Skip to main content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer content

Academic Scheduling

Topics Course Policy

Based on the established practices on many CSU campuses, this Topic Course Policy is set forth to standardize the process of initiating, approving and scheduling Topics Courses on the Fresno State campus.

The Topics Course Policy is a tool to assist departments in following the appropriate steps when proposing topics courses to ensure timely processing of their proposals, while remaining consistent with curriculum approval policies and processes. 

1. Definitions

Topics courses:

  1. are courses departments offer occasionally;
  2. are shown in the catalog with the generic “parent” course approved for each department/program and the “child” courses listed underneath;
  3. appear on students’ transcripts with unique course titles;
  4. have unique course ID numbers;
  5. are typically repeatable with different sub-topics under titles under the same “parent” topic course.

2. Topics Course Guidelines

  1. A "child” topics course can be offered a maximum of 5 semesters, after which the course needs to be either discontinued, or go through the curriculum approval process to be converted to a regular course. NOTE: Once a child topics course has been created, it must be offered with the same title and description for the maximum 5 semesters, or it will not be accepted.
  2. A child topics course can be converted to a regular course earlier than the 5th offering.
  3. A Topics Course Proposal form must be completed and turned into the Scheduling Office for each topics course that is to be offered in a particular semester, even if it has been offered in previous semesters (Topics Course Form).
  4. Each college will determine its own internal review process; Topics Course Proposal forms must include the department chair’s signature and the college dean’s signature prior to submission to the Scheduling Office.
  5. Topics Course proposals approved by a department/college and received in the Scheduling Office two weeks prior to the start of registration for a given term will be scheduled for that term.
  6. Proposals received less than two weeks prior to the start of registration for a given term will be returned to the submitting department for resubmission for the following term.
  7. Topics Courses cannot be used regularly as a required course in a degree, minor or certificate program due to their temporary nature.
  8. Topics Courses may be offered as elective choices or as additional requirements for any program.
  9. Topic Courses are repeatable only if approved by the academic unit; however, students will not receive credit for the same Topics course title.
  10. Topics Course classes scheduled during prime-time hours are subject to being bumped from classrooms to allow the assignment of high-demand or GE classes. The Scheduling Office also reserves the right to remove from the assigned classroom, a Topics Course that does not "make" with enrollment (less than 10 students).

 3. Class Classification/Components

The classification/components of a “child” topic course must be the same as its generic “parent” course.

Grading Basis:
Parent Course = Letter Grade only, then each Child Course = Letter Grade only

Primary Component:
Parent Course = Lecture only, then Child Courses = Lecture only

Parent Course = CS# 02, then Child Courses = CS# 02

Unit Value:
Parent Course = 3 units, then each Child Course = 3 units (if the course is a variable-unit course, i.e., 1-3 units, then the child courses can be set up as 1, 2, or 3 units)

Course Requisites:
A Child Course is permitted to have a prerequisite/co-requisite even if the Parent Course does not require the same, or the prerequisite/co-requisite differs from that of the Parent Course.

EXAMPLE: Generic "Parent" Course and "Child" Course:

Parent Course:

PLSI 188T. Topics in Public Administration - Treatment of current topics and problems in fiscal administration, public personnel administration, and planning.

Units: 1-4, Repeatable up to 9 units

Child Course:

PLSI 188T. American Indian Law Concepts of laws on Indian reservations, termination, litigation and complaints, strengthening tribal governments. Law related to Indian land and resources. This topic may not be repeated for credit. (Offered Spring 2022)

Units: 3