Special Topics Courses and the Core

Procedure to place a Core Attribute on a Special Topics (x94) Course

Special Topics courses (x94) are intended to provide a platform for faculty to teach a class that might address a timely issue (e.g., a current election), or to try out new course ideas before submitting the course for approval and publication in the Undergraduate Catalog under its own course number.

Faculty may want these Special Topics courses to satisfy one or more core attributes, and the Core Curriculum Committee encourages faculty to exercise flexibility and creativity in designing courses that will align with the Core.

Typically, Special Topics course syllabi are approved by department faculty but are not submitted for approval to the UCC in the College, UGSC in SB or UECC in SMSE. However, to satisfy core requirements, these courses must be evaluated by the Core Curriculum Committee (CCC).

How can my Special Topics course be considered for a Core attribute? 

  1. Consult with your department Chair regarding the possibility of teaching a Special Topics course. Your department will need to vote to support the course and core attribute and your Chair will need to know about scheduling, pre-requisites, etc. Start these discussions early and consult with the appropriate Associate or Assistant Dean if you have questions.
  2. Create your syllabus and supporting material including the following:
    1. The learning outcomes for the specific Core area
    2. Examples of course material that addresses these Core learning outcomes
    3. Assignments prompting students to demonstrate their achievement of these Core learning outcomes
  3. Contact the Core Area Representative for the appropriate Core area. A list of CARs can be found here: https://www.sandiego.edu/curriculum/core/. The CAR will provide feedback on the evidence you created in #2.
  4. When the CAR indicates your course is ready for submission to the CCC, download the cover sheet “Application to Place a Core Attribute on a Special Topics Course”.
  5. Fill out the application form, attach your course syllabus and supporting materials, (assignments, etc.) as a single pdf and email it to core@sandiego.edu.

What is the timeline for this approval process?

Special Topics courses approved by the CCC in a given semester will be eligible to carry that core attribute in the following academic term (semester, intersession, or summer session).

The application will be considered at the earliest possible CCC meeting.  Sometimes the CCC requests modifications to course materials.  Extensive revisions may require the CCC to delay approval until after the revisions have been resubmitted.  Thus, you are highly encouraged to submit your application as early as possible to allow time for any needed revisions.  

Other considerations:

  • CARs are busy too, so please give them ample time to work with your submission.
  • Core attributes must be approved prior to the start of the semester when the course is taught.
  • Attributes will only appear in the class schedule after the CCC has approved the course.
  • Submitting courses well in advance of the term in which they will be offered allows for the smoothest experience. We recommend completing this process one full semester before the course is taught.
  • If seeking approval in the semester immediately prior to teaching the Special Topics course, instructors are encouraged to aim for the first or second meeting of that semester. If a course considered at the last CCC meeting of the semester requires revision and resubmission, it will not be reconsidered until the following semester and cannot carry that core attribute in that semester.
  • Besides allowing the most time for any revisions to take place, early submission allows the class schedule to be published with the approved attributes for that course before students register for classes.
  • A Special Topics course can be taught no more than twice with the approved core attribute(s). If a Special Topics course with approved core attributes will be taught a second time, instructors should complete the “Application to Re-teach a Special Topics Course with an Approved Core Attribute” form and email it to core@sandiego.edu at the beginning of the semester preceding the academic term when that course will be taught.
  • Special Topics courses requesting Core attributes for a third iteration of that course will not be granted; in these cases, the course should undergo full curricular approval and be assigned a unique course number for inclusion in the Undergraduate Catalog.
Want to teach a Special Topics course with a Core attribute for the first time? Complete the fillable form below and email it to core@sandiego.edu.

Application to Teach Special Topics Course in the Core (First Time)

Want to re-teach a Special Topics course with a Core attribute? Complete the fillable form below and email it to core@sandiego.edu.

Application to Re-Teach Special Topics in the Core (Second Time)