Course Proposal

The Gallatin School of Individualized Study offers a wide range of small intellectually-challenging seminars that encourage student participation. Proposals for new courses require two approvals: one at the program level (arts program, writing program, graduate program, etc.) and one at the school level (Gallatin’s curriculum committee). The curriculum committee typically reviews new course proposals a year in advance of their offering. For example, courses proposed for the:

  • Fall semester are reviewed the prior fall semester  (deadline for submitting Fall proposals is NOVEMBER 15)
  • Spring semester are reviewed the prior spring semester (deadline for submitting Spring proposals is FEBRUARY 1)
  • Summer term are reviewed the prior fall semester

To propose a new course:

  • Please complete the course proposal form (proposals received in other formats will be returned for resubmission with the required proposal form);
  • Proposal should be accompanied by an updated c.v.;
  • Send both form and c.v. to the faculty affairs director, Mary Witty (

Format of the Proposal

The course proposal should include, among other things, the following:

  • COURSE DESCRIPTION: Provide a description that will be used for publication in Gallatin’s course catalogue. The beginning of the description should convey the main aim(s) of the course, followed by the central questions or issues which the course will address.  The description should conclude with a short list of the primary readings.  While the maximum length of the description is 250 words, ideally a description should be 200 words or less.
  • LEARNING GOALS: State the learning objectives for this course. A short list of 2-3 goals is sufficient, but be as specific as possible. Goals may include depth of knowledge in a particular field, writing skills, artistic techniques, analytic reasoning skills, etc.
  • WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS: List readings including the average number of pages assigned each week. For weekly writing assignments, specify the length of each assignment.   As a guideline, students are expected to devote at least eight (8) hours to weekly course assignments (in addition to the time spent in the classroom), with the understanding that it may go higher when papers are due. Please assign an adequate amount of work each week to meet this standard expectation.                                                                       
  • PAPERS, PROJECTS, ETC.: Describe papers, projects or other assignments, including the number and length of each paper or details of the project. Please note that students should be assigned a minimum of 20 pages of writing over the course of the semester.
  • CURRICULAR NEED: Explain how this course will benefit students and help them develop their program of study.

Review Process

During the review process, a member of the curriculum committee will contact the instructor to relay comments and suggestions from the committee.  The committee usually asks the instructor to make some changes to the course description (this occurs more than 90% of the time).  In many cases, these are minor changes; for example, the committee may suggest minor edits to the description for the sake of brevity or clarity, or it may ask to change the title of a course to better reflect the scope and aim of the course.  Sometimes the committee requires revisions that are more significant; for example, expanding the historical or cultural breadth of the course, or approaching the topic in a more interdisciplinary way.

It is not uncommon for the committee to ask for a revised proposal before granting final approval.  In these cases, the committee may ask the instructor to rework the description or make other changes.  It should also be noted that while the committee reviews each course on its own merits, it also must take into consideration such things as student interest and demand, overlap with other course offerings, the overall number of courses, etc.   If the committee asks an instructor to submit a revised proposal, the instructor should incorporate any suggested changes in the revised description.

Assignment of Course Credit

Most courses in the Gallatin School are 4 units and the workload for these courses must meet minimum hourly expectations: 2.5 weekly hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of 8 weekly hours on course assignments.

Unsolicited Proposals

The Gallatin School does not typically review unsolicited proposals. Approval of new courses is dependent on curricular need, instructor’s qualifications, and budgetary considerations.

Course Development Compensation

Adjunct faculty may be entitled to compensation for the development a new course.  New courses must be approved by the curriculum committee, and compensation will be rendered at the end of the term in which the course is initially offered.