Creating or Modifying a Course

Points to Consider When Creating or Modifying a Course

When creating or modifying a course, faculty members are advised to consult with the appropriate curricular committee(s). Curricular committees may create or modify course subjects in consultation with the Office of Undergraduate Education. The points listed below are based on the policies of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Academic Planning group in the Office of the Registrar will work with faculty members to set and display a course (or set of courses) in a manner that best reflects the pedagogy of the course within the bounds of current technical resources.

Courses are numbered according to the following scheme:

1-99 or 910-999: Primarily for Undergraduates

100-199 or 1000-1999: For Undergraduates and Graduates

200-299 or 2000-2999: Primarily for Graduates

300-399 or 3000-3999: Graduate Courses of Reading and Research 

    • Ordinarily, courses may have only one number. An FAS course may be listed in more than one FAS department, but only with permission of the concerned departments.  For the 2016-17 academic year, faculty members will have access to a class roster that includes student enrollment for both courses. Both classes will appear in the my.harvard Course Search when one searches for one of the two courses.
    • Course titles appear on student transcripts which have space for only 100 characters. Faculty members are encouraged to submit both an appropriate transcript title of 100 characters and a short title of 30 characters to appear on student schedules.
    • Course descriptions are unlimited in length. Since students often search for courses on mobile devices, however, we encourage faculty to limit the descriptions to 100 words. 
    • Courses listed but not offered in the current academic year are designated by enclosing the course number and title in square brackets. Bracketed courses may include the instructor's name and the term when it will be next offered. Courses may be bracketed for three consecutive years. 
    • Faculty who limit the number of students who may enroll in a course are required by Faculty policy to approve student enrollment; that is, the course must require instructor consent and faculty will approve student study cards. It is possible, however, to require instructor consent even if the course is not limited in enrollment. The my.harvard Course Search will list capacity and instructor's permission as needed. All tutorials and 300/3000-level courses should have limited enrollments and require the instructor's permission to enroll.
    • A meeting time is necessary for all courses including, where possible, tutorials, laboratory sessions, and section meetings. Academic Planning in the Office of the Registrar will consider requests for exceptions to the Faculty's policy on compliant course meeting times. (See Course Meeting Times.)
    • For purposes of cross-registration between Harvard Schools, courses that are jointly offered with another Harvard Faculty will carry that information in a Note.
    • Occasionally, two departments in the FAS may offer courses with similar content. Should faculty members conclude that two courses are of sufficient similarity to preclude students earning credit for both, then this is an "illegal pair." Illegal pairs should be noted in a Catalog Note of the respective courses  and the Registrar's Office notified. The Registrar's Office will create an anti-requisite so students are unable to enroll in both courses for credit.