Curriculum Glossary

Collaboration on Curriculum

Being a liberal arts and sciences institution, we support collaboration on curriculum as a general rule. Cross-listing is one possible way to collaborate. Other strategies may be more appropriate for your needs. Please contact the Chair of EPC or the AVP of Academic Programs for assistance.

Cross-listed Courses

A cross-listed course is one course that is offered in two or more departments. The student receives credit in the discipline in which s/he registers for the course; the department whose faculty member is teaching the course receives all the workload credit and FTE/S. Cross-listed courses appear in both the catalog and the Schedule of Classes under the various departments which offer them.

Advantages of Cross-Listing Courses:

  • Cross-listing offers possibilities for creating flexible interdisciplinary programs that can be responsive to changing needs.

  • Cross-listing makes a wider variety of courses available to students within a particular program.

Guidelines for Cross-Listing: Every course must appear in the catalog with a course description under the listing of the department which initiated the course. Any department cross-listing a course needs to show a matching number, title, units, CS number, and a reference to the initiating department's course description. A department or program approved to cross-list a course offered by another department uses its own prefix, but must use the exact title and, if possible, the course number used by the initiating department.

The course appears in the Schedule of Classes under the prefix of each department cross-listing the course and on the student's transcript with the prefix of the department under which the student registers for the course.

Cross-listing additions or changes should be made with MCCCFs. Cross-listing is permissible only at the same level. No cross-listing can be done between lower-division and upper-division courses, or between upper-division and graduate courses.

Graduate Field Work and Clinical Practice

Field work and clinical practice require the following:

  1. The students have a high level of theoretical competence and a mastery of the basic skills necessary to perform professional duties within a minimum of direction.

  2. The selection of experiences provides opportunity for the student to:

    • Bring to bear and apply a high level of theoretical knowledge

    • Exercise judgment of a high order

    • Assume responsibility for determining procedures as well as for implementing them.

    • Report the experience to a supervising instructor in such a way as to point out its significance, to explain the rationale behind his/her major decisions, and to evaluate their adequacy.

Graduate Independent Study

At the graduate level independent study is based upon the assumptions set forth in part in the section above entitled, "The Graduate Course." Furthermore, such independent study:

  1. Has a specific objective related to the student's educational goals and to a graduate program.

  2. Is precisely defined as a result of joint planning by the professor and the student.

  3. Requires periodic and final demonstration of competence in scholarly presentation of the results of the independent study.

Graduate Laboratory Course Work

Laboratory course work conforms to the criteria for graduate courses in general and focuses on data gathering and analysis, with an emphasis on research and investigation rather than on laboratory techniques. Its chief distinguishing characteristic is the use of specialized facilities and relatively independent investigation.


A Lecture-discussion is a criteria for graduate courses and consist of the following:

  1. Is an organized course with regularized content.
  2. Is a combination of lectures and group discussion, based on specialized studies and research.
  3. Involves a consideration of a series of vital problems, reviews trends, examines different points of views, and interprets issues.
  4. Involves problem analysis, research, and high level participation in discussion.
  5. Involves the use of a wide variety of material and resources which provide a range and depth beyond that obtainable through single textbook, although the use of a basic textbook may be appropriate in some lecture-discussion courses.
  6. Provides an opportunity for synthesis and analysis through scholarly writing and through course examinations that go beyond simple recall of fact.

Non-Academic Courses/CEUs

Non-academic courses or workshops that are typically professional development advancement courses that are Continuing Education Unit (CEU) worthy, but not applicable to a degree or part of the standard SSU curriculum.  These courses are developed to meet the special needs of particular groups or communities, and may include international programs. CEUs appear on the student’s transcript; one CEU is equivalent to ten hours of participation and denotes an investment of time and accomplishment comparable to that required in established University courses.

Online vs. Hybrid vs. Web-Facilitated Courses

Online Course: A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. These types of courses typically have  no face-to-face meetings.

Hybrid Course (Blended): A course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. With these types of courses, a substantial proportion of the content is delivered online. These types of courses typically have online discussions and require a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.

Web-Facilitated Course: A course that uses web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. This type of course can use a course management system or web pages to post the syllabus and assignments. This is not considered an online or hybrid format.

Post Bachelor and Graduate Degrees

In 1982, the CSU, after action by the statewide Academic Senate, disseminated definitions of graduate-level instruction for the system. The following are excerpts from EP&R 82-39 (the full document is available in the Office of Graduate Studies). The graduate course requires:

  1. The identification and investigation of theory or principle.
  2. The application of theory to new ideas, problems, and materials.
  3. Extensive use of bibliographic and other resource materials with emphasis on primary sources of data.
  4. Demonstration of competence in the scholarly presentation of the results of independent study.


Seminars are a criteria for graduate courses and consist of the following:

  1. Are organized around a series of related problems significant to the discipline.
  2. May have a focus which varies from semester to semester within the framework of the general objectives.
  3. Limits the lecture, when it does occur, to setting the stage and clarifying issues.
  4. Requires that students assume primary responsibility for an investigation that will contribute to the objectives of the seminar and that they report, interpret, and defend their findings orally as well as in writing.
  5. Within the framework of general goals, may allow student participation in course planning and in course evaluation.
  6. Has class meetings primarily to develop, share, and critically examine independent investigations by members of the group. Time devoted to individual or small-group conferences under the direction of the professor may on occasion replace general class meetings.

Service Learning Courses

Service-learning is a pedagogy that utilizes community service projects within the context of an academic course. Academic service-learning distinguishes itself from internships and other credit-bearing community experiences in several ways.

First, the community experience is a component of an academic course, used as a "text" for student learning. Second, service-learning projects are designed in partnership with community to meet an expressed community need. Third, a structured reflection activity is utilized to help students understand how their community experiences link with the academic and civic learning objectives of the course. Courses at Sonoma State University that seek to bear a service-learning designation should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The service shall be connected to and support the academic learning objectives of the course.
  • The service shall address a need identified or developed in partnership with the greater community.
  • Participation in community service is a core component of the course.
  • Service-learning activities and requirements are described in the course syllabus or independent study contract.
  • Faculty shall provide structured activities for critical reflection linking the service and academic study.
  • Service sites are evaluated and approved by the course instructor. Students shall be appropriately supervised and supported by faculty or staff, in collaboration with site personnel.
  • The opportunity shall be distinct from an internship, field experience, practicum or volunteer activity, unless these experiences meet the above criteria.

In the spirit of service-learning best practice, faculty are strongly encouraged to:

  • Design the service-learning component to address an off-campus community need, except when intentionally addressing sustainability, peer education, campus activism, etc...
  • Evaluate students on their ability to draw connections between the community service and course content, not just on completion of service.
  • Visit service sites to assess their appropriateness to learning outcomes.