Innovative Courses

Innovative Courses and Programs allow districts to offer state-approved innovative courses to enable students to master knowledge, skills, and competencies not included in the essential knowledge and skills of the required curriculum. (TAC Section 74.27The State Board of Education (SBOE) may approve any course that does not fall within any of the subject areas listed in the foundation and enrichment curricula. The commissioner of education may approve a discipline-based course in the foundation or enrichment curriculum if the proposed course is academically rigorous and addresses documented student needs. Applications for innovative courses are accepted annually by the Texas Education Agency.

 Approved Innovative Courses 

With the approval of the local board of trustees, school districts and charter schools may offer any state-approved innovative course for state elective credit. No application is required for a district or school to offer an approved innovative course.

For a complete listing, download the PDF document of all currently approved innovative (PDF, 639KB). You may request course descriptions and requirements for each course from the contact person identified for each course.    

2015-2016 Expiring Courses

Courses Expiring 2015-2016 (PDF, 28KB)


2016-2017 Course Application 

To renew an expiring course or to apply for a new innovative course, districts must submit an application to TEA. 
2016-2017 Innovative Course Application (Word, 80KB)

2016-2017 Innovative Course Application Instructions (PDF, 46KB)

Essential Knowledge and Skills Tutorial (PDF, 134KB)

The TEA will conduct a rolling review of innovative course applications for the 2016-2017 school year according to the following timeline. The TEA will review the applications in the order in which received. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.

Phase One: Applications received by December 18, 2016

  • Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications that are required to be approved by the SBOE (i.e., courses whose content does not fall under either the foundation or enrichment subject areas) are strongly encouraged to submit applications during this phase. Applications for innovative courses requiring SBOE approval will be presented to the SBOE for consideration at the January 2016 meeting.
  • Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications required to be approved by the commissioner of education (i.e., courses whose content falls under the foundation or enrichment subject areas including career and technical education) may also submit applications during Phase One. Applications received by December 18 will receive a final determination no later than February 15, 2016.

Phase Two: Applications received between December 19 and January 29, 2016

Entities wishing to submit innovative course applications required to be approved by the commissioner of education are strongly encouraged to submit applications during Phase Two. Applications received by January 29 will receive a final determination no later than March 31, 2016.

Phase Three: Applications received between January 30 and March 1, 2016

  • This is the final deadline for submission of innovative course applications. Applications not received by this date or considered incomplete on March 1 will not be considered for approval for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Applications for innovative courses that are received by March 1 will receive a final determination no later than May 2, 2016.

Please note that all applications will be reviewed on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications received earlier in each review period and/or with fewer necessary adjustments can be approved more expeditiously than those received later or those that require more significant changes.

For questions related to innovative courses, please email the Curriculum Division at curriculum@tea.texas.gov.