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Proposing a Field-of-Study Course

Definition: Field-of-study courses introduce students to some of the primary fields, or sets of related disciplines, within which scholars group phenomena for study. They are intended to familiarize students with the kinds of questions raised by scholars within each of these groupings, and with the methods by which scholars try to answer such questions. Although typically offered by individual departments, these courses have nonetheless been designed and approved with general education as their primary objective. Thus, their scope exceeds the boundaries of singular disciplines insofar as they seek to give explicit attention to the perspectives, ways of thinking and methodological approaches of larger fields of inquiry. 

Timing: The General Education Committee reviews proposals of courses to fulfill field-of-study requirements twice a year—once in the fall and again in the spring. The timeline can be found here. In submitting a proposal, the department chair certifies that the University faculty has already approved the course for academic credit, that the information on the proposal is accurate, and that the relevant department and faculty member(s) are committed and able to offer the course as proposed. Before preparing a final draft, department chairs should review field-of-study definitions and examples. The General Education Committee encourages chairs to consult with them about their proposals.

Include the following in a proposal:

  • Proposed field of study
  • Course number and title
  • How this course fulfills the purpose of the field of study, as defined by the General Education Curriculum
  • Catalog description
  • Course prerequisite(s)
  • Full details of how the course will be taught
  • Number of units
  • Typical estimated enrollment
  • How often and by whom the course will be offered
  • Staffing implications for the school/department/unit
  • Adequacy of library, technology and other resource
  • Any interdepartmental and interschool implications
  • Contact person
  • Proposed syllabus that includes the following:
    • Full description of course
    • Reading list
    • Statement of course objectives

Failure to fully include all of these components may result in your proposal being returned and/or decision being delayed. Proposals should be created in Microsoft Word and e-mailed to the chair of the General Education Committee.

General Education Committee Members from A&S

David Brandenberger, History and International Studies

Jane Geaney, Religious Studies

Marcia Whitehead, Boatwright Library

Eugene Wu, Biology