Courses - New

Proposals for new courses may be linked to a program revision or submitted individually. It is important that the review process is followed exactly to ensure proper levels of review. Please review this page before proposing your new course.

A same syllabus must accompany a new course. Refer to the Course Outline policy and review the campus accessibility standards.

New Course approvals

New courses are submitted for approval on the Master Catalog Course Change Form - New Course. Always include a sample syllabus for a new course. Please fill out the form completely. Once the form is completed, send it to to start the approval process. You will receive the final signed form at the end of the approval process.

General Guidelines

Normally, lower division courses presume no background on the part of the student and limited experience with college level work. Normally, upper-division courses are designed for students with greater skill or experience with college work, and require abstract thinking, application and analysis.

Normally, upper-division courses will have prerequisites or catalog statements describing the level of preparation needed to enroll.

Please use the following course numbering:

90-99 Non-baccalaureate level
100-299 Lower-division courses
300-499 Upper-division courses
500-599 Graduate level courses

See the definitions page for more information about course types.

Experimental and Special Topics Courses

An experimental course may be offered twice. A course offered more than once should be evaluated by the department curriculum committee for possible inclusion in the regular departmental offerings, after which standard procedures for the approval of new courses are to be followed. An Master Catalog Course Change Form (MCCCF) must be submitted for each semester that an experimental course is offered. An MCCCF must be submitted each time a Special Topics course is to be offered.

Experimental courses can be proposed using the Master Catalog Course Change form (MCCF). Be sure to fill out the form completely. If the experimental course is proposed as part of a program revision, include the MCCCF and syllabi with the full proposal.

General Education Courses

Proposers of new courses should be aware of the general requirements as defined by Title V, 40405:

Each recipient of the bachelor's degree shall have completed a program which includes a minimum of 48 semester units or 72 quarter units of which 9 semester units or 12 quarter units shall be upper division level and shall be taken no sooner than the term in which the candidate achieves upper division status. At least 9 of the 48 semester units or 12 of the 72 quarter units shall be distributed as follows:

(a) A minimum of 9 semester units or 12 quarter units in communication in the English language, to include both oral communication and written communication, and in critical thinking, to include consideration of common fallacies in reasoning.

(b) A minimum of 12 semester units or 18 quarter units to include inquiry into the physical universe and its life forms, with some immediate participation in laboratory activity, and into mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning and their applications.

(c) A minimum of 12 semester units or 18 quarter units among the arts, literature, philosophy and foreign languages.

(d) A minimum of 12 semester units or 18 quarter units dealing with human social, political, and economic institutions and behavior and their historical background

(e) A minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units in study designed to equip human beings for lifelong understanding and development of themselves as integrated physiological, social, and psychological entities.

The specification of numbers of units implies the right of discretion on each campus to adjust reasonably the proportions among the categories in order that the conjunction of campus courses, credit unit configurations and these requirements will not unduly exceed any of the prescribed semester or quarter unit minima. However, the total number of units in General Education-Breadth accepted for the bachelor's degree should not be less than 48 semester units or 72 quarter units.

In addition to the language in Title V, Executive Order 338 defines in more detail CSU expectations guidelines regarding General Education. The following excerpts are particularly important to keep in mind:

From and within the framework provided, each campus is to utilize its processes to establish its own agreements and challenge its own creativity about what courses and disciplines shall be included within its General Education-Breadth program. In undertaking this process participants should give particular and careful attention to the following:

  1. Taking such measures as may be necessary to assure that General Education-Breadth Requirements are planned and organized in such a manner that their objectives are perceived as interrelated elements, not as isolated fragments.
  2. Considering the organization of approved courses into a variety of "cores" or "themes" with underlying unifying rationales among which students may choose.
  3. Evaluating all courses approved as meeting current General Education-Breadth Requirements to determine which, if any, meet the objectives and particular requirement contained herein.
  4. Considering development of new courses as they may be necessary to meet the objectives and particular requirements contained herein.
  5. Considering the possibility of integrative courses, especially at the upper division level, which feature the interrelationships among disciplines within and across traditional general education categories.
  6. Providing for reasonable ordering of requirements so that, for example, learning skills will be completed relatively early and integrative experiences relatively later.
  7. Developing programs in terms of educational goals and student needs rather than in terms of traditional titles of academic disciplines and organizational units.
  8. Giving attention to possibilities for activity as well as observation in all program subdivisions.


General Education-Breadth Requirements are to be designed so that, taken with the major-depth program and electives presented by each baccalaureate candidate, they will assure that graduates have made noteworthy progress toward becoming truly educated persons. Particularly, the purpose of these requirements is to provide means whereby graduates:

  1. will have achieved the ability to think clearly and logically, to find and critically examine information, to communicate orally and in writing, and to perform quantitative functions;
  2. will have acquired appreciable knowledge about their own bodies and minds, about how human society has developed and how it now functions, about the physical world in which they live, about the other forms of life with which they share that world, and
    about the cultural endeavors and legacies of their civilization;
  3. will have come to an understanding and appreciation of the principles, methodologies, value systems, and thought processes employed in human inquiries.

The intent is that the General Education-Breadth Requirements be planned and organized in such a manner that students will acquire the abilities, knowledge, understanding, and appreciation suggested as interrelated elements and not as isolated fragments.

In addition, the campus has identified the Mission, Goals and Objectives for General Education at Sonoma State. Also be aware of the GE 3 unit standard policy.

Online and Hybrid courses

New online or hybrid courses are approved through the regular curriculum review process, following the same process as any new course. See the definitions page for more information about online and hybrid courses.

New courses in the School of Extended and International Education

The complete policy regarding courses and programs in SEIE can be found here.

Specific information about courses taken from the policy:

  1. All Chancellor’s Office Executive Orders will apply to courses and programs offered through SEIE.
  2. Non-academic credit-bearing courses offered by SEIE may award certification of particular skills, or certificates of completion. Documents attesting to these awards must clearly specify the nature of the award in order to avoid confusion with the award of a degree.
  3. Each time it offers a course, SEIE shall consider: the appropriateness of intended sites and facilities; the qualifications, teaching interests, and availability of SSU faculty members in the appropriate disciplines; and the qualifications, teaching interests, and availability of faculty for the course. 
  4. The department Chair pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement must approve instructors who teach SEIE academic courses offered for University credit (CBA).
  5. Credit-bearing courses offered through SEIE shall be evaluated in the same manner as courses offered through state support as outlined by the SSU Curriculum Guide.  Copies of said evaluations will follow the same process as state-offered courses.

Use this link to view the process of approval for courses in SEIE.