House Course Policies

In order to maintain suitable academic standards for House Courses, the following conditions must be met:


1. A Trinity College faculty member must supervise the course, and may serve as the instructor. 

In most cases, that faculty member's department will serve as the sponsoring department for the course. When the faculty member has no appointment in Trinity, a Trinity department must serve as sponsoring department. As instructor of record, the faculty sponsor bears administrative and grading responsibility for the course and will submit grades (in consultation with the instructors), including midterm grades, as appropriate; assist with access to Sakai; and assign permission numbers during drop/add as needed.

The sponsor will also: 1) participate in the development of the course syllabus, 2) attend at least three class meetings, the first of which must occur during weeks 1-3 of the semester, as indicated in the syllabus, 3) submit an evaluation, and 4) ensure that the course meets 12 times for a minimum total of 18 hours.  

Note: If a course is supervised by more than one faculty supervisor, each supervisor must attend three (3) meetings of the course and participate in the other administrative duties of the faculty supervisor.

2. Individuals may sponsor or teach ONLY ONE House Course per term.

3. House Courses must have significant academic content.

The Courses Committee expects that House Course subjects will be treated in a critical, evaluative, historical, and/or analytical way, and that House Courses will not primarily teach skills. Care must be taken to proclaim a House Course's academic approach in its title, syllabus, and place where it is offered:

a. The course, in its syllabus, must require one or more scholarly papers totaling approximately 1500 words in length or the equivalent of five (5) double spaced (typed) pages. Paper(s) are scholarly and analytical writings for which are provided directions/topics related to the course readings or research. Not satisfying this requirement are “reaction,” “response,” or “reflective” papers or journals.

b. Each course should require a minimum of 50 pages of reading (or equivalent) per week. The syllabus must include the total number of pages required for EACH class meeting, the total number of pages assigned for each week, and the exact page references for ALL readings, including books. If you believe this requirement is inappropriate for the content of your course, contact

c. The syllabus must contain the statement: “A grade of satisfactory in this course requires satisfactory completion of all assignments of this course including written and oral assignments, attendance, and [whatever individual other exercises an individual House Course may require].

4. Attendance Requirement.

A House Course must require in its syllabus that students attend at least eleven class sessions.

5. House Courses must take place in a university residence hall.

Student instructors should expect to host the course in their residence hall common room. If that is impossible, the request for a different room can be submitted as part of the application.

6. The first class meeting of a House Course must take place before the last day of Drop/Add.

7. House Courses may not change their syllabus, meeting time, or meeting place, without first receiving permission from the Courses Committee.

8. Evaluations

Near the end of the semester, the instructors, participants, and faculty supervisors must complete course evaluations, instructions for which will be provided by the Courses Committee.

9. Open Enrollment to Undergraduates

House Courses must be open to all Duke undergraduates. House Course instructors and their faculty sponsors may not limit enrollment to particular student groups. Asking students to withdraw from a House Course once enrolled is prohibited. Instructors and sponsors should consider open undergraduate enrollment when creating syllabi and courses.

House Courses may be designed in such a way as to attract certain groups of students (for example, a course may be designed to attract students interested in Computer Science), but cannot be limited to those groups (for example, a Computer Science related House Course cannot be limited to only Computer Science students).

In some cases, priority registration may be given to those in the house whose commons is hosting the House Course. Please contact to discuss.

10. House Course instructors may not receive course credit for teaching their House Course(s), and may not enroll in their own courses.


11. Student enrollment for all House Courses is limited to a maximum of 18 students. Fewer than 18 students may enroll.

To request an exception, contact