Course Numbering System

Assignment of new course numbers

The heads of the academic units proposing courses should request the assignment of new course numbers. Any one of the six changes listed below requires the assignment of a new number.

  • New course added
  • Significant change in content of established course
  • Significant change in credits of established course
  • Change of established hyphenated course to separate course
  • Change of separate courses to hyphenated course
  • Significant change in time pattern of established course (class hours of lecture, lab, or discussion)

Course level descriptions

The University Senate approved the following Course Numbering Directives on March 14, 2005.

Course Numbers Description
0000-0999 Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture or pre-college work; may not be taken for degree credit by Baccalaureate students
1000-1999 Introductory courses, usually with no prerequisites, primarily intended for freshmen and sophomores
2000-2999 Courses, usually with no more than one prerequisite, primarily intended for sophomores
3000-3999 Advanced undergraduate courses, primarily intended for juniors and seniors
4000-4999 Advanced undergraduate courses, primarily intended for seniors
5000-5999 Entry-level and intermediate graduate courses
6000-6999 Advanced graduate courses
7000-7999 Law School
8000-8999 School of Medicine (for entering class of 2016 as approved by Office of the Provost of Academic Affairs 01/29/16)

Reserved course numbers

Course numbers xx80 to xx99 are reserved for special topics, thesis, internships, etc. as follows. NOTE: These guidelines were updated by the University Senate on 10/7/19. Review the Senate Scholastic Standards Committee’s motion here: Defining and Renumbering Research and Experiential Courses.

Number* Course type Definition
xx90 Field study/Field experience Credit awarded for applied academic work done in the field and supervised by a faculty member as a component of a student’s academic program.
xx91 Internship Credit awarded for professional work done in the field, supervised by an external expert and coordinated by a faculty member, which may or may not be part of a student’s academic program.
xx92 Practicum Credit awarded for work done where the primary purpose is to apply information from coursework in a practical setting and aid a student’s professional development (may be used for licensure programs).
xx93 Foreign Study
xx94 Seminar
xx95 Special Topics
1×96 Undergraduate Research Introduction to Research: Introduction to the practice of research for beginning students, which may be individualized or taught to a group.
2×96 Undergraduate Research Directed Research 1: Introductory research conducted under the supervision of the instructor, which may be individualized or conducted by a group.
3×96 Undergraduate Research Directed Research 2: Individualized research conducted under the supervision of the instructor.
4×96 Undergraduate Research Independent Research: Student-initiated research activities supervised by the instructor.
xx97 Thesis Credits earned by students for engaging in the process and production of a thesis.
xx98 Variable Topics
xx99 Independent Study Credits earned by pursuing individual academic interests under the supervision of a faculty instructor.

* S/U versions of these courses may be offered by substituting an 8 for a 9 in the third digit (e.g., Independent Study xx89 [S/U] instead of xx99 [graded]).

Reusing course numbers (Eight Year Rule)

No course number previously assigned, but dropped, will be assigned again until the original number remains unassigned for a period of at least eight years or a course that has been archived using the Senate’s Five Year Rule* becomes reinstated without change or a dropped course becomes reinstated without change.

If the content of a course is changed sufficiently to warrant assigning a new number, a statement should appear after the description of the course, noting the prior course (Example: _______ “Formerly offered as ENGL ….”).

* Courses that have not been offered in the previous five years may, at the request of the department, be inactivated and archived. Reactivating the course would also only require a department request; the approval process need not be restarted.