The mystery of course numbers

Have you ever stopped to consider the purpose of course numbers? Yes we must have them to identify classes and to make sure the appropriate degree credits are received, but what do the numbers mean?

It’s obvious there is a sequential pattern with the first number, but what about the following numbers? Are they just there?

During a meeting to review course changes in one of our major programs the conversation quickly turned to whether  a proposed course number could be used for a new course. The short answer: no. Course numbers are structured to reflect the level of the course, course type, credit hours, and sequence.

When looking at course numbers keep the following in mind:

  • The first number is the classification level of the course according to the  university standards.
  • The second number denotes the type of course, such as a lecture, seminar, internship, etc.
  • The third number indicates the number of credit hours one can receive for the course. (Keep in mind that 1:1 and 3:3 are used interchangeably when devising course numbers, so it is likely to receive 3 credit hours although this number maybe listed as a 1.)
  • The fourth number provides where the course falls within your degree sequence.

For example, if you are taking PRCA 2330 or Intro to Public Relations, the course numbers let you know that this course is classified by the university as a sophomore level course, it’s lectured based, worth three credit hours, and is the first course in the major area for your degree.

So the next time you consider a course review the numbers. Don’t think the course will be easy or difficult based on the title.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The mystery of course numbers

  1. As a faculty member here at Georgia Southern with you, even *I* didn’t know the rationale for the course numbering. I’ll definitely share this with my students.

    Barbara