Section 400: Academic Affairs

Effective: February 1, 1980
Revised: August 2016
Review Date: August 2018
Responsible Party: Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs


The following guidelines explain requirements and standards with respect to approval of 191,291, 391, 491, 591 (Special Topics).


Special topic courses may only be offered 3 times. After the third offering, the course must be submitted through the college, academic senate, and approved by the Board of Regents as an official course.

Special Topic Undergraduate Courses.

  1. 191, 291,391 and 491 are numbers reserved for special topics or experimental courses. Departments who wish to experiment with new subject matter, to meet demands voiced by the community, etc. will use these numbers.
  2. Initial approval to offer a 191, 291, 391 or 491 course must be secured from the office of the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs before it appears in the schedule of classes. Request for approval will require all pertinent data about the course: a description of the content, the number of units, the reason for offering it, etc. Subsequent approval for the same course must be secured from the appropriate college dean.
  3. A 191,291, 391 or 491 course may be offered for a maximum of two semesters, consecutively. A course offered more than once must be evaluated during the second semester by the Academic Senate for possible inclusion in the regular departmental curriculum, after which standard procedures for the approval of new courses is to be followed.
  4. No program area may ordinarily offer more than two courses under the 191, 291,391 or 491 numbers in any one semester (with exception of Continuing Education and Summer Session).
  5. Colleges may not offer under the 191,291,391 or 491 numbers courses which have been disapproved by the Academic Senate, nor subject matter which infringes on or duplicates the offerings of other departments.

Special Topic Graduate Courses.

  1. Graduate courses carrying 591 numbers are comparable to undergraduate 391 or 491 courses; however contain expanded content and/or a research component. This number is to be used for graduate level courses that are experimental in nature or that are known as "Special Topics" courses that vary from academic semester to academic semester or professor to professor.
  2. Program areas wishing to offer 591 courses must submit their request through regular college channels to the Dean of the College in advance of the copy deadlines for the schedule of classes. Approvals to offer such courses are for "one time only"; additional approvals will be expected for repeated offerings.