Graduate Curriculum Approval Process
All additions/modifications of 700-, 800-, and 900-level courses, as well as additions/modifications to graduate programs must be reviewed and recommended for approval by the Graduate Council. Appropriate reviews at the department and college level must be completed prior to submission of curriculum review requests to the Graduate Council. Requests for curriculum review should be sent to the attention of Nikki Kowalski in the Graduate School from the office of the dean of the college. The complete curriculum review packet should consist of an original and seven copies of the following:
- A cover letter from the Associate Dean of the College or designated college official with a summary of all requested course/curriculum action. The cover letter should also indicate the appropriate contact person for each requested course/program modification.
- A completed Curriculum Change Form for each course/program request.
- Requests for new courses, or significant modifications of existing courses, must be accompanied by a course syllabus. Review criteria for course syllabi can be found on the New Course Requests page of this site.
- Requests for new programs must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. Suggestions for supporting documentation are given on the New Program Requests page of this site.
The contact individual(s) listed for each program/course modification will be invited to attend the Graduate Council meeting to answer any questions or provide additional information related to the requests.
The Graduate Council conducts a thorough review of each requested course/program addition/modification. To allow appropriate time for review, requests must be received at least three weeks prior to the next meeting of the Graduate Council. The dates for the Graduate Council meetings are published on the Graduate Council page of this website.
Requests for curriculum reviews submitted to the Graduate School are distributed to members of the Graduate Council Curriculum subcommittee two weeks prior to the meeting of the full Graduate Council. The subcommittee chair may seek additional information, clarifications, or corrections from the designated contact person identified in the cover letter from the college. To assure consideration by the Council, it is important that these requests be responded to in a timely fashion.
Notification of Curriculum Actions:
The Graduate School will notify each college within one week of the recommendations of the Council. Council recommendations are also posted on the Graduate Council website. The Graduate School will also notify the Council on Academic Affairs of the Graduate Council’s recommendations.
Substantive modifications to existing graduate courses are subject to review by the Graduate Council. Examples of substantive changes include:
- Changes to the course description
- Change in prerequisites
- Change in number of credit hours
Requests for course modifications must include a complete Curriculum Change Form that clearly indicates the rationale for the requested action and the appropriate modifications of the language to be included in the Graduate Catalog. Requests for modifications that change the number of credit hours must also include a copy of the current and revised syllabi that reflect the appropriate differences in course requirements.
Requests for course modifications should be submitted to the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the next meeting of the Graduate Council. Requests received after this date will be placed on the agenda for the following meeting.
Substantive modifications to existing graduate program are subject to review by the Graduate Council. Examples of substantive changes include:
- Changes to the entrance requirements
- Change in course requirements
- Change in number of required hours for the degree
- Change in exit requirements
- Addition or removal of options/concentrations
Requests for program modifications must include a complete Curriculum Change Form that clearly indicates the rationale for the requested action and the appropriate modifications to the language of the entire program description (Entrance Requirements, Program of Study, and Exit Requirements) to be published in the Graduate Catalog. Requests for modifications that add options or concentrations may be required to include supporting documentation on student demand and financial impact. Requests to remove an option or concentration should include a plan for addressing the needs of students who are currently enrolled in the option or concentration.
Requests for program modifications should be submitted to the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the next meeting of the Graduate Council. Requests received after this date will be placed on the agenda for the following meeting.
New Course Request
Requests for new graduate programs should use appropriate course numbering consistent with the following guidelines:
500/700 courses are companion courses that are offered for graduate and undergraduate students. All 700-level courses must have a 500-level companion course. However, the 700 (graduate-level) course must have additional requirements for graduate credit.
800 – level courses are open only to graduate students. At least half of the courses in a master’s program must be at the 800-level.
900 – level courses are open only to students who have been granted clear admission to a doctoral program.
Before adding new courses, the program should carefully review their existing portfolio of graduate courses. Courses that are no longer relevant or that have not been offered in more than 4 years should be dropped from the program. When programs introduce a series of new courses, the program must address the resources required for the expansion of the program in the designated section of the Curriculum Change Form
Adding a 500/700 Course
As described above, 500/700 courses are companion courses for both graduate and undergraduate students. Typically, a 500/700 course will be taught with both undergraduate and graduate students in the same classroom. Undergraduates may register for the 500 designated course. Graduate students must register for the 700 designated course in order to be granted credit toward a graduate degree. An undergraduate student who completes a course at the 500-level, but then goes on to graduate school, may not apply the 500-level, or the companion 700-level course to the graduate program.
A request for a new 500-700 level course should include the following:
- A Curriculum Change Form for the new 500-700 course
- A Complete Syllabus for the 500 designated course
- A Complete Syllabus for the 700 designated course
Courses offered as 500/700 level may be taken by both undergraduate (500) and graduate (700) students. The Graduate School recognizes benefits to both graduates and undergraduates under this arrangement. Undergraduate students can benefit from the interaction with graduate students themselves, as well as from the higher level of discussions and learning activates that come about because of the presence of the graduate students in the course. Graduate students can benefit due to the expanded course offerings that can result from more effective use of university resources in these courses.
In these courses, however, both the Graduate School and the graduate faculty have an obligation to assure that the academic rigor of these courses are appropriate for graduate students. As a result, courses must be structured with a clear differentiation of standards for graduate and undergraduate students. Ideally, there should be separate course requirements and course objectives for graduate students that clearly integrate higher-level thinking skills, such as research, analysis, use of more complex texts and reference materials, and the synthesis of ideas, into the course requirements and objectives for graduate students. Simply giving additional assignments, or assignments that require additional length, rather than depth, are not sufficient in distinguishing graduate-level work.
In the spring of 2006, the Graduate Council passed general guidelines for differentiation of credit for 500/700-level courses. All graduate faculty are encouraged to review these guidelines and make sure that the syllabi used in these courses clearly distinguish between graduate and undergraduate expectations. These guidelines can be downloaded using the link below. Also posted are three representative syllabi that offer instructive examples of suitable differentiation in these courses. Faculty are encouraged to contact the Graduate School if they have questions about the proper differentiation of assignments and objectives in 500/700-level courses.
Adding 800 and 900 Courses
Courses at the 800 and 900 level are restricted to graduate students. In a master’s program, at least half of the course requirements for the program must be at the 800 level. Syllabi for 800 and 900 level courses should include the same characteristics of syllabi for 700-level courses. In particular, syllabi should imbed the key principles of the Graduate School’s QEP and Student Learning Outcomes, described below. Texts and other reading materials should be clearly targeted toward graduate students and should reflect the current state of knowledge in the field.
A request for a new 800 or 900 level course should include the following:
- A Curriculum Change Form for the new 800 or 900 course
- A Complete Syllabus for the 800 or 900 course
For additional information, please see the section on Preparing Graduate Syllabi.
Preparing Graduate Syllabi
Ideally, the four components of the University’s QEP should be reflected in the syllabi for all graduate courses. The Graduate School has interpreted the four components of the QEP as applied to graduate courses as follows:
- Informed: Informed means that the course conveys content that is intellectually challenging. Course content at the graduate level should be built on a strong foundation of the discipline. Texts should be chosen that are current and are appropriate for use in graduate, as opposed to undergraduate, courses. Readings and supplementary materials should rely on journal articles or similar works based on the current scholarship in the discipline.
- Critical: Graduate courses should challenge students to critically examine topics presented in the course. This may mean exploring a subject from multiple perspectives or applying critical reasoning skills based on scholarly practices in the discipline.
- Creative: The best graduate courses require creativity on the part of the students. This can take place through creative and artistic works as well as through basic and applied research.
- Effective Communication: All graduate courses should provide ample opportunities for graduate students to communicate at a level appropriate to the profession. This may take place through written papers, oral presentations, on-line discussions, or through other media.
All graduate courses should incorporate one or more of the common Graduate School Student Learning Outcomes.
Graduate Student Learning Outcomes
The Graduate School has adopted a core set of Graduate Student Learning Outcomes common to all graduate programs offered at EKU. While individual courses might not incorporate all of these, programs are expected to demonstrate that all are addressed in a graduate student’s program of study.
When students graduate from EKU Graduate Programs, they will be informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively.
Informed thinkers demonstrate mastery of the significant ideas of, and skills and abilities demanded by, their discipline.
SLO 1: Graduate students are able to explain, discuss, and apply clearly and accurately the key concepts and central theories, and demonstrate expertise appropriate to the discipline.
Critical and creative thinkers raise vital questions and problems with a clear and appropriate methodology; gather and assess relevant information in ways that distill accurate and appropriate meaning from abstract ideas; analyze assumptions through alternative systems of thought; and generate new knowledge or creative expressions through the self-reflective synthesis of problems, information, evaluation and analysis.
SLO 2: Graduate students are able to formulate and express important/essential questions and issues related to the discipline with clarity and accuracy, and appropriate depth and breadth.
SLO 3: Graduate students are able to identify, collect, analyze, and evaluate relevant information to understand essential questions and issues and to advance knowledge in the discipline.
SLO 4: Graduate students are able to identify, analyze, and evaluate underlying assumptions of arguments, abstract ideas, and alternative perspectives and theories.
SLO 5: Graduate students are able to generate new knowledge, application, or creative expressions through the self reflective synthesis of information, evaluation, and analysis of critical questions or issues/problems related to their discipline.
Effective communicators illustrate and successfully defend their point of view, information, analysis, and conclusions, using oral, visual, and written methods, in ways that demonstrate clearly and logically the appropriateness of their conclusions and the implications thereof.
SLO 6: Graduate students are able to communicate clearly and logically using oral, written, and/or artistic forms.