This document provides guidance regarding summer course selection and scheduling in the College of Letters & Science. This page has been updated for Summer 2022.
Departments should consider courses meeting general education and breadth requirements as well as major requirements. Courses that are bottlenecks or otherwise have long waiting lists in the academic year should certainly be considered.
The following are some of the most commonly used sessions:
Departments should avoid offering multiple courses in the same session that appeal to the same group of students. Idiosyncratic course timing (not conforming to the usual 4-week or 8-week sessions) may be problematic for students, and thus discourage enrollment.
Courses previously approved for the academic year can be offered in the summer term without further course approval from curricular committees. Ideally, new course offerings should expand (not merely displace) current summer enrollments.
The following KB page contains instructions for proposing a new course: L&S: Proposing New Courses & Changing Existing Courses
Summer offerings are exempt from the L&S Policy on Offering Undergraduate Class Sections with Online or Hybrid Modality. There are no summer residential expectations and summer term enrollment is optional for most undergraduates.
We expect summer courses to follow the six characteristics described in the L&S Foundational Criteria for Online & Hybrid Instruction.
Summer planning directly incorporates costs and revenues. Whether a course is “profitable” (i.e., makes a positive contribution to department surplus) depends on both the instructional costs and the number of paid credits. Courses with higher instructional costs require more paid credits to “break even.” Departments are permitted to run courses that reduce department surplus as long as the department maintains a positive surplus overall.
Courses intended primarily or exclusively for graduate students will generate little or no revenue if these students receive tuition waivers. As with low-enrollment undergraduate courses, departments are permitted to run such courses as long as the department maintains a positive surplus overall.
Please see L&S Summer Budget Model for discussion of financial considerations.
Each fall, the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) will publish a Summer Course Guide preview on https://summer.wisc.edu/
The preview is compiled with the help of L&S. Given the need to compile this preview in advance of the normal L&S summer-term planning and approval process, it cannot include every course that will be offered.
This preview allows students to keep summer term in mind while building their schedules for spring semester. Although this preview provides only a partial listing of summer-term courses (and is taken down once the full timetable becomes available in January), it provides a helpful interim resource for students and advisors.
Departments are responsible for advertising summer-term courses to internal audiences (including their own majors, other L&S students, and non-L&S students). Marketing to external (non-UW) audiences will coordinated by DCS. Departments may wish to contact Steven Wright to discuss marketing for a particular course, or to explore how potential summer courses could fit into existing marketing initiatives.