Academic Affairs

Course Requests

Process for New Course Requests

Requests for all Trinity undergraduate and graduate courses are submitted to the Office of Curriculum and Course Development, and reviewed by the Faculty Committee on Courses, a standing committee of the Arts & Sciences Council. This Committee consists of representatives from the divisions of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences, as well as the Associate Dean on Courses for the Office of Curriculum and Course Development, who is an ex-officio member. Final approval of all course requests rests with this Committee.

Requests for new courses, course changes, course deletions, and coding for general education requirements are made by faculty, in consultation with the departmental Directors of Undergraduate Studies and/or the departmental curriculum committees. Requests for all undergraduate courses require the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the sponsoring department. Courses at the 500-699 level require the approval of both the Director of Undergraduate Studies and the Director of Graduate Studies. All 700+ level courses are approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. Departments must use the forms in the Course Request system when submitting all course requests.


For Spring 2020 courses: August 30, 2019
For Summer 2020 courses: October 11, 2019
For Fall 2020 courses: February 5, 2020

Online Course Request Forms

The online Course Request forms require faculty and departments to submit detailed information on the course, including title, course description, prerequisites, course format, and so forth. Through the Course Request form, requests may also be made for the particular Areas of Knowledge and Modes of Inquiry curricular codes that apply towards the general education requirements of the college. Each course may carry up to two Areas of Knowledge codes and up to three Modes of Inquiry codes.  Faculty should consult the criteria and guidelines below before filling out Course Request forms.

DOWNLOAD: Instructions for using the Online Course Request Program

Departments must use the Online Course Request Program ( when submitting requests to add, drop, or revise regular courses and to request coding for Special Topics courses. After logging on to the site, users select a school according to the following categories (or simply click on one of the following links):

If you need to find previous course requests, you can access either the Archived Course Requests (contains requests from June 2004 through December 2011) or the Old System (contains requests from January 2012 through May 2015). A link to both pages can also be found at the top of the website in the Course Request system. Both the Archived and Old System sites are read-only sites and are made available for departments to use for informational purposes only.  

Special Topics Courses

Courses offered under the Special Topics course numbers (n90) are courses that are offered on a one-time basis; they are not part of a department’s or program’s regularly taught curriculum (permanent courses). Special Topics are used by faculty who wish to teach a very specialized subject on a one-time basis, or to try out a new course that may eventually become a permanent course.  Special Topics may also be used for specialized courses taught by visiting faculty.

The generic Special Topics courses (numbered 190, 290, 390, 490, 590, etc.) carry a general title, beginning with “Special Topics in…”, and course description usually containing some indication that “topics vary by semester.” These are repeatable courses, that is, students may take a given Special Topics course multiple times provided that the topic is different each time. Departments and programs should avoid offering the same topic more than once. If a particular topic is offered twice with considerable student demand, the department or program should consider offering it as a regular course in its curriculum, and requesting it as a permanent course.

Because the particular topic will be different each time the course is taught, departments and programs should apply for the appropriate curricular codes using the Special Topics form on the Online Course Request website each time the course is offered. The topic title and course description are also provided on this form. Note that the curriculum codes for cross-listed Special Topics courses, including the existing hard-codes, must match in order to avoid inconsistencies in the Schedule of Courses. Please note that even if a particular topic has been offered in a previous semester, the curriculum codes will not carry over on DukeHub unless the Special Topic Request form has been submitted for the current semester.

First Year Seminar Courses

The First Year Seminar Program enable new students to work closely with a distinguished member of the Duke faculty and a small group of their classmates to explore a special topic of interest. Faculty interested in teaching a first-year seminar should review the Guidelines for Teaching First-Year Seminars. First year seminars are functionally treated as Special Topics courses, in that departments must re-submit Special Topics forms for each applicable semester in the Course Request system to request curricular codes each time a particular First Year Seminar topic is offered. 

W (Writing) Code for a Research Independent Study Course

One Research Independent Study (1.0 course credit coded R) may be submitted for approval for the Writing in the Disciplines designation if the student and research independent study advisor petition for such a designation before the end of the drop/add period in the semester in which the course is taken. Research Independent Study courses cannot carry curriculum codes other than R and W.

Criteria for General Education Curriculum Code Assignment

Specific criteria for ways in which courses may be coded to satisfy general education requirements are as follows:

Areas of Knowledge

Arts, Literature, and Performance (ALP): The course focuses on analysis and interpretation of the creative products of the human intellect, and/or engages students in creative performance requiring intellectual understanding and interpretive skills. Among the courses coded ALP are many (but not all) courses in the arts (music, drama, dance, art and art history), in the various literatures of the world (whether taught in English or in a foreign language), and in literary theory

Civilizations (CZ): The course focuses on the analysis and evaluation of ideas and events that shape civilizations past and present. The CZ designation includes many (but not all) courses in art history, history, philosophy, and religion as well as various individual courses offered in other departments.

Natural Sciences (NS): The course focuses on the interpretation or application of scientific theories or models of the natural world. Among the courses designated NS are many (but not all) courses in the biological, physical, and environmental sciences and some courses in other disciplines such as psychology.

Quantitative Studies (QS): The course either provides instruction in a quantitative skill to achieve proficiency in math, statistics, or computer science, or engages in the application of explicitly quantitative methodology to analyze problems. Courses designated QS include courses in mathematics, statistics, computer science as well as various individual courses offered in other departments.

Social Sciences (SS): The course focuses on the causes of human behavior and the origins and functions of the social structures in which we operate. Among the courses designated SS are many (but not all) courses in cultural anthropology, economics, environmental sciences, linguistics, political science, psychology, public policy studies, and sociology as well as various individual courses offered in other departments.

Modes of Inquiry

Cross Cultural Inquiry (CCI): The course investigates culture/ identity/difference as socially constructed, and provides either a significant comparative component, or an in-depth examination of the ideals, assumptions, and/or conflicts of a given culture.

DOWNLOAD: CCI specific criteria and guidelines

Ethical Inquiry (EI): The course must focus on one of the following: 1) ethical arguments and beliefs within cultures or religions, or within philosophical, dramatic, or literary texts or traditions, 2) ethical and political issues/controversies within particular historical, disciplinary, professional, or policy context, 3) combination of coursework and service experiences with reflection and writing on ethical issues.

DOWNLOAD: EI specific criteria and guidelines

Foreign Languages (FL): The course must be taught entirely in the foreign language. Courses that have as prerequisites at least two years of study of the foreign language may also receive the FL designation, provided that one of the following apply: 1) all lectures are in the foreign language, 2) all readings are in the foreign language, or 3) all course work and assignments are in the foreign language.

Science, Technology and Society (STS): The course must focus on one of the following: 1) impact of scientific/technological developments on society, 2) social/economic roots of scientific/technological field, or 3) science and/or technology but interface with society is addressed consistently. Specific criteria and guidelines can be found here.

DOWNLOAD: STS specific criteria and guidelines

Research (R):
The course must be a research intensive experience that satisfies both the following criteria: 1) the student is an active, rather than passive, participant in the discovery, critical evaluation and/or application of knowledge and understanding in the discipline or across disciplines; and 2) the student produces a major document or its equivalent.

             DOWNLOAD: R specific criteria and guidelines

Writing (W):
 The course must fulfill the following criteria: 1) students write frequently throughout the term, and are given regular practice in and comments on their writing, 2) students discuss the work they are doing as writers at various points during the term, 3) students reflect on and improve their work as writers, and 4) students consider the roles and uses of writing in the discipline they are studying.

DOWNLOAD: W specific criteria and guidelines and see Guidelines for WID Courses.

Faculty Policies on Course Coding and Retroactive Coding

The curricular codes that appear on DukeHub for a course on the first day of class in any given semester are final. Those codes and only those codes will apply towards a student’s general education requirements. No additional codes will be awarded concurrently or retroactively to that particular offering of the course. 

                    DOWNLOAD: Policies on Course Coding