Course Outlines Policy


To describe the required elements of all course outlines and document how course outlines are implemented.


This policy applies to all Seneca courses.

Key Definitions

Course outline

The documentation of a course’s purpose, learning outcomes, essential employability skills, as well as its sequence of instruction, resources and evaluation criteria. Course outlines contain three elements: Seneca-common section, school-specific section and an addendum.

Seneca-common section

Contains course code; title and description; credit status; learning outcomes; essential employability skills; references to the academic integrity policy; discrimination and harassment policy, and policies and information about academic accommodations. This section contains consistent information, regardless of school or section, for all course offerings.

School-specific section

Contains a course’s prerequisites; topic outline; mode of instruction; prescribed texts; reference material; required supplies; the promotion policy and the modes of evaluation.


Provides section-specific information about a course, such as faculty contact information and the planned schedule of topics and assessments.


1. General

1.1 Course outlines document the curriculum at the course level. They support the learning process by identifying course learning requirements, learning activities and learning resources, as well as the evaluation framework planned to assess student achievement. Course outlines are designed to:

  • guide the student learning experience
  • support the program quality assurance/accreditation process
  • demonstrate compliance with Ministry Program Standards and the Minister’s Binding Policy Directive Framework for Programs of Instruction
  • inform the Faculty Portfolio process
  • facilitate academic pathways, including internal transfers and external articulations

Refer to Appendix A for the elements to be identified within each of the three course outline sections (Seneca-common section, school-specific section and addendum).

1.2 Course outlines are the property of Seneca.

1.3 Seneca maintains the current approved Seneca-common and school-specific sections of course outlines for each course in Seneca’s course outline system. All sections of a course use the current approved version.

1.4 Seneca-common and school-specific sections are retained for a maximum of 10 years on Seneca’s course outline system. Requests for older versions of course outlines can be made in writing to the Registrar’s Office. Reasonable efforts will be made to fulfil such requests.

1.5 When course outline information is made available internally or publicly, the information shall reference the approved version of the outline.

2. Access

2.1 Course outlines will be made available to all students registered in a given course through the approved learning management system prior to the beginning of the course.

2.2 Seneca-common and school-specific elements of course outlines are available on Seneca’s website.

3. Responsibilities

3.1 Faculty responsibilities

3.1.1 Courses with the same title and course code must have the same Seneca-common section of the course outline, regardless of program linkages or delivery methods. The school-specific section contains additional information about the course, specific to the school offering it. Information in the addendum may be different for each section.

3.1.2 Faculty shall review course outlines, including Seneca-common, school-specific and addendum information, with students at the beginning of each course.

3.1.3 In unusual situations where changes need to be made to information in a school-specific section during the semester, the changes must be approved by the appropriate chair and all faculty teaching the course, and then provided in writing to all students registered in the course. When changes need to be made to information in the addendum during the semester, the changes must be approved by the appropriate chair and provided in writing to all students registered in the course.

3.2 Student responsibilities

3.2.1 Students are expected to be knowledgeable of the contents of the course outline and to discuss with the faculty any areas where clarification is required.

3.2.2 Students are responsible for retaining course outlines for any future requirements they might have to certify or confirm details of the course content, such as for future applications or transfer credits.

4. Review

Seneca-common and school-specific sections of course outlines will be reviewed annually, according to the published process, in advance of critical dates. When revisions are required, they will be approved by the appropriate chair for use in the following academic year.

Supporting Documentation

  • Appendix A: Required Elements of a Course Outline

Related Seneca Policies

Related Materials

Appendix A: Required Elements of a Course Outline

  1. The Seneca-common section contains the following elements:
    • course code and title
    • course description
    • credit status, including any additional requirements for credit such as successful completion of field placement
    • course learning outcomes
    • course essential employability skills learning outcomes
    • reference to Seneca’s Academic Integrity Policy
    • reference to Seneca’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy
    • reference to Seneca policies and information about academic accommodations
  2. The school-specific section contains the following elements:
    • prerequisites, including references to any documentation that details prerequisite skills and/or experience, and type and level of competencies that would be considered equivalent to the stated prerequisite
    • topic outline
    • modes of instruction
    • prescribed texts
    • reference material (required and recommended)
    • required supplies
    • Student Progression and Promotion Policy, which details extensions to Seneca’s Grading Policy
    • modes of evaluation, which details the means by which students will be assessed and the relative weight of each assessment; treatment of failed or missed tests or assignments; any exceptional requirements for attendance and participation; treatment of late assignments and standards and treatment of language usage in tests and assignments
  3. The following information will be provided to students in the school-specific section or in the addendum:
    • faculty contact information
    • planned schedule of topics, tests and assignments
    • any other information relevant to the section (e.g. hours and/or means of consultation; detailed grading schemes; any variations on the mode of delivery or textbooks; audio/videotaping as methods for learning and/or evaluation additional learning resources/equipment, etc.)