Graduate Course Introductions

Quiclinks:   Course Characteristics | Required Information | Course Objectives
Library Statement | Additional Information | Instructions

The basic components of a graduate course may vary in emphasis but a graduate course generally builds upon knowledge and skills developed from study at the undergraduate level.

Graduate coursework involves advanced analytical, interpretative, and/or practical skills and knowledge in a focused and intensive scholarly program of study that is characterized by a high level of complexity, difficulty, and/or creativity. Independent learning and interaction with peers, scholars, expert practitioners, artists, and/or researchers form part of the learning environment.

Course Characteristics

A graduate course will comprise many, if not all, of the following characteristics:

  • builds upon a foundation of undergraduate and/or graduate courses
  • stresses independent learning
  • emphasizes the use of a variety of learning sources commensurate with the advanced level of learning
  • involves frequent interactions with faculty and/or peers
  • may include participation in the community of scholars or artists, such as seminars, conferences, workshops, concerts… as part of the course
  • allows a broadening of the knowledge base in the specialty area or in a secondary field or may deepen the knowledge base in a specialized area of study.

Required Information

Required Information for Course Introductions:

  • An actual, vacant course number (e.g., ANTH 7002). Note that only courses taught in French may end with an odd number (e.g., ANTH 7001).
  • Abbreviated course title (maximum 15 characters)
  • Specify pre-requisites or co-requisites (if any)
  • Proposed new calendar description (must not exceed 4 lines, 75 characters per line)
  • Reasons for the introduction of the new course
  • Duration of delivery (number of weeks or terms and number of hours/week) While focused and intensive, a graduate course must be offered over a sufficient period of time to permit assimilation and synthesis of course material.
  • Required or elective course (for example, will all students have to take this course; also depending upon the degree, a course may be required for PhD but may be an elective for MSc)
  • Nature of the course, for example, theoretical, practical, field placement.

Course Objectives

  • Outcome objectives that inform the student of the expectations of the knowledge or skills to be gained at the completion of the course. The expectations would reflect the advanced analytical and interpretative skills that are expected to be achieved from a graduate course. The objectives and content should be more advanced than those of undergraduate courses.
  • A short description of the intent of the course with concise and accurate statements of the main topic or conceptual areas to be covered. Clarify the nature of the course, such as whether a theoretical course, a practicum, laboratory, or other form.
  • Probable number of students enrolling in the course.
  • Course offering cycle: yearly; every two years; as needed (provide explanation).
  • Required text(s) and readings - Readings the student may have to purchase, library resources, web resources, government documents, and other materials they will be required to read in order to be evaluated.

Library Statement

  • The library statement does not determine whether the course will be approved, but is one factor that is taken into consideration when determining the resources available to support the course. Include the bibliography that was submitted to the library. The library will need at least one month’s notice to prepare its statement. The proposing unit and the subject librarian should discuss and agree upon the bibliography to be used in assessing the strength of the library’s collection in the field. The statement from the subject librarian must be appended regarding adequate support, additional copies of holdings, forthcoming publications, replacement costs, etc.
  • Other resource statements, if needed, are to be provided (such as laboratory space, computers, or other resources).
  • Letters of support from other units in which there may be actual overlap or perceived overlap of content to avoid delays or other units expressing concern over duplication of content.
  • Signed approval from the Budget Dean representing the unit’s Faculty Council. The date of the approval should be indicated.

Additional Information

Other information that can be helpful to the committee when reviewing the course introduction submission includes:

  • Instructional methods (lectures, seminars, observation, group critiques, demonstrations, student participation and in what form). The teaching methods are structured in a manner that allows for a variety of approaches to be used in order to study the subject manner, such as:
  • A wide range of source materials
  • Substantial student interaction
  • Considerable emphasis on independent study or research in the library, laboratory, studio, or community
  • Exposure to or interaction with scholars or experts in the field
  • Brief description of content or concepts covered in the course
  • An outline of the topics or concepts that will be covered during the classes/seminars/laboratories. Sufficient details on the topics/concepts should be provided to enable a reviewer to assess the relationship between the course description, purpose, objectives and content. This also helps to clarify the difference between this course and others that may provide similar content in the same or another unit.
  • Assignments and Evaluation (type of assignment and weight of each)
    Evaluation of the student in a graduate course consists of a variety of methods, to reflect the variety of teaching approaches, the variety of learning environments, the learning objectives, and the advanced nature of the material. Include information on the course requirements and the weighting for each.

For Special Topics courses, the amount of information that can be provided to the Programs and Planning Committee will vary depending upon the course and the overall goals of the unit for the course in the program. The required information described under Course Introductions would be most helpful to the committee in their review and the approval process. It is understood that the information included for a Special Topics course submission may not be as detailed as for other courses.


  1. Download the form for Course Introduction [PDF]
  2. Fill in the entire form
  3. A Statement of Library Support is required for each new course. Units should contact the pertinent bibliographer to let them know you are proposing to introduce a course and to request an assessment. Provide your phone number as the Library prefers to speak to the person introducing the course about the bibliography.
  4. Once you have received the Statement of Library Support and the Course Introduction has been approved by the appropriate bodies, please send the completed form, (including topical outline and bibliography) the Statement of Library Support, and any other pertinent information regarding the course to:

Louise Simard, Acting Dean
Faculty of Graduate Studies
500 University Centre