Tips for the Course Proposal Form 

  • Cross-listing: Cross-listing requires the course to carry the prefix and number from another department or program. Indicate any department or program in which the course is to be cross-listed, and specify the cross-listed department/program and number. Please provide a rationale for cross-listing the course. Courses are very rarely cross-listed.
  • Scheduling: Indicate the frequency with which the department anticipates that the course will be offered, and identify courses intended only for summer or otherwise planned for special scheduling. If a course is to be offered only once, please indicate the term.
  • Prerequisites: If “permission of the instructor” is required for students to enroll, enter this requirement as a prerequisite, and state specifically what academically germane criteria will be used to permit enrollment.
  • Course Number: The course number should reflect the level of students for whom the course has primarily been designed. This does not prevent either more advanced students or qualified lower-level students from enrolling.
  • Grading: It is assumed that the standard grading pattern will be employed in the course proposed: letter grade or Credit/No Credit at the student’s option. If a mandatory Credit/No Credit system will be used, full justification must be provided. In general, only such activities as clinical experience or student teaching, where letter grades are impractical, should employ mandatory Credit/No Credit grading. If In-Progress (IP) is to be used, a full explanation must be provided. IP grading should be used only where completion of the course requirements is designed to extend beyond the end of the semester. It should not be used interchangeably with the Incomplete grade.


About the Cover Letter

Submit a 2-page (approx.) cover letter that explains how the course fulfills the rubric of the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry (SSI) core requirement. Where there is apparent overlap in content with courses in other departments, explain the distinctiveness of and the need for the proposed course.

  • The cover letter needs to address how the course fulfills the rubric of the Core category and/or KNOW requirement. 
  • The Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry core rubric consists of “Learning Objectives” and “Guidelines.” As highlighted below in the excerpt from Section IV of the Curriculum Statement, the Curriculum Committee evaluates and approves Core courses based on their adherence to the Guidelines, not the Learning Objectives. The Curriculum Committee’s review of the proposed course is greatly facilitated if each Guideline from the relevant rubric is systematically addressed in the cover letter.

    From Section IV of the Curriculum Statement:
    Each core rubric consists of two sections, "Guidelines" and "Learning Objectives." Faculty have developed the Guidelines section to achieve the particular Learning Objectives of the core rubric and, more broadly, the educational goals of the University. The Guidelines are intended to be used by faculty to develop core courses and by the Curriculum Committee to review core courses. The Learning Objectives are intended to provide a clear statement to students of what they can expect to learn from any given core area. Although the Learning Objectives will assist the faculty in developing Core courses and in meeting the spirit of the Core area, the Curriculum Committee will evaluate and approve Core courses based on their adherence to the Guidelines, not the Learning Objectives.


About the Syllabus

Submit a syllabus for the course that includes:

  • Clear enumeration of student learning outcomes
  • Statement that the course counts towards the Seminars in Scholarly Inquiry (SSI) core requirement
  • Outline of content and schedule of coursework
  • Student requirements (reading, assignments, written work, projects, etc.), including brief descriptions of major assignments and projects. There should be at least one structured oral presentation in each SSI course—such as a formal speech, participation on a panel or in an organized debate, or some other similar exercise that requires students to prepare and present their arguments orally.
  • Evaluation criteria and grading structure (as appropriate)
  • Bibliography
  • Required course material
  • Statement of policies regarding Academic Integrity (this statement is developed by the course proposer)
  • Required Syllabus Inserts

An incomplete syllabus may delay the course proposal review.  If a syllabus does not contain all of the items listed above, please provide a brief explanation in the cover letter.




Learning Objectives

The First-Year Seminars at Puget Sound introduce students into an academic community and engage them in the process of scholarly inquiry.

In these discussion-based seminars, students develop the intellectual habits necessary to write and speak effectively and with integrity. Students increase their ability to develop effective arguments by learning to frame questions around a focused topic, to assess and support claims, and to present their work to an academic audience both orally and in writing. As part of understanding scholarly conversations, students learn to identify the most appropriate sources of information and to evaluate those sources critically. Over the course of two seminars, students-with increasing independence-contribute to these conversations and produce a substantive scholarly project.

In the first seminar in this sequence, students engage challenging texts and ideas through guided inquiry led by the faculty member. Students begin to develop the academic abilities of reading, writing, and oral argument necessary to enter into academic conversations. Assignments in this seminar largely involve sources prescribed by the instructor, rather than sources students search for and identify themselves. In Seminar II, students build on and continue to develop the academic abilities introduced in Seminar I. The seminar culminates in independent student projects that incorporate sources beyond the instructor-prescribed course materials.

Each seminar is focused around a scholarly topic, set of questions, or theme. These seminars may be taken only to fulfill the SSI core requirement, and may simultaneously fulfill the KNOW graduation requirement.


  1. These seminars teach students how to frame a problem or question, how to develop a thesis, how to defend their thesis effectively, and how to think critically about arguments--their own and those of others.
  2. These seminars address important conventions of written argumentation (including audience, organization, and style), as well as approaching writing as a process.
    • In Seminar I, assignments focus on material largely provided by the instructor.
    • In Seminar II, students produce a substantive scholarly paper or project, appropriate to the skill-level and preparation of first-year students to present arguments orally through discussion and more structured presentation.
  3. Each seminar requires students to present arguments orally through discussion and more structured presentation. 
  4. Concepts and practices of information literacy including issues of academic integrity are integrated into these seminars.
    • In Seminar I, students learn to distinguish between different types of information sources (for example, scholarly vs. popular, primary vs. secondary) and learn to evaluate sources of information for biases, reliability, and appropriateness.
    • In Seminar II, students learn to craft research questions, search for and retrieve information, and seek appropriate assistance in the research process.


The faculty of the University of Puget Sound have designed the core curriculum to give undergraduates an integrated and demanding introduction to the life of the mind and to established methods of intellectual inquiry. The Puget Sound undergraduate's core experience begins with two first-year seminars that guide the student through an in-depth exploration of a focused area of interest and that sharpen the student's skills in constructing persuasive arguments. In the first three years of their Puget Sound college career, students also study five "Approaches to Knowing" - Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Science, and Social Science. These core areas develop the student's understanding of different disciplinary perspectives on society, culture, and the physical world, and explore both the strengths of those disciplinary approaches and their limitations. Connections, an upper-level integrative course, challenges the traditional boundaries of disciplines and examines the benefits and limits of interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.

Further, in accordance with the stated educational goals of the University of Puget Sound, core curriculum requirements have been established: (a) to improve each student's grasp of the intellectual tools necessary for the understanding and communication of ideas; (b) to enable each student to understand herself or himself as a thinking person capable of making ethical and aesthetic choices; (c) to help each student comprehend the diversity of intellectual approaches to understanding human society and the physical world; and (d) to increase each student's awareness of his or her place in those broader contexts. Specific objectives of the core areas are described below.