Office of the University Registrar

Application Guidelines

Which Application?
The four curriculum applications discussed below are the only approved curriculum application forms and must be used for all applications to the University Curriculum Review Subcommittee.

  1. A New Course Application (Revised 06/13) should be submitted to request: a new course, an extension or conversion of a course previously approved as a temporary course.
  2. A Course Change Application (Revised 06/13) should be submitted to drop a course or to request a change to: prefix, number (outline and reading list required to increase level), title, abbreviated title, credit (outline and reading list required to increase credit), prerequisites, joint status, contact hours, change to permanent credit/no-credit, drop permanent credit/no-credit (outline and reading list required), Area of Knowledge (VLPA, I&S, DIV, QSR, C), minor change in description (outline and reading list might be requested by committee), add equivalency, add a DL section (over 50% of instruction is not in a classroom).
  3. A DL Supplement Application should be submitted to request distance learning approval for a section of a special topics course.
  4. A DL Renewal Application should be submitted to permanently renew distance learning for a course after the initial 3 year approval expires.
  5. Other change requests:
    Changes to undergraduate program requirements visit Form 1503 Process.
    To make changes to graduate program requirements please visit the Graduate School website.

Faculty and quarters-offered should be changed by sending email notification to the university curriculum analyst at

Prerequisite-change requests that affect only your administrative unit should be sent using the online prerequisite-change form. (For more information, see the prerequisites page.)

Download the appropriate form below:

Who Submits the Application?

If a course is to be offered by only one department, that department submits one application.

Joint Courses – If two or more departments within one college or school are offering a course jointly, one application is prepared and submitted by the responsible department. This application must be signed under Item 8 by the chair of each department offering the course. (Requires 1 original and 3 copies for joint applications within the same College/School)

If departments from separate schools or colleges are offering a course jointly, each school or college must submit a separate application which must be signed by the department chair, the curriculum committee chair, and the dean of that school or college. The application submitted by the responsible department must also be signed by the chair of each department offering the course jointly. See Item 8 Joint Courses below.

Who Signs It?
Contact the school or college curriculum review coordinator to determine the deadline schedule for the school or college curriculum review committee, the number of copies required by the school or college committee.

Submit application to school or college curriculum review coordinator.

What Happens Next?
After an application has been approved by the dean it should be forwarded by the school or college curriculum coordinator to the University Curriculum Office, 248 Schmitz. Box 355850. The signed original and supplementary materials (including a syllabus), as well as one copy of each new course application. See sample syllabus with the minimum Curriculum Committee requirements). One signed original and 1 copy of course change applications must be received in the curriculum office by the deadline date. An acceptable application packet consists of the single-sided original plus the required number of double-sided copy(s) bound together by paper clip or binder clip. Unacceptable application packets will be returned to the unit unapproved.

Each application received in the Curriculum Office by the deadline date will be presented at the next scheduled University Curriculum Review Subcommittee meeting, usually within three weeks of the deadline. Joint course applications involving more than one school or college will not be reviewed until an application has been received from each school or college.

New Prefix
Please see the Curriculum Prefix Policy Guidelines

Instructions for Application

Course Identification

  • Prefix: Enter the standard prefix for the department offering the course. For joint courses enter the prefix of the responsible department.
  • Number: When submitting an application to change a course number, please enter the new course number in this section. Selecting a Course Number.
  • Offered jointly with: (See Joint Courses.)
  • Prefix: Enter the standard prefix of the joint department, i.e., the department other than the responsible department.
  • Number: The joint department must select a number at the same level as the responsible department. Selecting a Course Number

Headline Box
Please complete all elements of this section on all applications, even when dropping a course. When submitting an application to change any of the items in the headline box, enter the proposed new information in the headline box of the Course Change Application, i.e., the information that will be correct when the application is filed in the University Curriculum Office, after it has been approved.

  • Course Title: The full course title is listed in the biannual University of Washington General Catalog and in the Web course descriptions. This full title must be entered in the headline box on the New Course Application and any subsequent Course Change Applications.
  • Abbreviated Title: The 19-character abbreviated title will be published in the course listing of the quarterly University of Washington Time Schedule and will appear on both student grade reports and student transcripts. The transcript title is primarily for an external audience and if possible should reflect the unique academic nature of the course; not serve an administrative function.
  • See Assigning the Appropriate Credit.

Section-by-section instructions

Section 1

Effective quarter deadlines
The effective quarter should indicate the first quarter a course could be scheduled if approved. The earlier the requested effective quarter, the sooner the new information will be published online. Please note that approval of a course for an effective quarter does not initiate inclusion in the Time Schedule for that quarter. A request must be submitted to the Time Schedule Office to offer the course. Likewise, approval of a Course Change Application does not initiate inclusion of the approved changes in any quarter for which the course is already scheduled. A request must be submitted to the Time Schedule Office to change the course information.
The last effective quarter of a dropped course will be the quarter before the approved drop quarter. For example, if a drop is effective WIN/1999 that course cannot be offered WIN/1999 The last quarter it can be offered will be AUT/1998

Current and New Data for Course Changes
Enter current data only for those elements of the course which are to be changed. Enter new data only for those elements of the course which are to be changed. If the course number or prefix is changed, the prefix and number in the New Data column should agree with the information in the upper right corner of the application. If the department, title, or credit is changed, the information in the headline box should agree with the information in the new data column.

Memo of Responsibility:
In order to request an extension to the course change application deadline for a specified quarter, please submit the Course Change Application with a separate Memo of Responsibility explaining:

  • Why it is essential that the application be effective in the specified quarter,
  • Why it was not possible to meet the course change application deadline,
  • How students will be notified of the change to the published time schedule.

The memo should also state the department:

  • Acknowledges that the requested change was submitted after the Time Schedule deadline,
  • Takes responsibility for notifying students of the change,
  • Takes responsibility for any scheduling, student loan, tuition, time-to-graduation, registration, or other problems that might result from approval of the late change application,
  • Will be responsible for contacting the Time Schedule Office to update the course listing for the requested quarter for which the deadline for Time Schedule construction has passed.

This memo requires the same signatures as a Course Change Application and with all correspondence regarding a specific application, the original memo, with signatures, must be submitted with one copy.

The effective quarter for any Course Change Application received without this memo will be edited to the first quarter for which the course change application deadline has not passed.

Approved Lists
You can designate on a new course or a course change application to add the course to an approved list of electives for a major or minor. If you are not administratively responsible for that major or minor you must have their chair/director sign off in section 9 on the back of the forms.

Distance Learning (see section 7)
Equivalency (see section 10)

Section 2: Justification
Indicate the need for this course and discuss concerns that this need is not currently being met by existing courses at the University of Washington. Discuss impact of course within department and within the University. Consider how this course will affect other University programs. Please be as forthcoming as possible, in order to anticipate specific questions which might be raised at the Curriculum Review Subcommittee meeting. It is important that information be given regarding the way this course will enhance the total curricular offerings of your department.

Please note that a course syllabus and reading list must be attached for all new courses, for an increase in course level or credits, and to drop permanent credit/no credit. The Curriculum Review Subcommittee might also request a syllabus and reading list for a change to the description.

List contact information for person that can answer questions or provide more information if required.

Section 3: Catalog Data
There is a 50-word limit for each catalog description. All prepositions and articles are counted as well as all prerequisite and joint identification information. The prefix and the number of a prerequisite course count as one word. The course title is not included in the 50-word count. Descriptions exceeding the 50-word limit will be edited in the curriculum office or returned to the department for editing.

Each description should be written in the present tense. References to the future tense are removed in editing.

The phrases “this course…” or “this class…” are removed in editing.

The phrase “topics vary” is not necessary for special topics courses.

Course descriptions are intended primarily to give information about the course, not about the subject to be covered in the course.

Do not repeat information from the number, title, credit, quarter- offered, or instructor fields in the description.

Do not include program information in the course description.

Graduate-level course should not specify graduate standing as a prerequisite. This can be controlled by specifying graduate students only when scheduling the course. Likewise, limiting the course to a certain major should be accomplished by time schedule rather than course description.

Areas of Knowledge: in order to request approval for Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA), Individuals and Societies (I&S), Natural World (NW), Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR), or Composition (C) be sure to submit a syllabus along with your course application that clearly supports the area of knowledge being requested.

Optional: List, in alphabetical order, the last names and ranks of each instructor who will be teaching this course. If instructor names should be included in the course description please indicate with an x in the box at the end of the line. Only the last name of the instructor will be listed in the course description unless an initial is required to distinguish between two instructors with the same last name. Only specific names will be included in the course description. General designations such as staff, all staff in department, or to be arranged will not be included in the course description.

Optional: Indicate the quarter it is anticipated that a course will be offered during the next academic year. Specific years can be indicated as “1998: Sp, 1999: S” or “odd years, A”. Please do not specify ?alternate years? as that gives no indication of when the course will be offered. This information is not proscriptive. Once a course has been approved it can be offered the effective quarter and any other quarter during the effective period. If quarters-offered information should be included in the course description please indicate with an x in the box at the end of the line.

Quarters offered and faculty can be changed by sending email to Do not submit a Course Change Application if these are the only information to be changed.

Section 4: Credits and Hours
It is important that the TOTAL WEEKLY INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS field be accurate and up-to-date. If a decision is made to increase or decrease the instructional hours without changing the credit, a course change application should be submitted. The time schedule database base maintains a record of the instructional hours for which a course is scheduled each quarter and that record should agree with the information provided in the current curriculum application.

The TOTAL WEEKLY ADDITIONAL HOURS total will, of course, be an estimate and will vary considerably by student. Please be as careful as possible, however, in trying to determine the number of hours that would be required for a student to do well in the course. Credit assigned to a course is based on the total hours of student effort required, including instructional hours, additional preparation, and other required activity.

In situations where use of the traditional formula is inappropriate, e.g., courses where non-traditional methods of instruction are employed, internships and field work courses, independent study courses, or courses involving unusually heavy reading assignments or other assigned work outside of class, it will be necessary to rely on careful application of the fundamental guidelines and to provide the Curriculum Review Subcommittee with information adequate to allow a judgment of the proposed credit assignment. The following list offers examples of appropriate information: a detailed syllabus describing required student activities in enough detail to allow a fair assessment of the proposed credit assignment, a description of typical student projects, a discussion of how student work will be evaluated, especially if the required work is largely reading or field work involving little face-to-face contact with the instructor.

If the credit assignment departs substantially from the common approximation described above, only temporary approval will be given. This is often the case with experimental courses or courses where credit assignments reflect the personal style or approach of an individual instructor, making the credit allowed inappropriate for another instructor.

Certain uses of academic credit are inappropriate. Among them are: award of credit solely for services rendered by a student which do not serve a legitimate academic function in the student’s course of study, award of credit for work or study not directly supervised by University faculty or evaluated by University faculty, award of credit for past field experience not associated with faculty supervised and evaluated course work.

Please specify how will students be evaluated for credit or grades. Provide specific information on assignments, projects, exams, etc. and relative % for each area.

Any type of required activity other than those listed under Item 4a on the application must be explained.

Section 5: Students
The number of students indicated in this application is not proscriptive. The department may determine the appropriate enrollment limit or estimate on a section-by-section basis.

Type of student. Please see Selecting a Course Number and the 400-500 Parallel Course Guidelines for assistance in selecting the appropriate course level by anticipated student level.

Section 6: Learning Objectives
List the primary learning objectives for the course.

Section 7: Distance Learning
Any course that is offered more than 50% in any distance learning format (i.e. outside of traditional in class format) must be noted on the new course or course change application. If you want to offer a section of a Special Topics course via Distance Learning for a specific quarter you need to submit a Distance Learning Supplement and syllabus signed by the same people who sign the new course or course change application.

Section 8: Curricular Relationship


It is the responsibility of the initiating unit to do a good-faith review of existing courses to identify and circulate the course application for review and approval by any affected units, prior to submission to the University of Washington Curriculum Office.

Please be thorough in consideration of other departments. Cooperation in notification will help to avoid delays and will facilitate appropriate course development throughout the University.

In order to check for overlap and equivalency, the proposing department should e-mail the syllabus of the course being proposed to any potentially affected colleges, schools, or departments (for contact information see Curriculum Coordinator Contact Directory).  Below are the three main categories for review:

  1. EQUIVALENT: Courses are similar enough in content to be considered equivalent. Equivalent means that one course can substitute for the other and that credit may only be given to one of the courses should a student complete both.
  2. OVERLAPPING: Courses are not equivalent, but the content is similar enough so that students should receive credit for only one of the two courses.
  3. Course content is not similar in any significant way and credit should be given for both courses independent of each other.

For additional information FCAS has an Equivalent Course policy.


List all departments, schools, or colleges participating. List the unit responsible for administering the course first. Joint course applications require a signature from each unit.

If joint departments are from one school or college, only one application, completed by the responsible department, should be submitted to the curriculum committee of that school or college. Each joint department must be listed and the chair of each joint department must sign the paper application.  NOTE: If a proposal is being submitted through the UW CM online system, then a single application submitted by the responsible unit suffices.

If joint departments are from separate schools or colleges, one department from each school or college must submit a separate paper application through its own curriculum committee. The application submitted by the responsible department must list each joint department and be signed by the chair of each joint department.  NOTE: If a proposal is being submitted through the UW CM online system, then a single application submitted by the responsible unit suffices.

Joint applications from different schools or colleges will not be presented to the UWCC until a completed and signed application has been received from each of the schools or colleges and found to be consistent regarding course level, title, credits, effective dates, and joint status.

Section 9: Approval
The original must be signed by the chair of the submitting department, the chair of the school or college curriculum committee, and the dean of the school or college. The department chair must sign the original before they copy (s) is made.