What you need to know

Subject descriptions provide a synopsis of the subject matter and requirements. Careful attention to detail will reduce your workload and ensure that your listings are up-to-date. Use Subject Proposal Management to add or modify subject descriptions.

Some key points to remember:

  • Subject descriptions should convey the intellectual content of the subject without replicating the class syllabus.
  • If a subject characteristic has its own field in Subject Proposal Management, such as cross-list, SWE, repeatable for credit, etc., do not repeat that information in your description.
  • Do not add a URL to your subject description. To include a URL, go to Subject Term Planning and add it to the Subject Listing.

Keep in mind our helpful Dos and Don’ts when creating your subject descriptions.

  • Do use only one tense.
  • Do keep your descriptions as general as possible and use declarative statements.
  • Do be clear about any special requirements or attributes of the subject, such as whether it continues into another term or involves a group project.
  • Do note whether a field trip or travel is mandatory and if it requires an additional fee.
  • Do include the following stock phrase or equivalent statement for CI-M subjects: “Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided.”
  • Do include the following stock phrase or equivalent statement in descriptions of undergraduate and graduate subjects that meet with each other: “Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.”
  • Do add a URL in Subject Term Planning if you wish to refer readers to more detailed information.


  • Don’t repeat the title or its general message in the description.
  • Don’t include content that is term- or year-specific.
  • Don’t include questions.
  • Don’t use language that suggests student outcomes. For example, write “Instruction provided in” rather than “Students learn.”
  • Don’t include attributes that appear in other parts of the subject listing, such as prerequisites, level, units, grading mode, GIR attributes, enrollment limitations, or equivalents.
  • Don’t use jargon unless the subject is designed for a narrow audience within a specific field. In this case, be prepared to provide a rationale to the review committee.