Curriculum Committee

Curricular Approval Process

The Charleston Southern Curricular Approval Process has two levels. The first level is designed to handle curricular maintenance issues. A report on these items will be made each meeting to the Curriculum Committee, who will review them.  The second level is designed to handle major curricular changes and will be voted on by the Curriculum Committee, who will report all Level 2 actions to the faculty for review prior to VPAA final approval.
Please note the following deadlines which apply to requests for Curriculum Committee Approval:
  • Deadline for new spring classes: October meeting
  • Deadline for new May/Summer classes: March meeting
  • All significant Level 2 programmatic changes for the following fall semester: February meeting

Please note that two copies of all curricular requests (signed by the required personnel, such as the chair, dean, and registrar) must be submitted in advance per the deadlines published by e-mail.  Secondly, all Level Two actions must be submitted digitally (a minimum of one week in advance) as well.

Level One
Level One items require action by the following people:

  1. Faculty of an academic department (if submitted from a college) or      an appropriate interdisciplinary unit (e.g. Honors)
  2. Dean of the respective school or college
  3. Curriculum Committee chair review
  4. VPAA
Curricular changes that are considered Level One include:
Course Changes (other than those affecting core requirements)
  1. Courses to be deleted from the catalog
  2. Course prerequisites
  3. Increase or decrease in the hours of a course
  4. Course title, level, number, and/or designator
  5. From credit/no credit or pass/fail to letter grades or vice-versa
  6. New courses
  7. Major content revisions of existing courses
Program Changes
  1. Changes in the name of major, minor, or special academic programs      (emphasis, concentration)
  2. Requirements for an existing major which do not change the total number of credit hours in a major or do not substantially change the  content of a major
  3. Requirements for an existing minor which do not change the total number of credit hours in a minor or do not substantially change the content of a minor
  4. Requirements for a special academic program which do not change the total number of credits in the special academic program or do not  substantially change the content of the special academic program.
Level Two
Level Two items require action by the following people:
  1. Faculty of an academic department (if submitted from a college) or      an appropriate interdisciplinary unit (e.g. Honors)
  2. Dean of the respective school or college
  3. Curriculum Committee
  4. Report to faculty and faculty review
  5. VPAA
Curricular changes that are considered Level Two include:
  1. Addition or deletion of a special academic program
  2. Modifications to a special academic program (e.g., concentration,      emphasis, etc.)  which change the total number of credit hours or      which substantially change the content of a special academic program
  3. Addition or deletion of a minor
  4. Modifications to a minor which change the total number of credit      hours or which substantially change the content of a minor
  5. Core Curriculum Requirements
  6. Degree Requirements
    1. New Degrees
    2. Deletion of existing degrees
  7. Minimum requirements for a major or minor
  8. Changes in majors
    1. New majors
    2. Deletion of existing majors
    3. Modifications to a major which change the total number of credit hours or which substantially change the content of a major

 Note that many level 2 changes may require SACSCOC approval or notification.  Note that no Curricular Changes are final (even after being approved by the Committee and VPAA) until SACSCOC has approved the changes.  See the CSU Substantive Change Policy R-64.

Technology or Library Impact Statements:
When the addition of a new course or new program (or revisions to previously existing ones) will have an impact on either Administrative Services (for example, a course will always be taught in a computer lab, or extensive amounts of computer resources will be required) or the Library (for example, a course might require the acquisition of an extensive series of texts and films, or a database), the Chair or Dean is required to notify the head of Administrative Services and the Director of the Library as part of the curricular process. This notification and the response to the department from Administrative Services &/or the Director of the Library should be submitted with the curriculum request to the Curriculum Committee. 


Guidelines for Development of New Programs

Length of Programs: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) requires that a Bachelor's degree require a minimum of 120 semester credit hours (Core Requirement 2.7.1). At the same time, the overall length of the program must be "appropriate for each of the institution's educational programs" (Federal Requirement 4.4).

As stated in the academic catalog, all baccalaureate programs from Charleston Southern University will require 125 hours. Additionally, all students are required to successfully earn the required 47 credit hours of the CSU Liberal Arts Core (LAC).

Beyond this, a major leading to a baccalaureate degree must have a minimum length of 30 semester credit hours within the major. The required semester credit hour length of a given major should not exceed typically 51 semester credit hours other than for the reasons cited below. In a typical case, a program (such as Christian Studies) might require 36 hours for a BA degree; added to this would be the 47 hours of the LAC. Additionally a student would take a minor (typically 12-21 hours beyond the core) for (in this case) 18 more hours; this presents a total of 101 hours. The remaining 24 hours semester credit hours necessary for successful completion of the BA degree would be made up of electives.

Exceptions:   In some cases a program may be justified in terms of national, regional, or professional standards in exceeding the suggested upper length of a program as described above (51 semester credit hours). Such programs are presumed to typically meet one or more of the following criteria: a) it is a pre-professional program; b) following the mandates or requirements of a national affiliation or accrediting body (such as NASM in Music, or the South Carolina Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) for Nursing, or the IACBE for Business); c) essentially eithermade up of a "double" major (such as Mathematics Education) or requiring within the course of study a built-in minor program or the equivalent (students in Computer Science, for example, must earn 17 semester credit hours beyond the LAC in Mathematics). Deans and Chairs are expected to make the case to Curriculum Committee that their programs are justified in exceeding the suggested maximum length of 51 hours beyond the LAC in a major. Lengths of programs which will require students earning baccalaureate degrees to earn significantly more than 125 hours (when added to the LAC) will be especially scrutinized.

Minors:  The Curriculum Committee of Charleston Southern University affirms and respects the tradition and value of liberal arts education and believes that broad-based, wide-ranging curriculum serves students best. However, the Committee is cognizant of the requirements of professional programs and their various accrediting bodies.

Therefore, the general expectation in the creation of new programs is that most majors should and will require attendant minors. In the cases of programs seeking not to require minors, the following questions should be asked by the Committee and the appropriate dean:

  • Is the request to not have a minor coming from a professional school with less expectation of a broadly based curriculum?
  • Does the major require 60 hours or more beyond the core? If so, is the major's excessive length appropriate due to professional accreditation or for other reasons (as discussed above)?
  • Will students in this area (in terms of educational base or vocational liabilities) suffer from a lack of a minor?What effect will not requiring a minor have on other departments/ programs?
  • Does the program sufficiently demonstrate through sharing accreditation standards and catalog printout from benchmark and regional schools that this is a 'best practice' in its discipline?

Additionally, the expectation of the Committee is that a given program will not allow a student to major and minor in the same or in a very closely related discipline.

Programs creating minors should typically require 12-18 semester credit hours beyond the core.

Curriculum Design and Expectations by Academic Class

First year (100 level) courses typically do not require pre-requisites (other than those indicating college readiness in English or Math in some cases).  They are typically introductory courses.  Assignments are often skills-based and emphasize process.  Critical thinking and/or reading are emphasized in a variety of disciplines.  Often first year courses employ multiple short assignments with distributed grading scales.

Sophomore (200 level) courses may or may not require pre-requisites.  Sophomore classes often build on skills learned in 100 level courses or assume that students have developed requisite skills or knowledge base in their first year curricula.  Academic rigor is greater than at the 100 level.  Students are often required to delve into subjects in greater depth and to demonstrate self-motivation and the ability to handle greater responsibilities in development of papers, presentations, and projects.  Out of class reading and homework time is greater than for most courses at the 100 level.  Classes will often offer fewer exams but the exams carry greater weight.  Some sophomore classes may serve as introductory courses to particular majors and fields of study. 

Upper division (300-400 level) courses typically require pre-requisites.  Students are expected to build upon the skills and levels of knowledge gained in their 100-200 curricula.  Academic rigor and the amount of out of class work are greater than that required by most courses at the 100-200 levels.  Students must typically display greater self-discipline and stay focused on tasks in development of longer, more significant projects and papers.  Although the division between 300-400 level courses is not as significant as that between 100-200 and 200-upper division courses, 300 level courses often focus on allowing students to begin development of a wide knowledge base or skill set within their chosen fields or majors.  400 level courses typically afford students deeper immersion into knowledge bases and skill sets of their fields, and are often characterized by lengthier papers and projects.

Graduate Courses that are 500 level are generally offered in support of the master’s degree programs and are introductory graduate courses or graduate level fundamental courses in the discipline.  These may be designated as prerequisites to upper level graduate courses or be foundational in content

Graduate Courses that are 600 level are core content courses for the master’s degree in the field of study.  These require intensive study, research, and analysis of content.  These courses usually require an in-depth knowledge of the discipline that is further developed through classroom, independent work, or collaborative models of learning.


Curriculum Committee Deadlines & Forms