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Course Content and Prerequisites

See Course Approval Form: Course description/ Prerequisites

A graduate course should be principally devoted to the study of some body of knowledge pertaining to the academic discipline, and should not be grounded exclusively in skills and practice. The course grade should be based primarily on tangible work, which permits the instructor to evaluate the student’s competence in the subject matter of the course. Requirements and grading should not be based exclusively or principally on the student’s class attendance, participation, and/or attitudes.

Introductory courses may be approved for graduate credit only if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The content is required by some graduate program;
  • A satisfactory undergraduate preparation for that program does not ordinarily include such content; and
  • The course material is treated at a level of sophistication normally expected of graduate students.

Prerequisites serve a double function:

  1. To ensure that all students in a given class will be “sufficiently alike in background, ability, and interest so that the objectives can be achieved and so that aimlessness can be avoided” (Michigan Council of Graduate Deans, 1975).
  2. To assist students and advisors in selecting appropriate courses and course sequences depending on individual needs and backgrounds.

The following guidelines are felt to be appropriate for all courses:

  • Recognizing the radically different structures of the various disciplines, there are no set minimum prerequisites for any given course levels.
  • In the statement of course prerequisites (on the course approval form), specific courses or course levels should be given where possible, especially when statements such as “graduate standing” or “permission of instructor” are not felt to be sufficiently informative.

The intellectual content of a course, including time spent in completing individual assignments, should be included within the term in which the course is offered. If the course extends beyond the scheduled term, it should be designated as a two-term sequence course, with the students registering for each term in which the course is in session. “Y” grades should be assigned for such officially sanctioned sequence courses only.