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Specialized Courses

Special Topics Courses

Departments are encouraged to try out new course material on an experimental basis through the use of a Special Topics course number before formally proposing as a new course with a permanent number. 

The use of special topics numbers (and other general numbers in the 290 or 490 series) for the experimental introduction of new courses is encouraged under two conditions:

  • The content of the course is appropriate to the department or program offering it 
  • The experimental course is proposed as a new course with a permanent number in CIM prior to its being scheduled for a third time. This ensures that the course can stand in student curricula and audits under a permanent number.

Most departments have a designated course number approved for offering an experimental course; normally within the course number range of 290-298 or 490-498. Offering a course as a special topics using an existing special topics course number does not require approval beyond the department or other internal processes for such an offering as established by the College. 

Not all course prefixes have a special topics number established. To establish a special topics course number in your department/college, the proposal must be submitted as a new course via CIM. See UCCC Recommendations/Guidelines for Specialized Coursework about how to fill out Special Topics Courses in CIM Courses.

Special Topics courses should have special topic IDs in order to illustrate on a student’s schedule and transcript the content of the special topics offering. To create a specific title for the special topics offering, contact the University Scheduling Office in Registration and Records to establish the title for use when scheduling the section of the course for an upcoming term. Notes about the content of the special topics (course description, contact information) can be added to the section offering of the course by the departmental scheduling officer in the “notes” section of the schedule.

GEP Special Topics Courses

GEP Special Topics Courses are a special kind of Special Topics experimental offering that will also count towards a GEP category. These offerings are requested through the college and OUCCAS and reviewed by the faculty of CUE prior to being scheduled by OUCCAS for the first time.

See below for a process map!

The above process map shows your route to getting your Special Topics GEP course scheduled. Click here for a readable/printable PDF of the SPTP GEP Review Process Map.

If you are offering it for the first time, you’ll fill out the relevant SPTP GEP form below and the course will run through your departmental/college review as well as CUE review.

If you are offering it for the second or third time and have made substantive changes, you’ll run this through the same departmental/college and CUE review. However, if you are offering the course for the second/third time and have not made substantive changes, you can fill out the Repeat Special Topics GEP form instead and run it through your associate dean/designee prior to OUCCAS scheduling the section.

If no substantive changes have been made to the course after the first approval, the course can run through the Repeat Special Topics GEP Process instead, which includes filling out the Repeat Special Topics GEP Form and review by the Associate Dean or Designee prior to OUCCAS scheduling. 

These courses have a maximum of two offerings prior to the course obtaining a permanent number. These offerings must be approved through either CUE or the Associate Dean/Designee before OUCCAS can schedule the section for student enrollment.

To request a special topic that will also satisfy a GEP category/co-requisite for the first time, fully fill out the relevant “Special Topics GEP Form” from the list below and contact your college liaison to begin the approval process.

Please note: These courses must have at least 25% of seats non-restricted (i.e. available to all students) and all fields of the Special Topics GEP form must be filled out in order to be added to a CUE agenda. (“See attachment” or similar will not be moved forward).

Course Prefix/NumberTitleCredit Hours
GK 295Global Knowledge Special Topics1-3
HES 295Health & Exercise Studies Special Topics1-2
HUM 295Humanities Special Topics3
HUMG 295Humanities & Global Knowledge Special Topics3
HUMU 295Humanities & U.S. Diversity Special Topics3
IPGE 295Interdisciplinary Perspectives Special Topics2-3
IPGK 295Interdisciplinary Perspectives & Global Knowledge2-3
IPUS 295Interdisciplinary Perspectives & U.S. Diversity Special Topics2-3
MSGE 295Mathematical Sciences Special Topics1-4
NSGE 295Natural Sciences Special Topics1-4
NSGK 295Natural Sciences & Global Knowledge Special Topics1-4
SSGE 295Social Sciences Special Topics3
SSGK 295Social Sciences & Global Knowledge Special Topics3
SSUS 295Social Sciences & U.S. Diversity Special Topics3
USD 295US Diversity Special Topics1-3
USDEI 295US Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Special Topics1-3
VPGE 295Visual and Performing Arts Special Topics3
VPGK 295Visual and Performing Arts and Global Knowledge Special Topics3
VPUS 295Visual and Performing Arts & U.S. Diversity Special Topics3

Special Topics Change in Grading Method

The instructor for a special topics offering may request to have the approved grading method changed for the course offering on a per-semester basis. Please note that the grading method must be one of the ones included in the catalog entry for the course (ex: OPT course selecting S/U only). Adding grading methods to a course that is not represented in the catalog also requires initiation of the course action form in CIM for the course prior to approval.

Request to Change the Semester Grading Method form must be completed, be signed by the department head and submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula via email ( for processing and approval by the Dean of University College or their designee. Please contact for further guidance or questions.

Example 1: ABC 295 has a grading method of Graded/SU listed in CIM Courses and the desired grading method is SU. Instructor should fill out the Request to Change form as described above.

Example 2: ABC 295 has a grading method of SU listed in CIM Courses and the desired grading method is Graded. Instructor should initiate the major change in CIM Courses to change the catalog grading method to Graded/SU and once they have initiated workflow, fill out the Request to Change form as described above.

A request to change the grading method must be submitted each semester the course is offered. A course action should be submitted prior to the offering of a special topics for a third time.

Other Specialized Courses

A number of other courses differ in structure and pedagogy from the single-topic, permanent course number. These include 

  • A Permanent Course Topic Shell
    Permanent courses that share student learning outcomes, but use different content to guide students to those outcomes.
  • A Special Problems course (SP)
    Faculty-supervised academic study in the discipline or field involving two or more students focused around a central theme.
  • An Independent Study (IND)
    A course requiring students to participate in individualized, independent, directed, or guided studies under the supervision of an expert or qualified representative of the field or discipline that cannot be otherwise classified as an Internship, Field Experience, Cooperative Education, Practicum, Recital, Performance, or Ensemble.
  • An Undergraduate Research (RSC)
    Faculty-supervised individual or group research related to a specific interest or academic discipline.
  • An Internship (INT)
    A course requiring students to participate in a partnership, professional employment, work experience, or cooperative education with an entity external to the institution, generally under the supervision of an employee of the given external entity. 

See UCCC Recommendations/Guidelines for Specialized Coursework for set-up guidance.