Course Import Guidelines

In order to use Catalogs as a content management system, your institution will provide course data from your student information system on a regular basis. Course information can be updated before publishing the catalog for the new academic year or on a more frequent basis. Keep in mind that when courses are imported, any previous changes to courses made in the system will be overwritten. For this reason, it is important to modify course information in the SIS rather than, or in addition to, in Curriculum Strategy. In circumstances in which a small number of changes need to be made to courses but not enough to justify an import, those changes can be made in the SIS and in Curriculum Strategy. This document explains exactly what course data Curriculum Strategy needs from your student information system.

Mechanism for Import

A Watermark representative will work with you and your SIS manager to give recommendations on what information should be imported. Initial Course data import will be completed with the help of your Watermark implementation project manager and the support team. A report can be generated to indicate the items created and errors that might have occurred during the import process.

When a course file is imported for the first time, course folders are created based on the subject code and subject name. In future imports (submitted and performed via a support ticket), the system will use subject code and number to update the course information, if the associated folder name does not match, a new folder will be created. The folder names are case sensitive and if the subject name is ever changed, a new folder will be created.

A course import file should be prepared and submitted for each catalog as courses are loaded to a specific catalog. For example, if you are building both an Undergraduate and a Graduate catalog, please provide two course import files, one for each catalog. If you have courses that should be included in both catalogs, please inform us at the time of file submission. 

We also support a Custom Course API that will allow to set an automated process to retrieve and update course information. Setting up an API calls for a skilled institutional API developer to create the process. Institutions can use the API to pull content from Curriculum Strategy. That content can then be pushed to their SIS or displayed on the institution site.

Note: Updates to course information is typically entered through an approval workflow. Since courses are linked to programs, courses will not be automatically deleted upon the import of a new csv course import. Thus, courses will need to be deleted individually and relevant program information will need to be updated.

Accepted File Formats

The import supports .csv UTF-8. The course file must have the correct file extension. Curriculum Strategy contains 13 default fields, 4 of which are required, the other 9 can be used based on your preference. Additional fields can also be implemented. Each column should be separated by a comma and the contents of each field should be enclosed in quotes. A header row should indicate the contents of each column, as each heading is manually mapped to its corresponding field during the import process. 

Note: The Student Information System may not provide the course content in a csv format, if the file is converted to csv, please be aware of any format changes. Course files will be imported as provided.

To better support your Catalog and Curriculum implementation, the course name field should reflect the name of the course as represented in the Catalog. 

Course Learning Outcomes

Interested in importing Course Learning Outcomes? Refer to the Course Learning Outcomes Import Guide.

Curriculum Strategy Course Import

Example: Catalog Course File Basic_TEMPLATE & Catalog Course File Basic_SAMPLE

File: CourseImport.csv

Import Fields 

Required fields must be in the header row as they will be mapped with Curriculum Strategy fields. Optional fields may be left blank. Header fields of any additional columns should match the name of the new fields.
Course unique identifiers are generated by combining the Subject Code and the Course number like " Bio 201". Each course provided must have a unique combination of Subject Code and Course number. 
Abbreviation such as Full Time, Part Time, Online, etch should be spelled out for clear naming conventions. 

Subject Code *

  • Explanation: Character abbreviation indicating the field of study. 
  • Example: “BIO”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric, All Caps
  • Sample file column: A 
  • Import Status: Required

Subject Name 

  • Explanation: Subject matter or unit of study
  • Example: “Biology”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: B 
  • Import Status: Required

Course Number *

  • Explanation: Numerical value assigned to a course that often reflects course level and number of credits associated to this course
  • Example: “201”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric, All caps
  • Sample file column: D
  • Import Status: Required
  • Leading 0’s. If your course numbers contain leading zeros please be mindful to not save from Excel or similar programs to avoid dropping of the leading 0.

Course Name

  • Explanation: Name of the class that applies to all sections that belong to this course 
  • Example: “Biology I Cellular Processes”
  • Field Type and Length: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: C
  • Import Status: Required

Course Description

  • Explanation: General explanation of the course topics and teaching methodology
  • Example: “This course offers the student…. “
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Corequisite Narrative

  • Explanation: A course or other requirement that a student must take at the same time as the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “ BIO 201L”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Prerequisite Narrative

  • Explanation: A course or another requirement that a student must take prior to enrolling in the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “BIO 101 or permission of instructor”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional


  • Explanation: Credit hours students receive upon completion of the course indicated in the Course Name column 
  • Example: “3 credits”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional

Cross Listed Courses Narrative

  • Explanation: Courses offered by same or different department with the same course identity as the course indicated in the Course Name column
  • Example: “WRIT 105 and HIST 205”
  • Field Type: Alphanumeric
  • Sample file column: E
  • Import Status: Optional
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