CEP supports the course proposal, course change, and course cancellation processes in coordination with department and program faculty and administrators, Registrar’s Office, and the Office of Educational Programs. Additionally, CEP participates in the biannual course offering process. Outlined below are guidelines, policies, and materials, faculty and department administrators may need if proposing a new course, changing a course, canceling a course, or completing the biannual course offering process.
Principles for Assessing Harvard Chan Courses
The following principles were developed to use primarily in assessing newly proposed courses. New courses go through the CEP to be approved. Those proposing new courses should be able to answer questions related to these criteria. Department chairs and program steering committees may wish to use these criteria in reviewing how any new course may impact the broader set of offerings.
1. The course aligns with educational priorities
- The course meets an important educational need or priority at the level of the department, the degree program, and/or the School
- There are specific educational outcomes that will be accomplished through this course
A compelling rationale is not person-specific:
- A course should not be offered just because it allows someone to qualify for a faculty appointment
- A course should not be offered just because a faculty member wants to teach it
Designed with knowledge and consideration of existing courses and curriculum
- There is a demonstrable understanding of how the course overlaps with, enhances, and/or complements one or more of the School’s educational program(s)
- There is a demonstrable understanding of how the course impacts all the degree requirements within a department and across the School
- The course instructors and staff have thought through whether the course may meet accreditation requirements and if so how to implement in such a way that the course does meet the relevant competencies
2. The course meets minimal standards for good pedagogy
- The learning objectives and outcomes are apparent to prospective and enrolled students, for example from the course proposal, description, and syllabus
- The assessments planned for the course are aligned with the learning objectives
- The teaching methods for the course are reasonable given the learning objectives
- The qualifications of the instructor(s) and staff are reasonable given the learning objectives
3. The administrative and logistical “costs” of offering the course have been considered and
approved of by department and program chairs
- The scheduling of the course follows School protocols
- The materials/fees required of students are reasonable
- Resource trade-offs have been considered
- There is known student demand or good reason to expect student demand
- Offering this course will not adversely impact the ability to offer existing required courses (e.g., because of teaching assignments)
- Offering this course will not make demands on physical space and classroom use that will adversely impact the ability to offer required courses.
Proposing a New Course
Required Documentation for New Course Proposals:
New course proposals must include the following documentation:
- Download and Complete the New Course Proposal Form
- All new courses must use the CEP General Syllabus Template [updated 6.21.23]
- All travel courses must refer to the CEP Travel Course Syllabus Requirements
- For all required courses, please include any relevant degree/program related competencies in your syllabus
- Letter of endorsement from the department/ program chair or (in case of ID courses, multiple chairs must sign the letter).
- Please include a CV for any first-time instructor.
Required Steps for Submitting New Course Proposals:
- Instructors developing new courses should reach out to the Sejal Vashi, Director of Learning Design and Instructional Support, for a 1:1 consultation. Consultations include guidance around syllabus and course design and teaching strategies.
- All new course proposals should be submitted to the department academic administrator for submission to the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP).
- CEP requests new course proposals one month prior to the intended meeting review date. CEP reserves the right to place new course proposals on the following month’s agenda if not received within this timeframe. For example, if you expect a newly proposed course to be on the agenda for November 6th meeting, then you should submit your materials to the CEP a month earlier. The list of CEP meetings can be viewed here.
- Please follow the Registrar’s course offering dates as a guideline when submitting course proposals to CEP. For example, if your department proposes a Fall course, all materials must be submitted to CEP by May 1.
- Summer Term – by March 1
- Fall Term – by May 1
- Winter/Spring Term – by September 1
The CEP does not review courses in the summer. However, exceptions will be granted to address emergency issues, such as last-minute staffing changes due to an unexpected personal or medical emergency or similar issue.
- All course proposal materials must be emailed to the CEP email box, firstname.lastname@example.org
Course changes at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health are conducted by submitting an electronic Course Update Form through the my.harvard site. Changes are categorized as either a major or minor change. Each category has separate requirements for requesting and processing the change. A major change required the Course Update Form is submitted to CEP before being processed by the Registrar’s Office. For a minor change, the Course Update Form is submitted directly to the Registrar’s Office. Changes can be made until the course change deadline has passed.
Major v. Minor Changes
Major course changes include:
- Changing the primary instructor or adding a new primary instructor
- Reactivating a temporarily canceled course
- Courses may only be reactivated if they have been temporarily cancelled for three or fewer years, and a syllabus should be included with the Course Update Form
- A course which has been cancelled for more than three years may not be reactivated using a Course Update Form, and must be resubmitted as a New Course Proposal
- Any substantial changes
- Different title
- Course description
- Significant changes to content (if the change is extremely significant, departments may be asked to create a new course)
- Change in credit hours
- Changing from one term to two terms with a change in credit hours
- Changing the number of class meetings without a change in credit units
- Change of in-person to online course (mode of delivery)
- Addition of/change to travel requirements (field trip)
- Course category
- Change of enrollment limit (if limit is significantly reduced)
Minor course changes include:
- Changing a co-instructor or adding a new co-instructor
- Slight changes to course title or course description
- Increasing enrollment capacity
- Priority Waves
- Meeting times (Note that after meeting times have been approved by the department, any changes to meeting times require RO review and may not be approved.)
- Class notes
- Instructor consent
- Grading basis
- Changes to enrollment requirements (pre-requisites, restrictions)
- Changes from one session to two sessions, or changing to a new session, with no change in credit hours
- Changes to course component/structure (eg creating or removing labs) (may require CEP approval depending on requested change)
- Changes to class attributes (e.g. available for XREG)
- Setting up combined sections (a.k.a. jointly offered courses)
- Change in room or room requirements
- Adding or removing class sections (may require CEP approval depending on requested change)
If you do not see the type of change you would like to make, please email both CEP and Registrar’s Office for clarification.
Course Cancellation Policy
All temporary, permanent, or inactive course cancellations must be done by submitting an electronic request through the admin my.harvard site. There are currently four course category types, and each category has a description with the accompanying steps to follow for cancellation. All changes will be reviewed by the CEP and the Registrar’s Office for approval.
A course should be cancelled before the following dates:
- For the Summer term: mid-January
- For the Fall/Spring term: mid-April
Please note, these dates align with the Registrar’s Office course offering deadlines. All courses must be moved to “ACTIVE” or have cancellation forms submitted by these dates.
Cancellation Policies by Course Category : Course Categories 1, 2, and 3 require a signed letter from the department chair with accompanying explanation.
For ease of departments and course management administrators, CEP has created a Course Cancellation Chair Letter Template which can be adapted for each department’s needs but captures the minimum information needed.
Please consult CEP’s Course Category Definitions and Policies for Cancellation document for more detailed explanations of each of the school’s four course categories and CEP’s policies for cancellation of each category of course.
Registrar’s Course Offering Dates and Process
The course offering process is run separately for the Summer courses, and for the Fall and Spring courses.
The Registrar’s Office maintains all relevant information for the Course Offering Dates and Process on the Academic Administrator Resources site.
Classroom Hours and Credit Hour Equivalents
The academic year comprises two fifteen/sixteen-week semesters (fall and spring), with each semester composed of two seven/eight-week terms (known as Fall1, Fall2, Spring1, and Spring2). Some courses meet for a full semester, others for a single term. The school also offers courses during intensive Winter and Summer Terms, with Summer composed of June Session, Summer1, Summer2, or Full Summer.
The school defines a credit as the unit of measure for a specific number of hours spent by students in class and in preparing for class. A course is expected to require approximately 2-3 Out-of-Classroom hours for every In-Class hour. A 1.25-credit course would require a minimum of 10.5 In-Class hours, corresponding to an average of 1.5 hours per-week in a seven-week term, plus an estimated 21 – 36 Out-of-Classroom hours.
The table below illustrates the total Class Hour requirements for 1.25, 2.5, and 5-credit courses. These total hours apply to all courses, whether they are offered in a seven/eight-week term, a fifteen/sixteen-week semester, or an intensive Winter or Summer session. Online courses should combine In Classroom and Out of Classroom hours to estimate the total hours a student should dedicate to that course.
|Minimum Total Class Hours|
|1.25||10.5 – 12||21 – 36|
|2.5||21 – 24||42 – 72|
|5||42 – 48||84 – 144|
Course Schedule Time Blocks Table
|Class Period 1||8:00am – 9:30am|
|Class Period 2||9:45am – 11:15am|
|Class Period 3||11:30am – 1:00pm|
|LUNCH||1:00pm – 2:00pm|
|Class Period 4||2:00pm – 3:30 pm|
|Class Period 5||3:45pm – 5:15pm|
|Class Period 6||5:30pm – 7:00pm|