l: To approve the establishment of a variable credit, special topics course number for each department and reserve
the designation 599 for such offerings. This shall provide the department with the flexibility and ongoing authority to offer a
special topics course subject pending approval by the department and School/College Dean's Office and upon receipt of proper
documentation submitted electronically to the School of Graduate and Professional Studies.
At times it might be desirable for a department to offer a graduate course to meet a special non-recurring
need to take advantage of unusual present circumstances of resources. For example, a regional employer might
need a high level scientific or business course for specific technical/management employees. Or a person with a
national reputation in a field might be in the area for a brief period of time. Or some environmental or social
problems might be addressed more effectively after graduate level study in the area.
If Special Topics courses were on the master file, departments would be able to respond to these and
similar situations. A source of flexibility would be built into the curriculum.
The present ad hoc approval system might appear to meet this need and in a sense it does; but it is
cumbersome and requires a new course number each time. Also, there is no system to ad hoc numbering. Any
available number is used. It is not possible to identify which courses were offered ad hoc without going back to
Initiation of Special Topics courses also establishes the fact that one time credit course offerings for a
special purpose or special target group are a recognized part of the mission of graduate programs. This, perhaps,
is the most important reason for adopting an ongoing Special Topics system.
2. Special Topics Title
All Special Topics Courses will begin with the preface Special Topics. Following the preface would be a
clearly identifiable subject content area. For example, the New Haven School System might have approached the
College of Education through the Education Department about classroom discipline. If the Department and the
School decided that need would be met best by a graduate level course they might set up: EDU 599 Special
It would not be necessary for a department to have a graduate program to offer a Special Topics course.
Any department listed in the Graduate Catalog might offer a special topics course with department and school
approval. For example, the National Guard might ask the Computer Science Department for a graduate level
course on Fifth Generation Computer Systems. If the department had the capability and deemed it a worthy
graduate offering, it might set up CSC 599 Special Topics/Fifth Generation Computer Systems.
3. Special Topics Variable Credit
It is proposed that the Special Topics designation carry variable credit. A Special Topics course may be
offered for one to six credits. However, each special topics offering must be offered for a set, designated amount
of credit. That is, everyone who enrolls for the course must enroll for the same amount of credit.
The amount of credit will be related to the amount of instructional time. This means for each non-
laboratory course there must be at least 12.5 hours of instruction for each unit of student credit. (Naturally the
course will be structured so students must devote several hours out of class for each hour in class).
SCHOOL OF GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
SPECIAL TOPICS COURSE PROPOSAL