Course Catalog Updates

Policy on New Course Approvals for the School of Arts and Sciences

Last Updated Oct. 18, 2019

This policy outlines the process through which all undergraduate and graduate courses are approved in the School of Arts and Sciences. It reflects consultation with the division heads and chairs. Effective spring 2020, all new undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Arts and Sciences will pass through this approval process, which is designed to facilitate consultation at all levels.

Process Steps

  1. Departments/programs propose and approve new courses in alignment with the processes outlined in their governance documents. Departments are in touch directly with the registrar's office about new course numbers in advance of submitting the proposal to the division.
  2. The department/program chair must approve the new course proposal before submission.
  3. Once a department/program has approved a course, the new course approval form is completed online and submitted electronically, with a copy of the syllabus and course narrative. The electronic form will be submitted automatically to the division head. Chairs and department administrators are responsible for making sure the syllabus guidelines have been followed and all of the required elements of the syllabi are present. Please include the course number in the title of the document sent to the division head.
  4. If a department wants a course to be considered for aspects of the Brandeis Core (i.e., DL, WI, OC, QR), the instructor, department chair or administrator submits the required materials through forms available on the Brandeis Core Resources for Faculty/Foundational Literacies website (UNET login required). For DEIS-US or DJW consideration, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences will send approved course syllabi to the DEIS-US/DJW committee for review (no additional forms are required).
  5. The division head and division administrator review the new course approval form and syllabus to ensure it is complete and then engage in a consultative process with members of the division council about course content. The purpose of this consultation is to address content overlap in courses, gather substantive suggestions about course materials and educate the division about the content of new courses.
  6. Once the division approves a new course, the division head will forward the electronic form and supporting materials as follows:
    1. Undergraduate courses (numbered 1-199) are passed on to the dean’s office, where the senior associate dean of arts and sciences for undergraduate education leads them through the final stages of the approval process.
    2. Graduate courses (numbered 200 and above) are passed on to the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where the assistant dean for academic affairs completes them and then submits them to the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences for final approval.
  7. Decisions about a course counting for aspects of the Brandeis Core (i.e., DL, WI, OC, QR, DJW, DEIS-US, etc.) are made independent of the course approval process (see 3 above) and decisions are communicated to department chairs, administrators and instructors directly.


The costs of textbooks and other course materials can present financial challenges for many of our students. Please consider ways you can reduce costs for your students and promote student success while complying with copyright law.

Submit course reserve requests: Course reserves help ensure that all students have access to materials. If you have extra copies of any course texts, we encourage you to place these on reserve at the library for the semester. Explore Open Educational Resources (learning resources such as articles, books, audio recordings, images, video, software and digital tools that instructors can reuse, revise and redistribute) and affordable materials with a librarian. Contact Laura Hibbler, associate university librarian for research and instruction, to discuss possibilities for reducing the expense of course materials for your students through the use of OER and materials available through library subscriptions.

You are also strongly encouraged to add this sentence to your syllabus: If you are having difficulty purchasing course materials, please make an appointment with your student financial services or academic services adviser to discuss possible funding options and/or textbook alternatives. 

Additional Information on Brandeis Core Approvals

The Registrar’s Office is notified by the committees directly if the course is approved for a specific requirement. To ensure your course is available for registration and meets the enrollment minimums — and for the benefit of students building their schedules — final approval for new courses should be completed at least 10 days before early registration of the semester the course is offered.

Review the Submission Calendar/Key Dates document for scheduling deadlines