**Note: This web page is under construction. Format will be updated during fall 2017.**

Course Toolbox for Staff and Faculty

Updated July 2017.

Contact Sumali Tuchrello at sumali@berkeley.edu to provide feedback on the Toolbox.

To locate a topic, try using the Find feature by pressing command-F on a Mac or control-F on a PC.

Note: Course approval forms (CAFs) have been discontinued as of March 2013. All course proposals are now submitted via the Course Management System

Overview of the course review process

•    Course Contact: enters course information into the online Course Management System (CMS). Once the Course Contact submits a proposal in CMS, it is routed to the Department Chair.

•    Department Chair: reviews and approves course proposals. The Department Chair role may be assigned to another faculty person (e.g., curriculum committee chair or other proxy), depending on the department’s procedures. Some units require an additional school or college review role. See Assignment of User roles for more information. The proposal is automatically routed to these reviewers and once it is approved by the final reviewer, the proposal is automatically submitted to the Academic Senate.

•    Academic Senate Staff: conduct a preliminary review of proposals and syllabi for completeness, and may contact department Course Contacts if more information is needed.

•    COCI subcommittees (Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences): meet to review course proposals. If more information is needed, Senate Staff will request it from department course contacts.

•    COCI: evaluates recommendations of subcommittees and  approves courses.

•    Academic Senate Staff: Approves new courses and changes in CMS, which notifies department course contacts.

The diagram below demonstrates the pathway a course follows:

CMS workflow picture

For more information on user specific roles, please see the "Assignment of User Roles" sections below.

Timing and deadlines

•    Course proposals must be submitted in the Course Management System (CMS) at least one full weekbefore a COCI meeting in order for it to be reviewed at the next meeting. Incomplete proposals or unforeseen delays may delay the review process.

•    During the weekdays before the Friday COCI meetings, subcommittees meet in person to review courses (and variance requests). These meetings are set each semester according to the schedules of the individual members. If requested follow-up information is sent to Senate Staff after the subcommittees have met, it may be too late for the course to be approved at the next COCI meeting, but the subcommittee will review the information in time for the following meeting.

•    COCI meets on Fridays and votes on final approvals, based on recommendations of the subcommittees. Senate Staff will make course approvals in CMS Friday afternoon or early the following week. After approvals are made, Course Contacts are notified via email. New courses and course modifications are automatically sent to the Campus Solutions (CS) system from CMS. Courses become available for scheduling in CS within three business days. 

•    The  Berkeley Academic Guide is updated daily. Therefore, approved new courses and changes to existing courses will appear in the online Guide only after the course or change has been approved by COCI.

•    New courses and changes to existing courses must be approved before the beginning of instruction in the semester in which the course is to be taught. Exceptions may be requested but will only be approved with special justification.

•    Deadlines for Classroom Scheduling and Summer Sessions are enforced by those offices.

Levels of COCI Review

These requests generally require full review by COCI, and will be approved according to the COCI meeting schedule:

  • New course
  • Change in:
    • Unit value
    • Instructional format
    • Grading type
    • Courses that will restrict credit
    • Prerequisites
    • Repeatability
    • Final exam type
    • Final exam group (this is a variance and is not submitted through CMS)
    • Title and/or description, if substantial
  • Addition of equivalent summer term of 3 weeks or other non-standard length

These requests may be reviewed and approved by Senate staff, and therefore may be able to be approved more quickly (Disclaimer: each proposal will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; requests that are not straightforward, even if they fall into one of these categories, may be referred to COCI for review):

  • Change in course number
  • Cross-listing changes
  • Minor changes to course title and/or description
  • Change in term offered
  • Addition of equivalent standard summer term of 6, 8, or 10 weeks
  • Correction of errors
  • Withdrawal of a course

These requests may be made by department course contacts without any Senate review:

  • Instructor name (except in the case of American Cultures courses)
  • TIE code
  • Publish status (pruning)
  • Course objectives
  • Student learning outcomes


Log in to the Course Management System (CMS) to see the status of your course in one of the following ways:

  1. Proposal List: View the status of the course (draft, department review, Senate review, approved, or denied), who it is assigned to, and expected COCI review date (if available) . Any flags will also be displayed.
  2.  At the top of the proposal summary page, a workflow bar graphically depicts the progress of the course.
  3. At the bottom of the proposal summary page, detailed information is recorded in the List of Actions: date and time of proposal creation and submission, approval by department reviewer, and comments added by Senate Staff and Course Contacts are all recorded. 


The Course Management System (CMS) will send automatic notifications by email for the following actions:

  • To the Department Chair, when a proposal is submitted by the Course Contact for review.
  • If applicable, to the Faculty Committee, when a proposal is approved by the Department Chair.
  • If applicable, to the School/College Dean, when a proposal is approved by the Faculty Committee.
  • To the Course Contact, when a comment is added by Senate Staff.
  • To Senate Staff, when a comment is added by the Course Contact.
  • To the Course Contact, when a course proposal is routed to COCI for review.
  • To the Course Contact, when a flag is added by Senate Staff.
  • To the Course Contact, when a flag is removed by Senate Staff.
  • To the Course Contact, when a course is approved by COCI.
  • To the Course Contact, when a course is denied by COCI.

All Course Contacts from participating departments will receive an automatic notification when a cross-listed course proposal has been initiated that includes their department. Only the Course Contact for the administrating department is notified when actions are taken on the course.

Assignment of User Roles

The following roles were created to facilitate the course approval process:

  • Course Contactusually a Student Affairs Officer (SAO) or class scheduler assigned as the point person to submit proposals on behalf of the department and who acts as the main liaison between the department and the Senate Staff. The Course Contact may create, edit, and submit a course proposal for COCI review.  

  • Department Reviewerusually the Department Chair or a designate responsible for approving the course proposal on behalf of the department. The department reviewer must approve the proposal before it can move forward in the workflow and be considered by COCI.

  • School Reviewer (Faculty Committee): usually a Dean or an administrative designate responsible for approving the course proposal on behalf of the school or college. This role is optional and only utilized by some schools and colleges.

  • Final School Reviewer (School/College Dean)Usually a Dean with final authority to approve the course proposal for the school. This role is optional and only utilized by some schools and colleges.

To check the course proposal pathway for your department click the round, two-person icon located in the top right of your CMS screen to see a pop-up window. This window will show the user role and name of each individual assigned to a role in your unit's approval process.

Rules for Roles

  • Every academic department must have at least one individual assigned to the role of Course Contact and at least one Department Reviewer.
  • Each individual assigned to a role logs in to the Course Management System with his or her CalNet ID (CAS ID).
  • Individual schools and colleges may decide whether they require school-level review and final school review as part of their approval workflow.
  • More than one person may be assigned to any role.
  • More than one role may be assigned to any person.
  • It is recommend that each department have at least one back-up Course Contact.
  • The department must notify Senate Staff by email when personnel changes affect course review. When notifying Senate Staff, please provide the user's full name, email address, UID number (found in the campus directory), and identify what role they will have for the department. Please also indicate whether the new user will replace someone or be an additional contact. Senate Staff will then update the electronic approval workflow in the Course Management System and provide written confirmation that the change has been made.

The system does not support the distinction between Course Contacts who manage graduate vs. those who manage undergraduate courses. Departments that divide the responsibilities by level may assign both staff members to Course Contact role. Both will receive notifications for all courses using the department’s code, regardless of level, but need not respond to communications for courses they do not manage. 

COCI meeting schedule – COCI usually meets every other week during the academic year. The meeting dates are posted on the website. Whether courses are reviewed during the summer depends on the schedules of the COCI members. Academic Senate staff will announce any summer review dates by email.

Introductory/Training Materials

  • YouTube videos – These short videos show some CMS features in a fun format.

  • Instructions for department reviewers (Word) – This handout can be used for training department chairs to review and approve course proposals.

  • COCI workshop – Academic Senate staff hold annual workshops for department staff to learn about the course approval process and what COCI does. The 2017 Workshop was held on August 11. Handouts from the Workshop are available to download as PDFs here: Slides Part A Slides Part B | CMS Basics | Contacts List

Reference Materials

  • Style Guide  – Departments are responsible for submitting proposals that are grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. Course Contacts and Department Chairs should proofread the entire course proposal before submitting. Staff from the Registrar’s Office and the Senate will not be copy-editing proposals. For consistency across campus, proposers should follow conventions in the CMS Style Guide.

  • Template for New Course Review (Word) – This form, provided by the Political Science Department, is used by the Course Contact to collect information from faculty proposing new courses. The form can be revised as needed for any department.

  • Components of a Course Syllabus (PDF) – A checklist of components of a comprehensive course syllabus can be found at the website of the Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • Workload worksheet (Word) – This worksheet can be used to help an instructor plan the workload for a course.

  • Work hours chart (PDF) – This chart shows the estimated total number of required hours of student work per week, according to unit value and term length. Work hours are reviewed for any new course, change in unit value, or change in instructional format. The workload should be reflected in the syllabus.

  • Contact hours conversion chart for summer courses (PDF) – Use this chart to determine the class contact time when you are creating an equivalent summer version of a fall or spring course. Equivalent summer versions must have total contact hours (over the course of the whole term) equal to or slightly greater than the contact hours during the fall or spring terms. 

  • Petition for final exam group change  (PDF) – This petition is used to request a change to the exam group. Note that to maintain fairness and consistency across campus, COCI will only approve requests for exam group changes under exceptional circumstances. New procedures require the instructor to explain the reason for the request. See more on final exams below.

Course Proposals

  • What to fill out - The Course Management System (CMS) will guide users to fill out all information required for new courses. The required information will vary based on the course level (undergraduate or graduate), instructional format (classroom or online), and whether it meets any requirements.

  • Syllabus - For every new course, or for any request to substantially change an existing course, a syllabus is required. COCI expects certain components to be included in every syllabus:

    • The requirements for the course (what students will be expected to do to pass), and the relative weight of each requirement toward the final grade (usually expressed as percentages).

    • Requirements for undergraduate courses must include a comprehensive final examination, unless an alternative method of final assessment has been noted in the proposal and explained in the syllabus.

    • A chronological schedule of topics, usually in a week-by-week format. Note, if the course proposal includes a request includes a request for non-standard term lengths (e.g., a three-week term) please include in the syllabus an explanation of how the schedule will be adjusted to accommodate such a schedule.

    • A list of required readings, provided in citation format.

      An example of a fully developed syllabus can be found at the website of the Center for Teaching & Learning.

Special Types of Courses

  • American Cultures courses – Courses that meet the Breadth Requirement in American Cultures, which is a campus-wide graduation requirement, as defined by Berkeley Division Regulation 300, must be approved by the American Cultures Subcommittee (AMCULT) and COCI. Proposals for AC courses are submitted in CMS. On the Requirements page, select the AC Requirement checkbox. On the Finishing Up page, be sure to attach a course syllabus and a cover letter from the instructor describing how the course meets the AC Requirement. The proposal will first be reviewed by AmCult and then forwarded to COCI for final approval. Instructor changes do not need to be submitted via CMS, but do need to be reviewed by the American Cultures Subcommittee. For more information on the American Cultures Course Approval process please see: Creating & Submitting a New AC Course

    Note: Across the campus the AC designation is used as a suffix on course numbers to demonstrate that the course meets the breadth requirement (e.g.: Course 123AC). For new courses, use of the AC suffix supersedes the use of any other prefix or suffic. Only courses approved prior to 1996 are exempt from this requirement.

    American Cultures instructors are strongly encouraged to contact the American Cultures Center Director, Victoria Robinson, for assistance in AC course development. See the American Cultures Center website for more information.  

  • American History / American Institutions Courses — Across the UC system, all candidates for a bachelor’s degree must demonstrate knowledge of American history and the principles of American institutions as outlined in Senate Regulation 638. Frequently referred to as the AH/AI requirement, on the Berkeley campus COCI has determined that the following guidelines will be used in reviewing and considering such courses for approval:

    1. A course meeting the American History requirement focuses on a substantial portion of U.S. history, preferably including multiple centuries of history. The course should examine U.S. history in its wider international context and when examining particular groups do so in the context of the larger society of which they are a part. 

    2. A course meeting the American Institutions requirement substantially focuses on U.S. federal government or U.S. politics. Courses focused on the U.S. federal government should address governance in relation to both state and local level governance in a comparative framework. Courses that focus on U.S. politics should address both major and minor party politics.

    3. Courses that meet both requirements should demonstrate equitable focus to each topic area across the span of the course curriculum.

    4. Courses that meet either requirement must be offered for a minimum of three units.

    When developing syllabi for such courses instructors should keep the above guidelines in mind and use them in demonstrating how a course meets the requirement. Courses may be approved for both AH/AI or just one type (AI or AH). When submitting proposals in CMS in the Justification section include a note that requests the course be considered for AH/AI, only AH, or only AI. Once approved Senate staff will add the requirement label to the course.

  • Breadth Requirement courses — Breadth requirements are not a factor in the COCI review process. Additionally, the College of Letters and Science will no longer automatically review new courses to determine whether they fulfill a breadth requirement. Please contact Susan Cass, Coordinator of Educational Policy in L&S for information. A course must be approved by the Academic Senate before it will be considered by L&S to meet breadth requirements. 
  • Cross-listed courses – A cross-listed course is offered jointly by two or more departments. All course information is identical for each department. Each set of cross-listed courses must specify an administrating department. The addition of a C prefix is requisite in order to identify a cross-listed course as a different course from a non cross-listed course with the same number. It is possible to keep active both a cross-listed version and a non-cross-listed version of a course. The only exception in the prefix requirement is in the case of cross-listed courses that have also been approved to meet the AC breadth requirement. In this case COCI has determined that the AC designation is vital information that may impact student academic planning decisions. In the event that character limitations prevent both the C and AC designations from being used, the AC designation has priority. In the case of cross-listing between lower and upper-division courses and undergraduate and graduate courses, they may share lectures, laboratories, or other common content but must have clearly differentiated and unique performance criteria, requirements, and goals (see Senate Regulation 762). Room sharing may be allowed in some circumstances (see below). 
  • Internship courses – COCI and the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP) have approved guidelines for coursework with internship components
  • One-time only courses (special purpose) – For a one-time only course, created for a special purpose or taught by a visiting instructor, submit a course proposal via CMS, and indicate that it is a one-time only course when entering the effective start term. The start term and end term will be the same. The course will automatically be withdrawn after the semester in which it is taught.  
  • Online courses – Online courses should be assigned the instructional format WBL (web-based lecture) and/or WBD (web-based discussion). If these formats do not exactly describe the format of the course, choose the one that is closest. For online courses, answers to supplementary questions must be submitted along with the course proposal and syllabus. Online courses normally carry a W prefix.
  • Reading and Composition (R&C) courses— Courses that meet the R&C requirement are reviewed and approved by the Executive Committee of the College of Letters and Science. If you intend for your proposed course to satisfy the R&C requirement, you must receive approval from L&S before submitting your course to COCI. Please see the Reading and Composition Curricular Goals and Guidelines. Contact Susan Cass, Coordinator of Educational Policy in L&S for more information.
  • Room shared courses – COCI prefers that room shares be formalized as cross-listed courses whenever possible. If not possible, room sharing should only occur between courses that are equal in unit value, grading option, and instructional format. In room shares between lower and upper division undergraduate courses, and undergraduate and graduate courses, the standards and requirements for each course must be clearly articulated in the syllabus. 
  • Special studies courses
    • field study 97/197 – Field studies courses must receive approval by the department chair. Proposals are not sent to the Academic Senate.

    • group study 98/198 - Regulations allow directed group study courses to be facilitated by faculty or students. Proposals for these courses must be approved by the department chair (or designate), and in the case of student-facilitated courses, by the instructor of record. A copy of the proposal must be submitted to the Committee on Courses of Instruction. Note that these course proposals must still be submitted on paper forms, and not online in CMS.

      • Student-facilitated (98/198 and DeCal) course proposals should be submitted to COCI on the Special Studies Course Proposal Form available on the Special Studies website. The deadline for submission is one month before the end of instruction in the preceding semester (or summer), though department deadlines are usually earlier. Additional reference materials about student-facilitated courses are available on the Student Facilitated Course Information page. Also see the COCI Handbook for additional information.

    • independent study 99/199 – Independent study courses must be approved by the supervising instructor and the department chair. The consent of the student’s major advisor is also required for 199 courses. Proposals are not sent to the Academic Senate.
  • Special topics courses – The generic description of a special topics course applies to all offerings of the course. Each time a different topic is offered, the department publicizes the topic. The topics do not appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide or on the students’ transcripts. Often, these courses are repeatable, as long as the topic is different.
  • Split-group/sequence courses (e.g., 101A-101B) – As of 2013, split-group or sequence courses will be converted to stand-alone courses when any changes are made to one of the courses. The information from both courses will be combined and each course will be listed separately. Use of sequential suffixes and the course description can be used to indicate that the courses are intended to be taken in sequence.
 This does not apply to In Progress (IP) graded courses.
  • Summer courses (summer only or N) – To create or modify course only offered in the summer term use the regular course proposal process via CMS. The N prefix is only used for summer courses that are different from the fall or spring term offering in some way. There might be a different number of units (usually fewer units for a shorter summer term) or a different instructional format (such as an online version offered only in the summer or without discussion sections in the summer). The N version is considered a different course from the non-prefixed N version. See below for instructions on how to add a summer term to an already approved fall/spring course.
  • Umbrella courses – As of 2013, umbrella courses will be converted to stand-alone courses when any changes are made to one of the courses. The information from the header record and the courses underneath will be combined and each course will be listed separately. The courses will still appear together in the catalog since they are listed in alphanumerical order. These courses may now be cross-listed. 

Course Actions and Modifications

To create a new course

1. Create a proposal in the online Course Management System (CMS) by clicking on Propose a Course in the top left corner of the page. Select from the available options:

  • Start from scratch
  • Copy an active course
  • Copy a withdrawn course

2. Fill in or select course information on each screen, clicking the Save and Continue button at the bottom of each page. Attach a syllabus on the Finishing Up page.

3. In the Justification section, for new courses explain why the new course is being created. For course modifications, explain why the course is being modified. In the case of similar course modifications for multiple courses, consider attaching a cover letter from the department that explains the rational for the change (e.g., change in major requirements, comprehensive curriculum updates, etc).

4. Submit the proposal for departmental authorization by pressing the Submit button at the bottom of the Course Summary page. Until the Submit button is clicked the course proposal will remain a draft with the Course Contact. Once the proposal is approved by the department reviewer the proposal will be autormativally forwarded to the next step in the review process - usually to the Academic Senate Staff for COCI review. In the case of cross-listed courses or for departments that have additional review layers the proposal will proceed for supplemental review and approval prior to reaching the Academic Senate.

Note: See additional guidelines for each field below.

To modify a course

See additional guidelines for specific types of changes listed in the section below.

1. Locate the course by typing in the department and course number in the Search Approved Courses section at the top of the page in CMS.

2. Open the course by clicking on it in the list.

3. Choose Modify from the Actions menu on the left side of the page.

4. Click the Change button next to the first section that you want to make changes in.

5. Make the appropriate changes to the course information and click Save at the bottom of the page

6. Click the Change button for any additional sections and make appropriate changes.

7. Be sure to enter a Justification on the Finishing Up screen. Provide any information that makes it clear to COCI reviewers the reasons for the request. If requested changes are substantial, attach a new syllabus on the Finishing Up page.

8. Submit the proposal online to the Department Chair for approval by pressing the Submit button at the bottom of the Course Summary page. Once approved by the department reviewer, the proposal will be automatically forwarded to the next step in the review process—usually to Academic Senate Staff for COCI review.

Proposal Sections in CMS

  • Course Search (top left side of the page) - Enter a department, course number, or keyword into the search bar at the top of the page. Click the Search Approved Courses button to bring up a list of courses. Click on the course in the list to open the course.

  • List of all courses (Course Search - top left side of the page) - Enter a department code into the Course Search bar at the top of the page. Click the Search Approved Courses button to bring up a list of all courses in that department.

  • Sort by facets (top center left in gold bar) - Sort courses by filtering by status (active, withdrawn, or pruned), level, units, requirements, etc., by selecting facets in the list on the left side. Selected facets can be removed by clicking on the red X at the top of the facets list.

  • Show compact or detailed list - View a compact list or more details for each course by toggling between List and Detail at the top left of the proposal list. The detailed list shows the latest comment (if any).

  • Show users in your department (top right) - The round button depicting two people will show all the users in your department and list their user role. Additionally other users who have view only access to courses will be listed. 

  • List of Proposals (upper top left button) - Your proposal list shows course number, flags, who the proposal is assigned to, the status of the proposal, and the expected COCI review date. The list can be sorted by selecting an option from the Sort by menu.

    Note: Users can view a list of all recent proposals and a list of all approved courses. Use the View Proposals and Search Approved Courses buttons to toggle between the lists.

Proposals Page

Every course proposal, whether a new course or a course modification, has eight sections that must be completed: General Course Info; Academic Content; Credit; Requirements; Formats; Prerequisites; Restrictions; and Finishing Up. While some sections are optional, the majority are required. When submitting new courses make sure that the information in the course syllabus is aligned with information provided in the proposal. Discrepancies will result in the proposal being returned to the department for explanation. 

General Course Info Page

  • Course Level - Courses numbered 1-199 are undergraduate level. Courses numbered 200+ are graduate level. For details on the course numbering system see the Course Number Guide on the Berkeley Academic Guide.

  • Department - You will be able to enter department/subject codes for which you have been authorized. The full department name and the department code will appear, and you only need select the department.

  • Course number – Enter the course number here. No more than five characters can be used to distinguish courses, including the use of prefixes and suffixes. CMS will verify that the course number you want to use is available (validation of the course number does not take place until the effective start term is selected). If you are changing a course number, the old (currently used) course number will be withdrawn automatically. In the Justification section, be sure to explain why the course number is changing.

  • Course numer prefixes and suffixes - COCI has assigned the use of the following prefixes and suffixes for campus-wide designation:
    • ​​C prefix designates a cross-listed course.
    • H prefix designates honors courses.
    • N prefix designates a Summer Session course that is not equivalent to a regular session course with the same number.
    • R prefix designates courses that meet the Reading and Composition Requirement.
    • W prefix designates courses that are offered online.
    • AC suffix designates that course meets the American Cultures. Please see the section above for American Cultures courses.

  • Reusing a course number - Note that numbers may not be reused for a certain period of time. The time limitation is three years for undergraduate courses and five years for graduate courses. This is to avoid confusion and to avoid the need for variances if students who have taken the "old" course want to take the new course.  CMS will check the selected course number against the desired effective state term to determine whether a number can be reused. If the course number is already active, you will receive the following error message in CMS: 

    "You cannot use this course number because it is attached to another course that is still active or has been recently taught. Course numbers can be reused if the course has not been taught for three years for an undergraduate course or five years for a graduate course. To reuse this course number, please submit a request to withdraw the current active course. Once this is approved, you may submit a request to create a new course with the withdrawn number."


  • Create a new cross-listed course - The Course Contact in the administrating department should initiate the proposal. Changes to cross-listed courses must be reviewed and approved by the chair (or appropriate designate) of each participating department in CMS prior to being submitted to COCI. Proposals will automatically be routed to each Department Chair in CMS. The routing is based on the order in which departments are listed on the course proposal. Only the Course Contact in the administrating department will receive messages relating to flags or comments from Senate Staff. Course Contacts for all participating departments will be notified when the course is approved.

  • To convert a course to be cross-listed - To convert a stand alone course to a cross-listed course begin a modification on the approved course. In the Gernal Course Info section be sure to update the course number to include the C prefix and all additional departments that will be part of the cross-listing. The department that originally had the course approved will now become the administrating department moving forward. Make any additional course modifications that reflect the new cross-listed course and submit the course as normal. The course will first be authorized by the administrating department's chair (or designate) and then move to the next listed department. The proposal will move to any other cross-listed departments prior to reaching the Academic Senate. Each department involved in the cross-listing must approve of the proposal prior to review by COCI.

    The course numbers do not have to be the same for all the departments. If there is a non-cross listed version of the course that will still be active, make sure to include on the Restrictions page in the Restrictions Description section an explanation of the restriction. The system will verify whether you with to withdraw the non-cross-listed version of the course or keep it. If the only version of this course that will be offered in the future is the cross-listed one, you should choose to withdraw the non-cross-listed version. In the Justification section, explain the reason for the request. If the only change that is being made is to convert to cross-listing, mention that.

  • Title - Write out the full course title. See the Style Guide for rules for course titles. If the title changes significantly, the transcript title will probably also need to change.

  • Transcript title - CMS will automatically populate the transcript title field with the first 19 characters of the full course title. This can be edited. See the Style Guide for suggestions for devising a transcript titles. Please be mindful that due to the automatic populating feature, occasionally the system will generate an abbreviation that is inappropriate. The transcript title should be edited so that it conveys a clearly understandable abbreviation of the course title.

  • Instructor name – In the General Course Info section, Course Contacts can add or remove instructor names. Except in the case of American Cultures courses, COCI approval is not needed and this can be changed by the Course Contact at any time. See the Style Guide for rules for instructor names. This field can also be left blank or listed as “Staff” to indicate that the instructor has not been set or varies.

  • Effective Start Term – Select the semester and year that is the first term that the course will be offered. If you select the current term, you will be required to provide a rationale. COCI does not normally approve requests after instruction has begun, unless exceptional circumstances apply.

Academic Content Page

  • Course description - The course description should let students know the general content of the course. Do not include data that will be captured in other parts of the proposal (e.g., instructor name, terms offered, credit restrictions, etc). Requirements that go beyond routine reading, writing, and studying assignments should be noted in the course description (e.g., field trips, off-campus research assignments, etc).

    • The campus standard for course descriptions is 500 characters. However, CMS will allow up to 750 characters (including spaces). Courses approved prior to the 2013 launch of CMS that include course descriptions exceeding 750 characters have been migrated to CMS as is. Existing course descriptions exceeding 750 characters have been migrated to CMS as is, but if the department initiates a request to modify such a course, the system will require the description to be shortened to the 750 character limit. When making a change to a course description, if the change is small, a new syllabus is generally not required. If the change in course description implies that the course content will change substantially, a new syllabus should be appended.

    • Please adhere to style conventions when writing course descriptions (see Style Guide).

  • Course Objectives (Optional) – Course objectives do not appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide and are not considered by COCI when reviewing course proposal. They are for use by departments internally.

  • Student Learning Outcomes (Optional) – Student learning outcomes o not appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide and are not considered by COCI when reviewing course proposal. They are for use by departments internally.

Credit Page

  • Unit value - Select the desired number of units from the drop-down menu. Half-units are allowed. If the course has variable units, enter a range of units for the lowest to highest possible unit values. Discrete units means the course can be offered at two different unit values, such as 2 or 4, depending on the requirements. Unit value is based on work hours, which are entered on the Formats page.

    • A change in units is often accompanied by a change in instructional format. Enter any format changes on the Formats page.

  • Grading option – Select the desired grading option. If the grading option is letter grade, the default for enrolling students will be letter grade. However, regulations give students in good academic standing the option to take courses on a P/NP or S/U basis (see Berkeley Division Regulation A204 for additional limitations). If the course must be taken for a letter grade for a degree requirement, you may indicate that in the course description, but you cannot prevent students from opting to take the course P/NP or S/U.

    • If the grading option is P/NP or S/U, students will only be able to take the course P/NP or S/U. They will not be able to opt to receive a letter grade.

    • While rarely used, there are alternative grading options for special types of courses such as freshman/sophomore seminars of multi-term courses. See the COCI Handbook Section 3.3 for more information on grading options. 

  • The matrix below outlines the grading options in CMS and what values in Campus Solutions (CS) they translate to:

    CMS Grading Field

    CS Grading Option

    Letter Grade

    Student Option, Enrolled Passed / Not Passed, or Enrolled Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory

    Passed/Not Passed

    Passed/Not Passed



    Other: Letter Grade Only**


    Other: Instructor will decide

    Student Option, Passed/Not Passed, or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory  

    Other: Part of a two course series: Part 1 of 2

    Multi-Term Course: Not Graded

    Other: Part of a two course series: Part 2 of 2, Offered for Letter Grade

    Student Option, Enrolled Passed / Not Passed, or Enrolled Satisfactory / Unsatisfactory

    Other: Part of a two course series: Part 2 of 2, Offered P/NP or S/U

    Passed/Not Passed or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

**Other: Letter Grade only is only a valid option for ourses that meet the Reading and Composistion Breadth Requirement.

  • Final exam status – Undergraduate courses: In the Credit section, select the appropriate final exam status from the three options: 

    • Written Exam: Select this option if a written final exam is conducted during the scheduled final exam period. This is standard for undergraduate courses. When this option is selected you will need to designate if the course will require a common final exam group. Common final exam groups are used by a very small subset of courses on campus. Typically this is only available for courses that have a special circumstance requiring all sections of the course to host a final exam during the same day and time block. If your course does not need to be part of a common final exam group, select no. If your department has already arranged with the Office of the Registrar’s Classroom Scheduling unit to be part of a common final exam group for this course, select yes. Please contact Classroom Scheduling at scheduling@berkley.edu with questions about common final exam groups.

    • Alternative Final Assessment: Select this option if a project, paper, performance, or other form of assessment is required in lieu of a written exam during final exam week. You will need to provide a rationale to describe the type of alternative final assessment. When indicating that the course will utilize an alternative final exam, please select if this assessment will need to be part of the regularly scheduled final exam group or not from the provided options. This will allow the Classroom Scheduling unit to be able to make resource and allocation decisions during the final exam room assignment window. An example of an alternative method of final assessment that would need to be assigned a final exam group is a final project that will be presented during the final exam period.

    • No final exam. ​If an alternative method of final assessment will be used, describe it briefly in the box below the final exam field (e.g., ten-page term paper, take-home exam, final project and presentation). The final assessment should be described in detail in the syllabus. If there is no final exam, provide a rationale for this choice in the box below the final exam field. See the COCI Handbook's Section 2.1.3 for more information on final examinations.​

  • Final exam status – Graduate courses: A final examination is not required for graduate courses. If a final exam is being offered and a room is required for final exam group assignment select the check box in this section.  By selecting this checkbox, your department is indicating that a room will be required during the final exam week for the course.

Requirements Page

  • If the course will meet the American Cultures Breadth Requirement (a UC Berkeley campus requirement) or the Reading and Composition Requirement (a School or College requirement), indicate it on this page. Note that for approved courses that do not meet any requirements, the Requirements page may not appear in the side menu bar.

  • American Cultures courses must be approved for AC content by the Subcommittee on the Breadth Requirement in American Cultures (AM CULT). Proposals are submitted in CMS and reviewed by AM CULT first, before COCI review. Proposals must include a cover letter in addition to the syllabus. See Procedures for creating and submitting an American Cultures course.

  • Reading and Composition courses must be approved for R&C content. See R&C Courses for more information.

  • Breadth requirements are not captured in CMS. See Breadth Requirement courses for more information.

  • University requirements such as Entry Level Writing, American History, and American Institutions can only be entered by COCI staff. Please note in the Justification section at the end of the course proposal if the course is intended to meet one of these requirements.

Formats Page

On this page you will be able to designate instructional formats, term(s) offered, instructional and work hours, and the TIE code for the course. Any instructional formats listed in the course will be required components of the class offering.

  • Formats - This section allos you to choose what instructional formats the class will be offered in. Here you may add formats, select the primary format, and add, remove, or change terms, durations, and hours. Make changes to each term to be changed, or add additional terms. The four most commonly used formats are displayed. Click the Show More Formats button to see all available format types. After you select the format(s), choose which format is primary (normally the lecture or seminar).

  • Proposed Units - Using information from the Credit page, the system will automatically populate the number of credits. If, as you are entering the next section (Term, Durations, and Hours), the works hours are not compatible with the unit value you may edit the value here without returning to the Credit page.

  • Terms, Duration, and Hours - In section 2, select the term(s) the course will be offered for each duration. For instance, if the course will be offered in fall and spring, select that option under term, and the duration will be 15 weeks. If the course will also be offered in the summer, after completing the first term/duration section, click the button to Add Another Term/Duration combo, and then select Summer and the number of length of the term. See above for more information about summer-only or N courses.

  • Publish terms in Catalog - Under the term and duration, click the checkbox if you want the offered terms to appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide. The terms will be printed after the course description in the course listing; for example: (F, SP). Publishing the term(s) offered is optional. Departments may wish to inform students when they can expect a course to be offered, or they may not want to specify that information, especially if it may change in the near future.

    • Hours - Next, enter the number of hours per week required for each format type and the number of hours per week of outside work required by students. The total work hours will be calculated automatically, and the system will display a message to let you know whether the total work hours are appropriate for the number of units selected. If the course has variable units, enter a range of work hours for the lowest to highest possible unit values.

    • Work hours are based on Senate Regulation 760 and can be determined according to the chart provided here. The number of work hours is an estimate of the time an average student will be expected to perform work for the class, including time spent in class as well as time spent doing work outside of class. The workload should be reflected in the syllabus.

  • Custom Format - Information about the instructional format will be presented in a standard text format in any public listings of the course. A preview of how that text will appear displaed in green immediately below the Terms, Durations, and Hours section. This third section is optional and allows you to describe additional activities required for the course that are not reflected by the instructional formats, or if you want to word something slightly differently. An example would be required field trips or film screenings. Note that if you enter text in this box, it will replace the automatically generated text describing the instructional formats, so you must repeat the instructional format information that would have been generated normally, if you want it to appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide.

  • Faculty Instructional Activity Types (TIE Codes) - The last part of the Formats section is the TIE code. Select the appropriate code from the drop-down list. The TIE code is collected for the Office of Planning and Analysis and is not used by COCI. TIE codes can be changed at any time without COCI review.  

Prerequisites Page

  • Prerequisites - To enter prerequisites, click the Prerequisite Text box. You can list specific courses or general prerequisites. If there are no prerequisites, leave this section blank. Do not write "None" or anything else. Content provided in this section will be included in public listings of the course information.

Restrictions Page

  • Courses that will restrict credit - There are times when the content of a course overlaps with another course offered at UCB to such a degree that students shouldn’t receive full credit for taking both courses. As a result, credit is restricted: partial or no credit is given when students take both courses.

  • Deficient grade removal rules should also be listed in this box. If a student receives a deficient grade (D, F, or NP) in a course, sometimes the deficient grade can be removed by taking a different course . For example, if a student recieves a deficient grade in Course 26, an American Cultures version (26AC) or a summer version (N26) may be approved to remove the deficient grade. 
    • To enter course restrictions, click the Restrictions Description box. List the courses(s) that overlap and include a short statement explaining whether students will receive no credit or partial credit if they take both courses. For example, “students will receive 2 units for Math 100 after taking Math 101.” The Registrar’s Office staff will review any restrictions and deficient grade removal rules to ensure consistent phrasing and correct coding.

  • Repeatability – If a course may be taken more than one time for credit, check the repeatable box and indicate the conditions under which the course can be repeated.  Usually, courses are repeatable only when the topic changes or with consent of instructor.

  • Special Topics Course – If the course will be a special topics course, check this box. There are no special requirements for special topics courses, but this field allows us to collect data about this type of course.

Finishing Up Page

  • Attachments – To attach an electronic file to the proposal, click the Attach button. A syllabus is normally required, and sometimes memos or additional materials are requested. There is no limit to the number of files that can be attached. Supported file types include Word documents, PDFs, and Excel spreadsheets. Enter a name or description of the attachment, especially if the file name is not easily identifiable.

  •  Justification – You must enter a justification for the request before it can be submitted. This field is especially important when requesting changes to an existing course. Try to anticipate COCI’s questions when filling out this section. Why is the unit value increasing? Why is the discussion section being removed? Why is the course being withdrawn? The more information provided, the less delay in moving the course toward approval. For requests that can be approved by Senate Staff, the justification must be very clear in order for the proposal to not be referred to COCI for review. If the justification is longer than 1000 characters, attach a memo instead.

  • Visibility (Pruning) – In this section, indicate whether the course should appear (published) in the Berkeley Academic Guide. Departments will want most of their courses to appear in the Catalog. But if a department knows that a course will not be taught for some time, it should be removed (pruned or unpublished). In order for a pruned course to appear in the Catalog again, it can be un-pruned. To un-prune a course, begin by searching for the course via the search box at the top of the CMS screen. Then select the course and begin a modification proposal. In the "Finishing Up" section be sure to check mark the box labeled "Publish Course in General Catalog". Click "Save and Continue" and ensure that you verify the change. This change can be made by department course contacts without Senate Staff or COCI review. 

Proposal Summary Page

Once all sections of a proposal are completed, the system will direct you to a summary page to review information prior to submitting the proposal for department approval. Options on this page include:

  • Create a Printable PDF – CMS stores everything electronically, but if you want to print out a paper copy of a proposal or an approved course, you can do so by clicking on the PDF button. You can also print a group of proposals by selecting them in the Proposals List and selecting Print Proposals in the Action drop-down menu.

  • Course Summary – This tab shows all of the course information combined into a course listing as it transmitted to the Berkeley Academic Guide. Be mindful that how the information currently displays in CMS does not mirror how it is displayed in the Guide. 

  • History – The History tab allows you to compare previous versions of courses. Select two to view side-by-side, or see at a glance what changed and when. Information from prior to 2012 will be limited.

  • Submit Course – After you have reviewed all the information you’ve entered, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Submit Proposal button. After the Course Contact submits the proposal, it will be routed to the Department Chair for review and approval.

  • Comments – Before you click the Submit Proposal button, you can also write a comment in the comment box. The comment is simply a note to Senate Staff, as opposed to the Justification section.
    • Any time you make changes to a proposal at the request of Senate Staff, you should write a comment to explain what you’ve done, so that Senate Staff will be notified by email and can follow up on the proposal. CMS does not notify Senate Staff automatically when a proposal has been updated unless a comment is written.

  • Activity Log – The Activity Log at the bottom of the page keeps track of all actions taken on the course starting with the Course Contact submitting the proposal, the Department Chair approval, comments between Senate Staff and Course Contact, and COCI approval. 

Other Course Actions

Once a course is approved there are a number of actions you may wish to take, not related to course management in CMS, including the following:

  • Change final exam group – To maintain fairness and consistency across campus, COCI will only approve requests for exam group changes under exceptional circumstances. Instructors are required to explain the reason for the request. These changes are not made in CMS. Submit the Petition for Final Exam Group Change to COCI staff at least two weeks before the beginning of instruction for the affected course. If the petition is received too late to review before instruction begins, COCI may still grant approval; however, the instructor will be required to hold the final exam at the originally scheduled exam group time as well as the new exam group time. COCI will not consider petitions received after the fifth week of instruction. See the Final Examinations section of the COCI Handbook for more details.

  • Correct an error – To correct errors such as typos, send an email to Senate Staff, who can correct the error by making a “fix” in CMS. However, if a change was supposed to have been requested but mistakenly was not, this is not a case where a fix may be applied. In this case a modification proposal must be submitted. If the error must be corrected during the current term, provide justification for the urgency of the request. The use of the fix tool is limited and may not be used to make global changes to a selection of courses (e.g. all courses in a series or similarly grouped courses). Fixes may not be applied to corrections that would significantly impact the quality, objective, scope, or breadth of the course.

  • Withdraw a course – If a course will not be offered again, it should be withdrawn so it will not appear in the Berkeley Academic Guide and so that the number may be used again in the future. Once a course is withdrawn it cannot be scheduled or taught again. To withdraw a course, find the course by searching for it in the Search Approved Courses section at the top of the screen. Once you've opened it, select Withdraw from the menu on the left side. Choose the effective term (i.e., the last term the course can be taught—the term after which the course will be withdrawn) and enter a Justification for the withdrawal. Most withdrawals can be approved by Senate Staff without full COCI review. After the term is frozen in the Online Schedule of Classes, please make a request to the Registrar's Classroom Scheduling unit via scheduling@berkeley.edu to notify the course has been withdrawn.

  • Restore a course that has been withdrawn – To bring back a course that has been withdrawn, create a new course based on the withdrawn course. A new course proposal will be created that copies all the course information from the withdrawn course. Fields may then be edited to reflect any updated course information. A new syllabus is required, and a Justification for restoring the course.

  • Add an equivalent summer version – To add equivalent summer terms of ten, eight, or six weeks to a course that has already been approved for fall and/or spring, create a proposal to modify the existing course, and add terms in the Formats section. The contact hours must be the same or greater than the total number of contact hours over the whole term (see chart for conversion). Also note that the instructional formats for identical summer terms must be the same as the instructional formats for fall/spring terms, e.g., if the course is offered with lecture and discussion in the fall, it must be offered with both lecture and discussion in the summer. If the contact hours are equivalent, this request can be approved by Senate Staff without COCI review. For information on creating non-equivalent summer terms ("N" versions), see the COCI Handbook. Term lengths of fewer than six weeks require COCI review and will be routed to the full committee.

  • Create a new code (new major, new subdepartment, etc.) – Once a new academic unit has been approved by the appropriate body (for majors, the executive committee of the college, the vice provost for the faculty, and the Academic Senate; for minors, the college; for designated emphases, the Graduate Council), COCI must approve the code used to designate the new unit in CMS. The code can be a maximum of seven characters, including spaces. The department chair should write a letter to COCI proposing a code and explaining the need for the new code. This letter should be sent directly to Academic Senate staff by email or at 320 Stephens Hall # 5842. The code must be approved and created in CMS before any courses can be created under the new code. Please note that the Campus Solutions (CS) system cannot accommodate codes that include spaces and special characters (i.e. dash, underscore, slash, etc).

  • See all your courses - To see a list of all the courses in a department, type the department name in the search box at the top of the CMS page. Do not select any course that appears in the list. Just click the Search Approved Courses button after typing the department name. A list of all the active courses will appear. To see courses that are inactive--that is, pruned or withdrawn--click on the red x in the menu to the left, to remove the Active status filter. Then the pruned and withdrawn courses will appear in the list. You can toggle back and forth between the simple list view and a slightly more detailed view by clicking the blue List and Detail buttons at the top of the list.

    Similarly, if you search for a course that you know exists, but get the message "Could not find courses matching ..." click the red x in the menu to the left to remove the Active status filter. Then the course should show up in the list. You'll see that it's been pruned (removed from the Berkeley Academic Guide) or withdrawn (ended). If you want to unprune a pruned course, follow the instructions for Visibility (Pruning).