Staying safe in off-campus experiences

Please see our guidelines for staying safe in off-campus experiences for information relevant to students, faculty/staff, and campus partners.

REAL classification for courses

Based on national research, VCU now classifies experiential learning activities across four levels (see guiding principles for classification). You must apply and have your level approved by the REAL Curriculum Committee before your course can be officially assigned a REAL classification.

Please note that courses must also proceed through the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UUCC) using the CIM workflow in order to have their REAL classification formally reported and entered into Banner and displayed in eServices.

Our guiding principles for REAL classification webpage can help you determine the appropriate REAL level for your course. Likewise, our REAL Calibration Tool can help you apply for REAL classification of a new course or to change the level of a course that is already certified. You may also want to review the evaluation rubric that evaluators will use in reviewing applications to help you in your planning, and the REAL Reflection Handbook as a tool for facilitating critical reflection.

Please note:

  • REAL level classifications apply to courses, not sections
  • REAL level classifications are based on the threshold-level of engagement any student enrolling in any section of that course can expect
  • REAL classifications will be reviewed on a three year cycle; however, departments can apply at any time to modify a course's REAL level and/or type

Submit a REAL Classification application ยป

Additional required documentation

  • Curriculum Learning Plan: Please complete this form for any curricular (i.e., credit-bearing) experiences that you submit for REAL classification.

REAL Curriculum Committee calendar

Deadline for submissions to reach RCC step in CIM workflowRCC meeting date (where votes will occur)RCC meeting time and location
Aug. 25, 2021 Sept. 8, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom
Sept. 8, 2021 Sept. 22, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom
Sept. 22, 2021 Oct. 13, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom
Oct. 13, 2021 Oct. 27, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom
Oct. 27, 2021 Nov. 10, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom
Nov. 24, 2021 Dec. 8, 2021 10-11 a.m. via Zoom

For more information about the REAL Curriculum Committee and the role it plays, see our REAL Curriculum Committee webpage.


Those applying for a REAL service-learning type must also meet the requirements set forward by VCU's Service-Learning Office. Please refer to the Service-Learning website for information about designing a service-learning course. Service-Learning staff members are also available for individual consultation to help walk you through this process.