Guidelines for Approving Non-LSA Courses for LSA Credit

Basic Criteria

  • Course Content: Is the material presented within a more academic reflective or analytical framework as opposed to a more pre-professional, “how-to-do-something” approach? Is the level of conceptual and analytical demands made on the students comparable to LSA courses at the same level?


  • Required textbooks and reading: Is the amount of required reading and level of complexity comparable to LSA courses at the same level? Total reading assignments in LSA courses vary a lot depending on the subject and level of difficulty. A rough weekly estimation for reading in a 3-credit LSA course would be around 30-45 pages at the 200 level and 60-75 pages at the 300-400 level.


  • Course requirements, assignments and exams: Is the amount and type of written and oral reports, informal writing assignments, quizzes, and exams comparable to LSA courses at the same level? Course requirements could include some combination of reading, writing, and exams. Most LSA faculty assign midterm and final exams with a substantial quiz preceding each. The type of exams varies by subject and discipline. Many faculty find that short-answer questions can provide a better measure of learning than a multiple-choice exam. For each course, LSA expects students to spend about 3 hours per credit outside of the classroom each week.


  • Writing assignments: Writing assignments in LSA courses vary depending on the subject and discipline, as reflected in an online document titled The Writing Component in Courses Proposed to the LSA Curriculum Committee. LSA faculty sometimes find that a single research paper at the end of the term has drawbacks, such as offering no opportunity for revision and putting too much pressure on a single assignment for the final grade. Many find writing is more effective as a learning tool when divided into 3-4 assignments of various types. For example, in addition to a final substantive research paper, they might assign one or two shorter papers during the term that involve peer-editing and revision. A less formal and more "creative" approach to stimulate class discussion could entail weekly 2-page response papers to the assigned reading. A rough estimation for the total amount of writing in LSA courses might be 15 pages (not reflecting rewrites) at the 100-200 level and around 20-25 pages at the 300-400 level.


Approval Process


  • Non-LSA schools and colleges need to send a memo addressed to the LSA Curriculum Committee requesting approval of LSA credit for specific courses to JoAnn Peraino (preferably via email attachment to with the following supporting documents:
    • Summary of topics and syllabus
    • Class requirements including sample assignments and exams
    • Required textbooks and readings
  • After a quick review of the proposal, the committee will try to identify an LSA department that offers courses on the subject and ask if it would be interested in being added as a cross-listing. If agreed upon, the cross-listing will automatically confer LSA credit. If the department declines, they will be asked to provide feedback to the committee as to how the course compares with similar LSA courses at the same level with regard to the above criteria.

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382 © 2016 Regents of the University of Michigan