COURSE EQUIVALENCY POLICY
(Approved by Senate: May 11, 2010)
With the permission of the program chair or department head or director in the major area, and subject to the approval of the dean or associate dean, a student may substitute one course for another of equivalent learning outcomes and content. This equivalent course satisfies the original requirement.The University of Windsor acknowledges its responsibility to balance flexibility in accommodating students’ degree pathways with the need to ensure that students graduating from the University have acquired the essential graduate attributes of their programs. Equivalency between the course required by a given program and a proposed substitute course must be evaluated in a thorough and comprehensive manner by the program chair, department head/director and the Dean’s office. The criteria that must be met by the proposed substitute course include the following:
Criteria for Course Equivalency
1. Breadth/depth. Survey and introductory courses generally provide breadth while more advanced courses tend to provide depth. In considering course equivalencies, this dimension should be taken into account.
o For example, an introductory course in one field might be considered equivalent to an introductory course in another.
2. Comparable learning outcomes. The course in question must involve similar learning outcomes in terms of breadth/depth, and in terms of the balance and nature of the skills, attitudes, and content outcomes specified for the course.
o For example, a course from one area of business administration may be considered the equivalent of another course in another branch of business administration because it requires a comparable balance of skills, attitude and content.
3. Level of course. A course must be offered at an equivalent level to be eligible for substitution. Level is evaluated by considering the degree of sophistication of the course requirements
o For example, a 200-level course may at times be substituted for a 300-level course. A lower level course cannot normally be substituted for a 400-level course.
4. Similarity of origin or source. Equivalency of courses from cognate disciplines is generally more readily established than equivalency of courses from unrelated disciplines. In some cases, equivalency between courses identified as anti-requisites might also be acceptable (e.g., statistics courses).
o For example, an entry-level history course might substitute for an entry-level political science course, but an entry-level literature course might not substitute for an entry-level chemistry course.
5. Course delivery format. Alternate formats of course delivery are acceptable when they provide an equivalent learning experience.
o For example, a theatre history course delivered in an online format might be considered equivalent to the face-to-face lecture-based course, but a nursing course requiring experiential learning might not be equivalent to an online nursing course with no practical component.
Regulations Governing Course Substitution Approvals
1. The allowable number of course substitutions by a student in one degree should be determined at the faculty level as long as this determination is not in contravention of university-wide academic requirements.
2. Approval of a course substitution is not a general statement of equivalency between two courses; it is a singular identification of equivalency based on the student’s unique case.
3. The process of establishing equivalency usually requires consultation with the department housing the proposed substitute.
4. A recurring course equivalent substitution approved in a given program should be formalized through a general policy that would allow for standardizing substitutions in like cases.
5. Course equivalency approvals must be tracked at the departmental level in order to identify and ensure efficient programmatic response to calendaring and scheduling problems, rather than temporary, piecemeal solutions. These data should be submitted to the dean for annual review.
6. Course equivalencies are approved by the dean or associate dean following the recommendation of the program director or department chair.