Frequently Asked Questions

Updated Jan 2019

The Office of Registrarial Services and the Office of Quality Assurance publishes a Style Guide designed to assist curriculum and program committees with drafting calendar/curriculum changes. The guide covers course labelling, calendar descriptions, prerequisites, corequisites, equates, restrictions, schedule of studies formatting, numbering, spelling, and other miscellaneous questions.


What is considered a major modification to a program?

Major modifications to a program include:

  • Merger of two or more existing majors
  • Addition of area(s) of emphasis to existing majors
  • Creation of an area of concentration where an honours major exists
  • Addition of a co-operative education option to an existing major
  • Name Change to an existing specialization.  If a name change is being proposed and no other changes are being made to the associated curriculum consult with the Curriculum Manager, Office of Quality Assurance prior to proceeding.
What is the approval process when a department wishes to propose a new course that could be a free elective or serve as a specific distribution requirement for any degree program? Which Program Committee reviews the proposal?

The department making the proposal should ensure the course is reviewed and approved for use by any Program Committee that is the intended audience. Those committees will decide on the course’s suitability and use in the degree program.

What is the process for proposing to offer a course in Distance Education (DE) format, or deleting a DE option?

Programs proposing to add a DE option to a new or existing courses must provide evidence of consultation with the Executive Director, Open Learning and Educational Support to mount the course in DE format.  Programs deleting a DE option, must provide clear rationale for the deletion and evidence of consultation with the Executive Director, Open Learning and Educational Support.

What is the process when changes are being proposed to restricted electives which serve more than one degree program or specialization?

When changes are being proposed to restricted electives which serve more than one degree program or specialization, consultation must be sought from those degree programs or departments using those courses in their curriculum. Evidence of consultation (electronic memo or copy of email correspondence) must be provided when submitting the templates.

Example 1: Department X proposes a semester change to a set of courses. The courses are included in the specialization/schedule of studies falling under two or more degree programs. The courses are core to one degree program and restricted electives in the other two. Consultation is required in each case. When the course is core to another program/specialization, that Curriculum/Program Committee must consult with other users (i.e. departments whose specializations use the course as a restricted elective). The originating PC submits the approved course changes with evidence of consultation. If, as a result of this consultation, changes are made to specializations in the other degree programs (i.e. where the course is a restricted elective), these changes must be submitted to the appropriate program committee for approval.

Example 2: Department Y proposes the deletion of a course due to low enrolment. The course is a restricted elective in two other specializations/ programs. The other departments using the course in their schedules of studies must be consulted, and any resulting changes to their specializations must be submitted to the appropriate program committee for approval.

In both examples, consultation allows curriculum and program committees to provide feedback on how the change will affect the progression of students through the degree, to seek out alternate choices for the curriculum and, if changes are approved, to amend the schedule of studies.
Require additional clarification regarding restricted electives? Contact the ORS representative for your Program Committee or the Curriculum Manager, Office of Quality Assurance.

When are calendar changes due to be submitted?

Although there is one final deadline by which Degree Program Committees must submit final calendar changes to the Calendar Review Committee (April 3, 2020), internal Departmental Curriculum Committee and Degree Program Committee deadlines will be much sooner and may differ depending on the nature of the change. For instance, where a change impacts another area (department, program, major etc.), time must be allotted for communicating the change and giving the other area time to make appropriate revisions. In some circumstances evidence of consultation is required so time must be allowed for feedback. All new courses require a library assessment which require a minimum of 3 weeks but may need up to 6 weeks lead time. Be sure to consult the Secretary of your Program Committee for internal deadlines.

When do the approved calendar changes take effect?

Calendar changes take effect on May 1 of the year they were approved for. For example, changes submitted on 2021-2022 forms will be effective on May 1, 2021. All changes including changes to course prerequisites, restrictions, offerings, and schedules of studies are effective as of this date. If changes are being made to courses to accommodate changes in a schedule of studies be aware that it may be necessary to keep current prerequisites, restrictions and offerings on some courses to accommodate students moving through the program on previous schedules of studies. Those prerequisites, restrictions, offerings can be can be submitted as changes at a later date to reflect that they are no longer needed or appropriate.

Which College Dean (or Designate) is responsible for final approval before proposal is submitted?

Approvals of changes, additions or deletions may be academic in nature only or both academic and resource-related in nature.

Proposals which have resource implications (course additions, deletions, major changes to lab or facility requirements and, in some cases, semester designations and lecture/laboratory hours) must be approved by the Dean (or Designate) with resource responsibility for the department or degree program proposing the change.

Templates which are solely academic in nature require approval from the Chair of the Program Committee and Dean (or Designate) on behalf of the Program Committee with academic responsibility for that program.

Which Program Committee approves changes, additions and deletions when a course or courses serve multiple degree programs?

Courses core to multiple degree programs must be reviewed by all Program Committees the course serves, but only one copy of the approved templates need be submitted.

Example 1: BA and BSc both offer Mathematical Science majors. When changes are made to courses core to each specialization, BUGS requires evidence these have been approved by both Program Committees.

Example 2: A number of Economics (ECON) courses are core to multiple specializations in multiple degree programs (BComm, BA, BSc ENV).Changes should be reviewed by the appropriate curriculum committees and approved by all three program committees.

(NB: remember to submit edits to the Schedule of Studies for the affected specialization(s). Complete Form D: Specialization Change Template).

Which program committee is responsible for submission of the templates to the Calendar Review Committee once changes are approved to a course or courses serving multiple degree programs?

The templates provide space for confirming approvals from multiple Program Committees. Once approvals are confirmed, only one Program Committee Secretary should forward the completed templates.

If a course is core to one degree program and a restricted elective in the other(s), the Program Committee for which the course is core should submit the templates.

If a course is a restricted elective in each of the degree programs, the Program Committee Chairs or Secretaries should consult with each other in advance to decide which will make the submission on behalf of all the committees. A list of Program Committee Chairs and Secretaries

Be sure to include any and all consultation with the submission.

Who is a “Designate”?

A Designate is normally an Associate Dean or Program Committee Chair. In some cases, Deans have designated approval authority, including changes which may affect resources, to their Associate Dean. Often, this person also chairs the Program Committee(s) for the College.

Why are library assessments required for new courses and new programs?

The Library and Learning Commons provide services, resources, and spaces designed to support student learning and faculty research. By conducting an assessment the library can determine whether the current library collections are sufficient to support new proposals. Even an independent study might draw upon library resources. When the library is aware of new or proposed academic programming it can plan ahead and, if necessary, acquire new resources.