The information required on the Course Action Form within the Course Inventory Management System (CIM)  is used to construct the course information that is published in the UCI General Catalogue and the quarterlySchedule of Classes.  The standards outlined in the following paragraphs (course titles and descriptions, classification and numbering of courses, assignment of units, establishment of prerequisites, and designation of instructors) should be followed when preparing the request form.

Departments are encouraged to submit any modifications of existing courses via the Course Inventory Management System (CIM).

Complete or check appropriate action box(es).

A.            School and Department (Discipline)
The department name associated with a course in the UCI General Catalogueand the Schedule of Classes must reflect an existing school, department, major, or language.  Thus, if a department name changes, Requests for Course Action/General Education Forms must be submitted for all courses in the department in order for courses to reflect the new name.

Fill in the blanks with the names of an approved undergraduate major, school, department or language.

B.            Course Number

Courses are classified and numbered as follows:
1-99   lower-division courses
100-199   upper-division courses
200-299   graduate courses
300-399   professional courses for teachers
400-499   other professional courses

  • Lower-division courses are designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores.
  • Upper-division courses are ordinarily open only to students who have completed at least one lower-division course in the given subject, or six quarters of work.
  • Graduate courses are ordinarily open only to graduate-level students and occasionally to undergraduates who have completed at least 18 upper-division units basic to the subject matter of the course.
  • A professional course is considered a recognized part of professional training that is included only in a professional curriculum or only as a requirement for a professional degree.

NOTE: Course numbers that have not been used in the previous six years may be reassigned.

Course Numbering for Special Types of Courses

1)         A laboratory course paralleling a lecture course should have the same number with an L suffix (e.g., Chemistry 124 and 124L).  If the lecture course is part of a sequence covering more than one term and having A and B designations, the same number should be used for the parallel laboratory course with an L suffix before the sequence number (e.g., Physics 2A, 2B, and 2C are lecture courses; Physics 2LA, 2LB, and 2LC are the corresponding laboratory courses).

2)         In general, the numbers 197, 198, and 199 should be used only for the following types of courses (Appendix F):
197 – Individually arranged field study
In this course, an individual student plans a field study program with a faculty member.
198 – Directed group study on special topics
In group study courses on special topics, the faculty member in charge is responsible for the supervision and evaluation of each student’s work.  The offering of a 198 course which consists essentially of a program of study set up and conducted by someone other than the sponsoring faculty member is improper.
199 – Special study courses for individuals
These courses are designed to provide students with experience working independently on topics they propose.  Topics are approved by a faculty member who serves as director of the course.

  • Note that none of the titles for these courses include the specific topic or field of study.
  • The individual program of study for these courses, as proposed by a student or faculty member for a specific quarter, must be submitted in writing and approved by the chair of the department or program prior to being offered.
  • Courses numbered 197, 198, or 199 may be repeated for credit if the subject matter varies.
  • Irvine Regulation 375. Special Studies Credit Limitation (Undergraduate)(Senate Regulation 764) states that: “Credit in special courses for undergraduates is limited to five units per quarter.”

A department may offer two or more sections of a 198 course during one quarter.  Unless the course description states otherwise, a student may receive credit for more than one section of a 198 course during the same quarter.

3)         A regular course having special requirements for honors students is identified as such in the course title and description.  Such a course is designated by using the H prefix before the regular course number (e.g., Mathematics H2A or Social Science H127P).

4)         Courses approved to satisfy the upper-division writing requirement are listed in the Schedule of Classes with a W suffix.  The W suffix appears in the Schedule of Classes but does not appear in the Catalogue.  The W suffix cannot be used for other upper-division courses.

C.            Course Title

  • The title of a course should be in English, be brief, and be explicit.  Avoid discipline jargon.
  • The use of identical titles for courses that differ in content (excluding honors, tutorials, directed group study, and special study courses) should be avoided unless they are part of a sequence such as Chemistry 1A, 1B, 1C.  This sequence is General Chemistry, a year-long course divided into three quarters.

Special Topics.  The common title for courses which cover a broad general subject is “Special Topics in ____________.”  Sub-topics within the broad area are taught as individual sections of the course.

  • A section of this type of course is a one-time only offering (e.g., to accommodate visiting lecturers or facilitate pilot course offerings), is usually repeatable for credit when the topic changes, is not cross-listed with other permanently offered courses, and is not sequential in nature.
  • The titles of each section should reflect the sub-topic within the broad area of the course.  The titles are not included in the UCI General Catalogue but are indicated in the Schedule of Classes.  Specific titles appear on students’ transcripts exactly as they were listed in the Schedule of Classes.  An example is Social Ecology C100, Special Topics in Criminology, Law, and Society.  When courses are offered in this area they appear in the Schedule of Classes with titles such as Social Ecology C100, Forensic Science and Society; Social Ecology C100, Enforcement of Disability Rights.
  • SCOC approval is not needed for each individual course offering but the broad title and course description must be reviewed and approved by SCOC

NOTE:  Departments are encouraged to establish and maintain guidelines and a review process in order to monitor and maintain academic standards for these courses.

Topics Vary.  The title for these courses should be “Topics in ____________”.  However, in this circumstance, the department has in mind a list of topics which are known and set, but are offered intermittently based on faculty availability or interest, or student interest or need.  The department uses the primary course number as an umbrella for a variety of sub-topics or titles (e.g., History 169, Topics in Latin American History, listed in the Schedule of Classes as History 169, Latin America and the Caribbean.)

  • Individual SCOC approval for each offering is not needed, but SCOC approves the umbrella course.  The description should outline the topics and potential titles which the department plans to offer under this major heading.
  • Each time one of the sub-topics is re-offered it must carry the same course title as previous offering

                D.            Units

Credit for academic work undertaken at the University is evaluated in terms of units.  UCI’s unit value is modeled on the Carnegie unit, which allows one unit of credit for three hours of work by the student per week. (Senate Regulation 760)

Included in these three hours may be one hour of lecture or discussion.  It is expected that, on the average, a student will spend two hours in preparation for each hour of lecture or recitation.

Two to three hours of laboratory, studio, performance, or individual practice are equivalent to one unit of credit.  A two-hour laboratory with one unit of credit should have some outside preparation (approximately one hour), whereas a three-hour laboratory for one unit of credit would not require outside work.

If the number of lecture or discussion hours specified on the course form is less than the number of units of credit assigned to the course, some form of additional non-classroom work, such as a substantial term paper, should be required of the student.  Explanatory information can be included in the Reasons for Action/ Comments section.

Faculty are encouraged to use the above as guidelines for unit assignment.  If the unit value for a course submission differs from these guidelines explain the reasons in the justification section on the CAF.

Variable-unit Courses are those for which there is an approved range of units (e.g., 1 to 5 or 1 to 12).  The number of units is based on the amount of work required.  The approved unit credit range is published in the UCI General Catalogue and the Schedule of Classes.  Each time this type of course is offered, however, the instructor determines the actual number of units allowed within the approved range.

Baccalaureate credit counts toward degree requirements and is used to compute the grade point average.  Workload credit is used to determine full-time status for financial aid, housing, student loans, and other purposes.  For most courses at UCI, baccalaureate credit and workload credit are identical.  Courses with differing baccalaureate and workload credit, or workload credit only courses, are identified in the course description.  When requesting this unit designation for a course, departments need to explain if any or all the units for a course are to be for workload credit only, and why.

E.             Abbreviated Title

This abbreviated title appears in the Schedule of Classes and on the student’s transcript.  It is limited to 19 characters, including spaces.  If the entire name, including spaces, fits within the 19 spaces, do not abbreviate.  If over 19 characters, abbreviate but make sure that the title is still understandable.  The title may be edited by the Registrar’s Office, the Editor’s Office, or SCOC to make it clearer and more representative of the course content.

                F.             Catalogue Description

The brief description is printed in the UCI General Catalogue to provide helpful information for students considering the course or planning their schedules.

In order to conform to the format used at UCI, course descriptions should:

    • be no more than 40 words in length;
    • emphasize substantive content as much as possible but need not be complete sentences;
    • avoid using phrases such as “This course” or “This seminar…”;
    • avoid using verbs, particularly obvious ones such as “studies,” “examines,” or “focuses on”;
    • use present tense;
    • limit description to the subject matter;
    • follow standard punctuation rules;
    • list three or four examples and close with a period rather than using “etc.”

The following description

“113A-B, Demographic Studies of Human Fertility
This course will give the student experience in using the tools of demographic analysis to make population data speak to various issues and problems in the study of human fertility.  The first part will focus on learning to use the various tools of fertility analysis, with emphasis on application to a wide range of actual fertility data.  Exercises may involve computer work with U.S. fertility survey data sets.  The second part of the course will focus on applications to the study of particular issues and problems.”

would be edited as follows:

“113A-B, Demographic Studies of Human Fertility 
Use of demographic measuring tools to address issues and problems in human fertility.
113A: Learning to use the tools with actual fertility data; may involve computer work.
113B: Applications.”

Changes of a substantive nature made by the University Editor’s Office will be forwarded to the department for review.

G.            Prerequisites/Corequisites/Restrictions

Prerequisites are requirements that are to be completed before a specific course can be taken.  The prerequisites for a course are established by the department and are approved by SCOC.  They are enforced, however, by the instructor.  Active prerequisite checking is an option available from the Registrar’s Office.

Courses are listed as corequisites when simultaneous enrollment is required.

Restrictions place limitations on enrollment (e.g., limited to majors; upper-division standing required).  Restrictions should be used sparingly.

H.            Multiple or Cross-Listing 

Multiple listing is also known as cross-listing, i.e., a course offered under more than one department name.  Cross-listed courses are offered at the same time and place, with the same instructor.  Cross-listing requires agreement between the participating units and simultaneous submission of course action forms (Appendix F).

  • Each unit designates its own course number and submits a Course Action/General Education Form with the appropriate signatures.
  • All other specifications (e.g., title, format, hours, prerequisites, unit value, etc.) must be identical.
  • A course may have more than one cross-listing (up to a maximum of the original course and three cross-listings) but, the course numbers of all of the courses to be cross-listed are specified on each form.  Any subsequent change, including deletion, requires the simultaneous submission of allCAFs for each cross-listing.
  • While the numbers for each course need not be identical, they must be the same level (e.g., lower- or upper-division, or graduate).

I.              Concurrent Listing 

Upper-division and graduate courses may be concurrently listed.  Concurrent courses are offered at the same time and place, with the same instructor, but credit is given at two levels–graduate and undergraduate.  Requests for this type of listing are submitted simultaneously on two separate Course Action/General Education Forms, one for the Graduate Council to review and the other for SCOC.

Senate Regulation 762 states: “No student, by merely performing additional work, may receive upper-division credit for a lower-division course or graduate credit for an undergraduate course.  Related courses may share lectures, laboratories or other common content but must have clearly differentiated and unique performance criteria, requirements, and goals.”

It is expected that the amount of activity and level of performance required of a graduate student enrolled in a concurrently listed course will exceed that of an undergraduate.  The character of this difference should be clearly stated on the course form and/or the accompanying course outline/syllabus.  The character of the difference should also be communicated through the course syllabus to students enrolled in the course.

Both CAFs are to include statements in the “Justification for Action” section describing the distinction between the two courses, including grading criteria, and the rationale or compelling reasons for offering them concurrently.

J.             Overlap of Course Content

When proposed new courses include material also falling into the province of another department, the originating department must consult with the department within whose discipline the related material lies in order to obtain judgments regarding the proposed course, the instructor, and any undesirable overlapping of course content.  If substantial overlap exists, students may not receive credit for both courses.

K.          Types of Action

Check the appropriate action box(es):

1.     New Course

The new course box is checked if it is a first-time offering.  All forms for new courses must be accompanied by a course syllabus summary (Appendix D).

Note:  Departments are encouraged to use an existing Special Topics designation for courses that are to be offered on a one-time basis only (for example, by a visiting faculty member) rather than create a new course for a one-time offering.

2.     Change Existing Course

This is used when a previously approved course is being changed: course number, title, type, description, number of units, prerequisites or corequisites, grading option, Engineering design units, repeatability, cross-listing.

A Request for Course Action/General Education Form is required for all changes to existing courses, except change of instructor or the quarter offered.  The instructor may be changed by the department in the Schedule of Classes; the quarter offered may be changed by the department on the proof copy of the UCI General Catalogue sent out by the University Editor’s Office.

NOTE: Changes to courses approved for general education or degree requirements may require additional review.  See Part II of this manual for guidelines and required forms.

Requests for changes in existing courses are accompanied by a course syllabus summary only if the content or level of the course changes.  However, SCOC may request a course syllabus for any course during the review process.

Make sure all necessary information is provided when indicating the action requested.  For example, under multiple listing a department also indicates the other department and course number to be cross-listed.

3.      Fulfills General Education Category

Indicate which general education category (I, II, etc.) the course fulfills, if any.  Departments must also submit a rationale if they are proposing a course for general education, including upper-division writing, or are changing or deleting a course which has already been approved for general education.  See Part II of this manual.

4.     Multiple or Cross-Listed (See section H, page 8)

Forms for cross-listed courses must be submitted simultaneously (Appendix F).

5.   Delete

Delete is checked if the course is no longer to be offered.

6.   Deactivate

Deactivate is checked if the course has not been offered for some time but the department may want to offer it again in the future.

7.   Reactivate

Reactivate is used when a course was previously deactivated but the department wants to offer it again.  It is also used when a department wants to resurrect a course for which prior approval from SCOC has expired (e.g., a course that was approved for one year only).  The department should indicate when they expect to offer the course and submit a syllabus with the CAF.

L.            Number of Hours Per Week(See section D, page 6) Indicate the course type.





Lecture A course which revolves around an instructor’s formal presentations.


Discussion Class meetings held in conjunction with a Lecture course, involving substantial instructor/student interaction, e.g., discussion, recitations, presentations of papers.


Seminar A course involving substantial student participation, e.g., presentation of papers, contributing to discussions.


Laboratory Course or class meetings during which the students carry out experiments or independent work requiring special equipment and facilities.


Studio A course in which the student studies, practices and/or creates within a particular art form.


Field Study A course in which students work outside the university classroom to gain experience.


Research A course in which the student is involved with original discovery.  May be supervised or directed research with individual students or groups.


Colloquium A course in which invited speakers address related topics by lecture and/or discussion.


Tutorial A course directed by a tutor for a small number of students with close student/tutor interaction.


Activity A course in which students practice skills.


Learning and Academic
Resource Center (LARC)
A group tutoring session through LARC.

                M.           Grading Options

1.     Grading Basis 
Senate Regulations A345 through 355 specify grading policies.  Departments need to indicate a grading preference on the form; the one most commonly used is Letter Grade with Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) Option.  Under this option students may take courses for a letter grade or elect the P/NP grade.
2.     Pass/Not Pass (P/NP) Only
Any course which is to be offered exclusively on a P/NP basis must be so indicated on the course form and the department must explain why this is educationally necessary.
3.     In Progress (IP)
This is used for courses extending over more than one quarter where the evaluation of a student’s performance cannot be determined until the end of the final quarter of the course.  The grade earned is applied to all quarters of the course.  Courses using IP as a grading basis must carry the same course number and the same title.
4.     Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) Only
With the specific approval of the Graduate Council, graduate courses may be graded on an S/U basis.  Graduate students enrolled in such courses receive a grade of S, U, or I, and undergraduate students, a grade of P, NP or I.

                N.            Repeatability

May be taken for a total of__units…use this option to indicate repeatability for variable unit courses.  Indicate how many times the course may be taken for credit, including the first time.

O.            Required for Major(s)/Minor(s)

Indicate for which majors or minors the proposed course is required; departments may need to submit forms to CEP at the same time to propose new or modify existing degree requirements.  (See Part II of this manual for more information.)

P.            Action effective date (quarter/year)

The earliest a course can be offered is the quarter following the date on which SCOC approves it.  Be sure to allow sufficient time for the approval process, including review by CEP.  Indicate the quarter(s) the course will be offered.

Q.            Course Sequence

On the Course Action/General Education Form, a sequential course is designated with dashes between the suffix letters (e.g., Humanities 1A-B-C).  Each part is presumed to be prerequisite to the one that follows.  Non-sequential courses have no dashes and always have separate course approval forms (e.g., Social Science 170A, 170B, 170C).  This field should be left blank if the course is not sequential.

R.            Proposed Instructor(s) and Title(s)

Whenever known, the instructor in charge of the course and his or her appropriate academic title should be listed on the course form.  Note that the qualifications required of persons responsible for courses or assisting in them (including readers) are specified inSenate Regulation 750.  Any exceptions must be approved by the department, the school/ program, and SCOC.

A request for course approval may be questioned if it does not list the name of a qualified instructor, especially if the course is to be offered for general education, upper-division writing, or major/minor degree requirements.

Guest lecturers. Department chairs establish procedures to ensure they will be notified about any intended use of guest lecturers.  The chair must decide whether or not the participation of an individual proposed as a guest lecturer is of such a nature as to require appointment to a position with an appropriate instructional title.  If the department chair determines that such an appointment is necessary, then the guest lecturer shall not participate in the presentation of the course unless the chair recommends the appointment and the appointment is approved, after appropriate review, by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s representative. (see Academic Personnel Manual 289-6 for additional information.)

Instructors not holding any of the academic titles listed in Irvine Regulation 450 (Senate Regulation 750) must be approved by SCOC in order to teach upper-division courses.

Teaching Associate (Associate In): “An academically qualified and registered graduate student in full-time residence employed temporarily to teach a lower-division course.  On an exception basis, a graduate student, upon recommendation from the department head, may be assigned an upper-division course or course section with the written approval of the Graduate Dean and the UCI Academic Senate’s Subcommittee on Courses.  Such approval must be obtained in writing prior to the student beginning his or her assignment/appointment.”  “During the academic year, a Teaching Associate may not be assigned responsibility as the Instructor of Record.”

In addition to the criteria detailed in the Graduate Advisor’s Handbook (see Office of Graduate Studies; Faculty and Staff Resources; Graduate Advisor’s Handbook) all information on theException Request Checklist must be supplied (Appendix G).  In addition, please supply the name and telephone extension of the department contact.

S.            Justification for Action/Comments

A statement of justification should be included for all actions, including reasons for renewing or deleting a course.  Any other comments which would assist SCOC in its review should be included here as well.

When deleting or changing a course, departments should be aware of the potential impact on other academic units.  Action on courses which have been approved for breadth, upper-division writing, or degree requirements could affect other departments.  Deletions, in particular, should be accompanied with a statement regarding that impact.

T.            Signature Authorizations

On the bottom portion of the form, the following signatures are required: (1) the chair of the department (or designate); (2) the dean or director of the school or program (or designate).  Electronic forms require electronic sign-off by the same individuals and others the department may designate.  The course form will not be routed to SCOC until it contains the authorized signatures required.  Upon final approval, the signature of the Chair of SCOC, with approval date, must also be appended before copies are forwarded to the Editor,s and Registrar’s Offices.