Course Proposals

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Communication about Course Proposals

It is the responsibility of the proposer to solicit feedback from interested parties (vested interests) or parties with overlapping content outside of Lumen. An interested party may include programs that use a course, subjects that use that course in requisites, or departments with topical overlap. Do not include your own department in the interested parties field; this is intended to send a notification to the parties listed and your department will automatically be notified.

Lumen incorporates FYI communication within the workflow process, but this is not sufficient as the ONLY type of communication regarding course proposals. Any individual may add comments to a proposal in support or concern, once the proposal is in workflow. Any concerns about a course must be resolved prior to the University Curriculum Committee review.

If you are unsure who to contact, there is a directory of all provisioned users and their roles (requires campus internet or VPN authentication), and/or Lumen provides additional clues throughout the software. The “Preview Workflow” will specify roles and individuals assigned to those roles. The Ecosystem (below in gray) provides the location where any given course is used (where it is listed as “subject” + “catalog number”). The Ecosystem is located of the Course Proposal landing page.

CHEM 103 with a gray box underneath with red links listed indicating where this course is used in Guide, programs, and other courses.


Course Proposal Form

Prior to submitting a course proposal, please review the Course Proposal Review Process – Purpose, Standards and Responsibilities Policy. Of note, Lumen does not automatically save and can time out (roughly 90 min). Be sure to save often. Help bubbles (blue circles with a question mark) are available throughout the form to help with specific elements of the proposal.

Workflow and Approval

Approval is limited to department chairs and authorized designated individuals in approval units. The workflow steps are determined based on the elements selected in the Lumen Course Proposal. Approvals must be entered through the workflow process.

Sample Syllabus for Course Proposals

A sample syllabus for the course proposal process is slightly different than the campus syllabus for the classroom. The key difference between the campus syllabus and the sample syllabus is the ordering of syllabus elements and the requirement to specify how attendance, participation, and/or discussion is graded, if over 10%. The sample syllabus allows governance committees to ensure that a course is well thought out and meets campus, accreditation, and federal standards. The sample should be a demonstration of how the course could be taught; not how it will always be taught. The sample syllabus MUST include all required elements.


A catalog requisite is the academic preparation required of all students to be successful in a course. Requisites can take the form of a prerequisite (completed prior to the start of the course) or co-requisite (taken concurrently with the course). Requisites are set at the catalog level and are true for all sections of a course.

Requisites are not a means of managing enrollment. This is done through the application of section-level requirement groups and is not a part of the course catalog entry.

Course Attributes/Designations

Course Attributes are approved at the catalog-level (except for Communications B, which can be section-level). The University Curriculum Committee reviews and approves the graduate attribute. All other attributes are reviewed and approved by the designated approval groups. Adding attributes/designations may lengthen the time it takes for full approval of a course.

The Credit Hour

All courses offered must meet the minimums articulated in the Credit Hour Policy. Examples on how the credit hour can be explained are available in the Course Credit Information Required for Syllabi.

Course Modality

Courses are not approved based on modality (face-to-face/classroom, some online/hybrid, online/distance-delivered). The scheduling department will select a modality when building the Schedule of Classes.

Regular and Substantive Interaction

UW-Madison Credit Hour Policy mandates that all courses, regardless of modality, must have regular and substantive interaction (RSI). The syllabus must demonstrate regular and substantive interaction. This can be done via the course schedule, class meeting times, and/or the credit hour rationale.

For more information, see the KB on Regular and Substantive Interaction.

Learning Outcomes

Every course must have catalog-level learning outcomes. These outcomes apply to every scheduled section of a course and may only be modified by course proposal. Instructors may add more learning outcomes to individual sections of a course.

To facilitate a “bulk upload” of course learning outcomes, the Student Learning Assessment Office has an expedited course learning outcome project.

De-Cross-listing a Subject from a Course

Any subject may voluntarily remove themselves from a cross-listed course. To simplify the course proposal process, removing a cross-listed subject does not require a sample syllabus. No additional changes may be made to the course via this process.

For more information, see how to de-cross-list your subject from a course.

Historical Course Proposals

Historical course proposals are available through the Course Catalog in the Student Information System (SIS), through Perceptive Content, or Lumen Courses. Searching for historical courses in SIS will return the most results. If you need assistance searching for a course proposal, email

To support the Course Number Policy, courses are administratively “archived” in Lumen Courses. Once a course is archived, that subject + catalog number combination can be re-used. For more information on this process, see the Lumen Course: Archived Courses KB.