Proposing New Courses

To propose a new course, log into the Course Inventory Management (CIM C/CIM Courses) system. Upon submission, CIM C will route the request for the necessary departmental, college, and Graduate College workflow for review and approvals. For specific questions on using the CIM C system or policies, please contact the Office of the Provost at

The following resources in Box are meant to assist sponsors in proposing courses and for those in course approval roles:

  • New and revised CIM Courses word document templates
  • CIM Courses Overview powerpoint
  • CIM approval information for those in approver roles

Units proposing or revising courses awarding graduate credit are encouraged to visit Procedures for Presenting New or Revised Graduate Courses in the Graduate College Developing Courses and Programs toolkit.

The following guidelines are provided to assist in completing a new course proposal in the CIM C:

General Information


All new course proposals require inclusion of the course syllabus.  The syllabus must include:

  • Contact hours (e.g. “Class meets MWF 9:00 to 9:50 a.m.” or “Will meet for 2 hours 50 minutes per week for 16 weeks” when specific days/times are not known).
    • For asynchronous courses, contact hours can be calculated based on estimates of student time spent on viewing recorded lectures, participating in interactions with the instructor on discussion boards, completing quizzes, or participating in any other activity that replaces an in-class assignment. Contact hours do not include work spent “outside of class” on assignments, readings, or any other activity that would typically be considered homework. In the syllabus, include a statement about the number of ‘contact’ hours and what all for the specific course is included in that calculation (e.g. Contact Hours: 3 hours/week of students reviewing powerpoint materials, watching related video content, completing quizzes, and taking exams.)
  • Course Duration in a semester– Full semester (16 weeks), 8 weeks, etc. If this is not included, it will be assumed that it is a Full semester offering.
  • Office hours and contact information for the instructor.
  • Course learning outcomes/objectives. The Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) has some great resources for designing course learning outcomes, including the links below. For additional questions regarding syllabus creation, including learning outcomes, contact CITL.
  • For Special Topics Syllabi:
    • include the range of credits for which the course will be offered
    • weekly contact hours that will equate to each hour of credit
    • information that holds true across sections (e.g., maybe only certain faculty can teach under this rubric or maybe there’s a specific topic umbrella into which the course topic must fit, etc.)

Additionally, it is strongly recommended that the syllabus also contain:

  • Course number and title
  • Course meeting times
  • Course description
  • List of basic and recommended texts and readings (author, title, year of publication)
  • Complete outline of topics
  • Weekly calendar
  • Work required of students – Assignments, examinations, etc.
  • Basis for determining grade
  • Campus Resources for Syllabi

The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning provides guidance on syllabus creation as does the Graduate College.  Many academic units also have specific syllabus elements or recommendations.

Proposed Effective Term

The listings in the Academic Catalog are affected by the Proposed Effective Term. The Academic Catalog is finalized for the year in October and no subsequent updates can be made to the published catalog. To ensure changes, new courses are listed in the Academic Catalog see the dates for Timeline of submissions of New and Revised Courses. The following are some helpful guidelines:

  • Renumber courses in fall terms. If spring or summer is chosen, both new and old course will be listed in the Academic Catalog.
  • The Academic Catalog reflects the latest version of a course; therefore, it is important to keep in mind the effective term when submitting any type of changes.

Course Number

000-099Noncredit, preparatory course
Lower level undergraduate courses
200-299Lower level undergraduate courses
300-399Upper level undergraduate courses
400-499Upper level undergraduate and graduate courses
500-599Graduate level courses
600-799Professional courses (available to College of Medicine, Law and Vet Med) and select graduate courses

Renumbering Existing Course

When renumbering an existing course, consideration should be given on the implications for: the degree audit for students who took the course under the existing course number; transfer students; programs of study that include the course and courses that include the course as a prerequisite, since CIM will not automatically update the course number and thus units will need to revise their CIM programs and courses accordingly; if changing levels of the course (for example, from a 300 to a 200 level) might impact degree requirements for upper-level coursework; and overall numbering for the rubric. Please consult with the Office of the Registrar if you have further questions.

Re-using Course Numbers

Course numbers may not be re-used for a period of six years from the last time the course was offered. Please consult with the Office of the Registrar to determine the availability of course numbers.

199 Courses (Undergraduate Open Seminars)

The 199 course is a special course for independent study or for use as a testbed for topics not treated by regularly scheduled courses. Credit for 199 courses applies toward graduation (generally, to a maximum of 12 hours); however, credit toward satisfying particular college or departmental requirements is contingent upon approval by the appropriate college or departmental bodies.

Special Topics Courses

In addition to 199 courses, a number of 200-, 300-, 400- and 500-level courses also serve as special topics courses, and are typically identified as such by their titles. As in the case of 199 courses, topics offered under such courses are necessarily temporary; they are not listed in the Courses Catalog. A specific topic may be offered a maximum of three times under a special topics listing; if there is an intention to offer the course past the third time, a proposal to establish it as a permanent course must be submitted through the CIM C system.  Approval as a permanent course is necessary before the course can be offered again.

Course Titles

Course Title (optional): This title can be up to 100 characters and will appear in the Academic Catalog and the Course Explorer (Class Schedule).

Abbreviated Title (required): may include abbreviations to stay within the 30 character limit. If no Course Title is entered this title will appear in all publications, if there is a Course Title, then the abbreviated title that will appear on the transcript only. Effort should be made to avoid duplication of an existing course title in content-specific courses (does not apply to generic titles, e.g., Individual Study, Seminar, Special Topics, Thesis Research, etc.).

Course Description

Descriptions should address subject matter, including any special course requirements such as field trips, special equipment, etc. Exclude other course information of any numbered items below; the Office of the Registrar will include it in the Courses of Instruction entry. Descriptions should read like an abstract and ideally be limited to not more than 75 words. Some examples are included below.

PSYC 100 Intro Psych

Study of human behavior with special reference to perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, and individual differences in intelligence, aptitude, and personality; emphasis on the scientific nature of psychological investigations; and discussion of research methods and the relation of their results to daily life and everyday problems.

CEE 450 Surface Hydrology

Descriptive and quantitative hydrology dealing with the distribution, circulation, and storage of water on the earth’s surface; principles of hydrologic processes; methods of analysis and their applications to engineering and environmental problems.


The information provided in the Justification section is used by the department and college to better understand the course content in the broader context of other courses offerings. If this course is similar in content to other offerings on campus, please provide information that illustrates the uniqueness of this offering. A course syllabus must be attached to all new course proposals. The CIM C can accept more than one attachment for each course.

Note: Courses open to graduate students must meet the criteria for graduate courses. A course syllabus must be attached except in the case of special topics courses. Requirements and recommendations for syllabi are available. If this course is similar in content to other offerings on campus, please provide information that illustrates the uniqueness of this offering, as stated in the policy, section A.5.

Guidance on course and syllabus design is offered through the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Course Information

Course Credit

Academic units offering courses for University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign academic credit must adhere to the federal definition of a credit hour for the assignment of credit hours earned per course, as described in university policy.

Laboratory, independent study, special problems, and thesis research courses should follow a similar model based on the unique needs of the course.

Please refer to the Graduate College Policy for Proposed New and Revised Courses for complete information regarding graduate level coursework.

For more information, visit the following links:

Courses intended for both Undergraduate, Graduate and Professional credit
Credit statements for 400 -level courses will appear in the Courses of Instruction entry as follows:

  • X undergraduate hours. Y graduate hours. (if the course is available for a different number of undergraduate and graduate hours; see ‘differential credit’)


  • No graduate credit. (if the course is only available for undergraduate credit)

There is no statement in the Courses of Instruction entry if the course is available for the same number of undergraduate and graduate hours.

Variable and Differential Credit

Additional explanation is required if there is variable credit or differential credit. Differential credit involves two distinct credit-hour options depending on intended audience and is characterized by an “or” relationship (e.g., 3 or 4 hours). Variable credit involves a range of credit hours distinguished by a “to” relationship (e.g., 1 to 3 hours). For any course requesting variable (1 to 4 hrs.) or differential (2 or 4 hrs.) credit, justify why different amounts of credit need to be available. For courses awarding different credit based on student level, the extra work required of graduate students should be of a concrete nature, included in calculation of the final grade, and listed explicitly in the syllabus and within the “Justify variable or differential credit” CIM course field. Additionally, please ensure that the syllabus specifies the work required for each number of credit hours, as defined in Credit Hour Definition.

Grading Type

Designate the default grading type first, and then choose alternate grading types if desired. Either ‘Standard Letter’ (Letter Grade), ‘Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory’ (S/U), or Honors may be chosen. In addition, DFR may be added with justification.


A course for which repeatability approval is sought must be matched to only one of the six permissible categories, i.e., choose the ‘best fit.’ For each category below, representative examples and keywords are given to guide selection:

  • 1H = Honors —any Honors-designated course, seminar, etc.
  • 1M = Subject Mastery/Skill Proficiency —developing or improving mental and/or physical ability
    in areas such as art, communication, language, writing, leadership, life skills, motor skills, the
    performing arts (dance, music, theater), laboratory practice, medical/vet-med training
  • 1N = Individualized Instruction —one-on-one teaching involving established subject matter,
    typical of courses titled ‘Independent Study’ or ‘Individual Study’
  • 1R = Research or Ongoing Study—guided group or individual research, investigations, projects,
    studies, problem-solving, etc. in new, developing, or emerging areas
  • 1S = Special Topics, Seminars —trial or nonpermanent subject offerings of current, developing,
    or emerging topics to augment existing courses; colloquia, discussion groups, seminars, etc. with
    student, faculty, visitor, and/or outside presenters/participants
  • 1X = Applied Experiences —internships, practicums, apprenticeships, study abroad, field trips,
    service learning, outreach, etc.

If a course is repeatable, complete additional questions related to total hours, entering total hours, “U” if unlimited, or “NA” if not applicable. If the “if topics vary” box is checked, the Courses of Instruction repeatability sentence will automatically include “if topics vary.”

NOTE: Based on the entries to repeatability items, the Office of the Registrar fashions a Repeatability Statement as part of the other course information placed after the course description in the Courses of Instruction entry. The preferred format is:

May be repeated
> in [the same term / separate terms / the same or separate terms]
> if topics vary
> to a maximum of [X hours / X undergraduate or Y graduate hours / X graduate or professional hours]
> but no more than X hours in any one term

Each qualifier (>) below the initial phrase “May be repeated” is optional –in the descending order shown.


  • May be repeated.
  • May be repeated in separate terms if topics vary to a maximum of X hours.
  • May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of X undergraduate or Y graduate hours but no
    more than Z hours in any one term.

Credit Restrictions

Credit restrictions are used when a course has been renumbered, or the content of the course is equivalent to another course in the catalog. To inform students, a credit statement is added to the course description indicating courses where credit may not be earned again.  Any courses listed in the credit restriction statement must have a similar statement.  The degree audit system automatically applies the credit restriction to all courses.  To ensure that a student understands, the similar statements must be placed on call mentioned courses.

Example: ChBE 321 has a credit restriction statement “Credit is not given toward graduation for ChBE 321 and either ABE 340 or ME 200.”  As such, ABE 340 and ME 200 must have a similar statement, with their respective course listed first.

It is important to remember that when a course is deactivated, a student cannot earn credit for the deactivated course and a new iteration of the course, if one is created.

Example 1. Credit is not given toward graduation for ACE 100 if credit for ECON 102 has been earned.
Example 2. Credit is not given toward graduation for both ACES 509 and ACES 409.

Advisory Statements


Prerequisite statements are advisory in nature and are not enforced through the registration system unless approved by the Office of the Registrar. Graduate-level courses other than seminars and individual study usually require prerequisite knowledge or experience.

The following suggestions are provided to promote clarity in prerequisite statements to the students who may be registering for the course.

  • list only the highest-level course if there is a string of sequenced prerequisites (see Example 1 below)
  • list both the primary course and any cross-listed courses (Academic Catalog’s Courses of Instruction ‘Same As’
    statements readily identify secondary cross-listed course alternatives) for transparency.
  • explicitly list courses by their subject and number (CHEM 232) found in the Courses of
    Instruction (not, e.g., “a course in chemistry”)
  • express alternative courses and combinations of courses clearly (see Example 2 below).

Example 1. Since GRK 101 is a prerequisite for GRK 102, the prerequisite ‘GRK 101 and GRK 102’ should be shortened to ‘GRK 102’ for a course requiring GRK102 as a prerequisite, such as GRK 201.

Example 2. Consider the prerequisite statement ‘CS 225 and CS 373 or MATH 444.’ It’s ambiguous. It could mean ‘(CS 225 and CS 373) or (MATH 444), or perhaps ‘(CS 225) and (CS 373 or MATH 444).’ Assuming it’s the latter, the use of a semicolon gives the clear meaning by separating the intended groupings: ‘CS 225; CS 373 or MATH 444.’

Concurrent Enrollment Statement

Concurrent enrollment statements are advisory in nature and are not enforced through the Banner
system unless approved by the Office of the Registrar. Statements should be entered as “Concurrent enrollment is required in Subject Course and Subject Course.”

Example – ACCY 301 –

for a Prerequisite statement that reads: Prerequisite: ACCY 202 or equivalent and concurrent enrollment in ACCY 302 by students majoring in accountancy (recommended for non-accountancy majors); or consent of department; the concurrent enrollment statement ‘Concurrent
enrollment in ACCY 302 by students majoring in accountancy’ should be added to the Concurrent enrollment box.

Restricted Audience Statement

These restrictions can be enforced through Banner at the section level and should be separate from the prerequisite statement. These restrictions typically limit registration to a group of students, e.g., ‘for majors only’ or ‘junior standing required.’ Finally, ending the statement with a period ‘.’ will allow accurate Banner synching.

Example- ANTH 495 – for a Prerequisite statement that reads: Prerequisites: Senior standing; ANTH 391; 3.6 GPA in anthropology; 37 hours of anthropology courses, and consent of instructor; ‘Senior Standing’ should be put in the Audience Restriction box.


Guidelines for Approved Cross-Lists:

  1. Cross-listing should be based on course content in that it deals with the involved departments/subjects (SUBJ) in a substantive way.
  2. Cross-listing should be limited to cases involving a significant purpose, such as instructors from more than one department are involved in the instruction of a course. Creating cross-listings for the purpose of “advertising” a course multiple places in the Courses of Instruction is not considered justification for cross-listing, nor is the desire to enhance the stature of the course.
  3. A cross-listed course is considered the joint responsibility of all departments/SUBJ offerings, and coordination of course scheduling should be agreed upon by all involved departments.
  4. In a given term, if any SUBJ offering of a cross-list is active, all SUBJ offerings must be active.
  5. All schedule types must be the same across all sections.
  6. All course levels numbers must be the same (example: a 400 level may not be cross listed with a 100 level course).
  7. All sections of a given course must be scheduled with the same instructor, room and meeting pattern.
  8. The section ID must remain the same throughout the cross-list, except in cases of a grad section cross-listed with undergrad, then U1 and G1 should be used.


  • Independent Study courses may not be cross-listed.
  • Special Topics courses may not be cross-listed.
  • Two existing courses may not be cross-listed.
  • Courses may not be cross-listed within the same department.
  • Cross-lists should be reviewed on a continuous basis. It is critical that cross-lists be deactivated if course content and instruction no longer justify the cross-listing.
  • Please consult with the Office of the Registrar for questions concerning temporary cross-listings
    known as “meets with” sections.

Course Fees

Course fees, when approved, must be separate, unique and used solely for support of the courses involved. For more detailed information, see the Course Fees website.

Additional Course Notes

The information provided in the Additional Course Notes section in CIM C serves to allow users to add any additional information that can’t be added to any other fields in the CIM C.

Course Detail

The information provided in the Course Detail section for a CIM C new course proposal is used by the Office of the Registrar to build the course in Banner and create part of the Courses of Instruction entry. Items on Course Credit considered important by the department and college in the review process.

Frequency of Offering

If “Other” is checked, include details of when that will be (e.g., “Spring terms, odd years”). Note that alternate offering year wording is not automatically included in the Courses of Instruction entry. If desired, it must be manually added to the course description.

Additional Course Information

The Additional Course Information section in CIM C serves to alert to the potential impact of the introduction of the proposed course, present any relevant trial-offering history, and indicate certain course-setup and scheduling attributes.

In the Course Edits Proposed by box, please indicate 1 – 2 people whom course reviewers throughout the workflow approval process could reach out to with questions regarding the proposal.