professional practice courses (198, 298, 398) that may be used by any department or school that wishes to offer a professional practice experience for their students. These courses are established for variable credit hours (1-16). After the course has gone through the curricular process (a proposal approved by the department chair/school director, Director of Professional Practice and UCC Executive Secretary) the department will establish the range of credit hours for that particular semester, as long as it does not go over the range of hours for which the course was initially approved. All versions of the x98 courses (including any decimalizations) can be established with variable hours so that the department or school has control over the number of hours for which a student enrolls in a given semester. (See professional practice: 198, 298, 398 under Definitions of Course Formats.)
Another type of variable credit course is STT 399 Student Teaching. To use this course, a department or school does not send through a proposal, they request a decimalization of STT 399 from the University Curriculum Committee Secretary and supply a syllabus (See "Decimalized Courses" under Definition of Course Formats). Students will register for the number of hours that the department or school has established within the range for student teaching which is 1-16 hours.
Limits of Required Hours
Undergraduate programs are governed by Policy 2.1.9, Baccalaureate Degree Programs, which sets certain limits on what may be required. Please refer to the section "Requirements and Limitations for Degree Programs, Majors, Minors, and Semester Hours Mandated by a Major Department" in Policy 2.1.9 for information on hour limits and other program requirements.
Prerequisites and Co-requisites
- All prerequisites for courses must be listed in the course description. Prerequisites may be specific courses, minimum credit hours earned (may include or exclude in progress hours), minimum cumulative GPA, or a combination of these.
- Requiring students to be declared in a specific major(s) or minor(s) to be eligible to enroll in a course is considered a Major/Minor block. These are not listed in the course description since they may be added to a specific section(s) of a course for a specific term when the department/school submits their schedule. Students must meet all the listed prerequisites in addition to being in the major/minor if a major/minor block is attached to the course. Departments may add/remove major/minor blocks throughout the registration period.
- A course prerequisite may indicate that a specific grade is required in a course.
- Transfer courses do not have the grade earned entered into our student information system. If a student earns a C or better in a transfer course, a "TR" grade is assigned in our system, this will satisfy a prerequisite that requires a C or better but will not satisfy a prerequisite requiring a B or better in a course. If a student earns a D in a transfer course, a "TRD" is assigned in our system and this would not satisfy a prerequisite requiring a C or better in a course.
- If a student is currently enrolled in the course that is the prerequisite for another course they are attempting to enroll in, and the prerequisite indicates a C or better is required, the student will be able to enroll because they have "conditionally met" the prerequisite. Departments/schools will need to review the class rosters after grades are posted for the previous term if they want to ensure that the C or better was met.
- The phrase "consent of instructor/advisor/chair" is not an enforceable prerequisite. If a department/school wants to require all students to have permission to enroll in a specific class/section they should add "Department Consent Required" to a course/section when they submit their schedule for a specific term.
- A course may be listed as a co-requisite. This means that the system will check to see if a student has either completed or is enrolled in the course. If a student later decides to drop the co-requisite, the system will give them an error message. If it is after the 10th day of classes, a withdrawal can be processed for either course.
- A course that has significant overlap with another course, but is NOT an exact equivalent, should include "Not for credit if earned credit in ABC 123" in the course description with other prerequisites. This will prompt the Registrar's Office to add what we refer to as an "anti-requisite". An anti-requisite does the opposite of a prerequisite and will block a student from enrolling in the course if they have previously earned credit in the other course. If, for some reason, an advisor gives a student an override to enroll in the course the student would be able to enroll in it. The Registrar Service Center will run queries during registration to catch students who may be enrolled in a course that they will not be eligible to receive credit for and the student and advisor will be notified. If the student remains in the course, Records will place the NFC (Not for Credit) on second course enrollment during grade processing and notify student and advisor. The student’s advisor can submit a petition if the department wants the student to earn credit in second course enrollment instead of the first.
Annual Prerequisite Review by Departments/Schools
Departments/Schools should review their course prerequisites each year by comparing the list of prerequisites in the course description to what is being enforced in the system - these should be the same. The Registrar's Office sends a Prerequisite Report to departments/schools in mid-late summer. Course revisions including prerequisite changes are effective with the start of the new catalog year, which is the first day of summer session.
Prerequisite changes must be made through the curriculum approval process by submitting an Editorial Request or Course Revision proposal in the Curriculum Forms System.
An Editorial Request is approved by the Department Chair/School Director and the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) Executive Secretary/Vice President for Undergraduate Education. The following are examples of prerequisite changes that are typically considered editorial:
- Removing prerequisites
- Addition of course prerequisite(s) from the same department/school
- Addition of prerequisite(s) from other departments/schools with attached support from the departments/schools
Course Revision Proposals are required when prerequisite changes are being made along with other changes such as the title, content, hours and/or course description. These proposals must be reviewed and approved by the Department/School and the College Curriculum Committees as well as the UCC Executive Secretary/Vice President for Undergraduate Education.