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Course Description Symbols and Terms

Course Description Symbols and Terms Page Navigation

The following is an example of a catalog course description illustrating the notations and symbols used for course descriptions throughout the University Catalog.

SUBJ NUM Title Sustainable Units Semester Offered Course Flags
This course examines the social and cultural contexts of food production and consumption in a cross-cultural, global and historical perspective, including contemporary social, environmental and policy issues associated with food. 3 hours lecture.This is an approved Writing Intensive course. This is an approved General Education Capstone course. This is an approved Global Cultures course. (021352)

Line 1-Course Identification (Subject and Course Number), Title, Unit Value, Semester Offered, and Special Designation

The first line of the course description contains the official Course Identification used in the Class Schedule , student registration lists, and transcripts. It is preceded by the complete course title, unit value, semester-offered symbol and any special designations.

Credit for courses offered by California State University, Chico is awarded in terms of semester units. The unit value of a course is computed on the basis of one unit for each hour of lecture or discussion, two hours of activity, two to three hours of laboratory, or three hours of independent study or internship per week, for a 16-week semester (15 weeks instruction plus mandatory final week for two additional hours minimum). Courses meeting for fewer than 16 weeks will require an equivalent number of hours pro-rated on a per-week basis. For most courses, two hours of out-of-class preparation will be expected for each hour of in-class lecture or recitation. A credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute period. In courses in which “seat time” does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement. View AA-2011-14 here.

The semester a course is normally offered is symbolized as follows:

  • FA = during fall semester each year
  • SP = during spring semester each year
  • FS = during fall and spring semester each year
  • SMF = during spring, summer, and fall semester each year
  • F1 = during fall semester odd years
  • F2 = during fall semester even years
  • S1 = during spring semester odd years
  • S2 = during spring semester even years
  • SM = during summer session
  • SX = during special session only
  • Inq = inquire at department, offered irregularly

Special designations may include:

  • GC = approved global cultures course
  • GE = approved general education course
  • USD = approved US diversity course
  • WP = approved writing proficiency course
  • WI = approved GE writing intensive course
  • C = approved GE pathway capstone course

Lines 2 & 3-Prerequisites, Corequisites, Faculty Permission

Registration requirements are outlined on the line immediately following the course title and are defined as follows:

Prerequisites: You must fulfill specific coursework or other conditions before you will be allowed to enroll in the course. Prerequisites may be waived by the faculty member only on approval of a formal petition which fully outlines the equivalent attainment. You must have a passing grade for a prerequisite course. Your total number of units determines whether you meet a prerequisite for class level (e.g., sophomore), unless the requirement is otherwise defined and listed in the catalog.

The prerequisites line may also contain the following information:

Recommended: It is recommended that you have prior coursework or knowledge; the term is used to advise and caution, but not to prevent your enrollment.

Corequisite: You must take concurrently the course or courses indicated. The requirement may not be waived.

Recommended Co-enrollment: You are advised to take a recommended concurrent enrollment; it is used to advise you of proper course sequence.

Faculty Permission: You must obtain permission of the instructor before registration can be allowed. Inquire in the department office for specific instructions regarding permission to register.

Line 4-The Course Description:

A complete course description is provided. You may assume courses meet for one hour of lecture per unit of credit with regular letter grading employed unless otherwise stated. At the end of the course description, a statement or series of statements will appear to indicate any special features of the course: activities, labs, or supervised activity; ABC/NC or CR/NC grading; courses permitting registration more than once; special fees associated with a course; and courses approved for General Education and U.S. Diversity or Global Cultures studies. This practice is subject to change without notice.

Laptop Requirement

There are some courses that require the use of a laptop computer, and others that require specific software, or both. These courses and the programs they appear in cannot be completed without the required hardware and software. Programs and courses that have such requirements will have clear notes to identify them. Please consult with the specific departments for details.

Sustainability Courses

Courses marked with a green leaf symbol are a part of CSU, Chico's devotion to sustainability practices and education. These green courses emphasize environmentally responsible awareness and learning.

Course Numbering System

The following course numbering system is employed.

001-099: Pre-Baccalaureate

These courses are generally developmental or preparatory and carry no baccalaureate credit.

100-199: Freshmen or 1st Year, Lower-Division

These courses are designed for freshmen, but may be taken by others. Many community college courses may be comparable.

200-299: Sophomore or 2nd Year, Lower-Division

These courses are designed for sophomores, but may be taken by others. Some community college courses may be comparable.

300-399: Junior or 3rd Year, Upper-Division

These courses are designed for juniors, but may be taken by others. This course designation is appropriate for GE Upper-Division Themes. None of these courses are comparable to community college courses. Since community college courses cannot qualify for upper-division credit, it is presumed that upper-division courses at CSU, Chico should not be equivalent to similar courses at any community college.

400-499: Senior or 4th Year, Upper-Division or Graduate

These courses are designed for seniors, but may be taken by others. This course designation is appropriate for senior seminars and courses that require a high degree of disciplinary sophistication or a high degree of specificity in content. It assumes considerable prerequisite knowledge and experience. None of these courses is comparable to community college courses. Students receiving graduate credit for these courses generally are required to complete additional coursework compared to students receiving baccalaureate credit.

500-599: Advanced Senior or Graduate

These courses reflect advanced study, which is appropriate for both seniors and graduate students. Students receiving graduate credit for these courses generally are required to complete additional coursework compared to students receiving baccalaureate credit. These courses can include post-baccalaureate courses, such as those in credential programs, which are not permitted to be included in coursework for graduate degrees.

600-699: Graduate

Graduate courses are open to post-baccalaureate students only, except that undergraduates with permission of the Dean of Graduate Studies may enroll. They require an identification and investigation of a theory or principle; application of theory to new ideas, problems, and materials; extensive use of bibliographic and other resource materials; or competence in the scholarly presentation of independent study research.

700-799: Reserved For Future Use

800-899: Other

These courses focus on problems encountered in professional service and aim to meet the needs of groups seeking vocational improvement and career advancement. They are designed primarily for the purpose of meeting objectives that cannot be served by established graduate and undergraduate courses. Credit for these courses does not apply to degrees. However, in exceptional cases and with the approval of the appropriate department and college dean, students may apply these towards degree and credential programs for which such courses are deemed acceptable. Determination of the acceptability of these courses for degree and credential credit will depend primarily upon course content and approach. Students should not consider registering in these courses for credential or degree purposes without first consulting with the appropriate department.

900-999: Non-Credit

These non-credit courses are designed to provide opportunities to pursue cultural, intellectual, and social interests.

Course Number Suffix Guidelines

Suffixes may be used with course numbers.
A list of suffixes used is below:

  • E = ESL courses.
  • H = honors.
  • I = (GE) Writing Intensive.
  • L = laboratory.
  • S = service learning.
  • X = supplemental instruction.
  • Z = (GE) Capstone.

Course sequences with suffixes may be sequential (i.e., A, B, C, D etc.). Sequential order may or may not indicate a series of courses. See the academic department for more information.

  • Suffixes on graduate level 699 courses (only) may include:
    • P = project.
    • T = thesis.

Reserved Course Numbers

189, 289, 389, 489, 589, 689: Internship and other experience-based courses. These courses involve community work with placement in a public or private agency under the supervision of a qualified professional. A maximum of 15 internship units may be applied to a bachelor's degree (a department may limit the number of units which count towards its major requirements).

198, 298, 398, 498, 598, 698: Special topics and experimental courses offered on a one-time only basis or new courses offered between catalogs. No University limit on the number which may count for a degree. A major may limit the number of units which count towards its major requirements.

199, 299, 399, 499, 599: Special problems courses used for independent study with variable units. You are strongly advised to enroll in no more than 3 units of independent study per semester; a total of 6 units may apply towards a bachelor's degree, although a major may further limit the number which counts toward major requirements. Special problems courses numbered 599 and lower may not apply in a master's degree program.

399H, 499H, 599H: Honors courses are available only to students admitted to Honors in the Major or Honors in General Education, typically for independent study leading to Honors. These 3- or 6-unit courses are normally taken in the senior year. These units do not count toward the maximums listed in the preceding paragraph.

697: Independent Study: See Graduate Education Policies

696: Comprehensive Examination: See Graduate Education Policies

699: Master's Study: See Graduate Education Policies

Course Subject Abbreviations

The following course subject abbreviations are used in the University Catalog, the Class Schedule, student study lists, academic planning guides, evaluation materials, and transcripts.

Subject Abbreviations
Abbreviation Definition
AAST Asian American Studies
ABUS Agriculture Business
ACCT Accounting
AFAM African American Studies
AFRI African Studies
AGED Agriculture Education
AGET Agriculture Engineering Technology
AGRI Agriculture
AIST American Indian Studies
ANSC Animal Science
ANTH Anthropology
ARAB Arabic
ARTE Art Education
ARTH Art History
ARTI Interior Architecture
ASST Asian Studies
BADM Business Administration
BIOL Biological Sciences
BLAW Business Law
BLMC Education-Bilingual/Multicultural
BSIS Business Information Systems
CAGD Computer Animation and Game Development
CHEM Chemistry
CHLD Child Development
CHNS Chinese
CHST Chicano Studies
CIMT Concrete Industry Management
CINS Computer Information Systems
CIVL Civil Engineering
CMGT Construction Management
CMPE Computer Engineering
CMSD Communication Sciences and Disorders
CMST Communication Studies
COMM Communication
CSCI Computer Science
ECON Economics
EDAD Education Administration
EDCI Education-Curriculum and Instruction
EDMA Education-Master's Study
EDSL Education-Second Language
EDTE Education-Teacher Education
EDUC Education
EECE Electrical/Electronic Engineering
EFLN English as a Foreign Language
ENGL English
ENVL Environmental Literacy
ESPE Early Start Program English
ESPM Early Start Program Mathematics
FINA Finance
FLNG Foreign Languages and Literatures
FREN French
GEOG Geography
GEOS Geological and Environmental Sciences
GERM German
GREK Greek
GRST Graduate Studies
HBRW Hebrew
HCSV Health and Community Service
HIST History
HNDI Hindi
HNRS Honors
HUMN Humanities
IDES Interior Design
IDST Interdisciplinary Studies (Graduate Level)
INED International Education
INST International Studies
INTB International Business
INTD Interdisciplinary Studies (Undergraduate Level)
ITAL Italian
JAPN Japanese
JOUR Journalism
KINE Kinesiology
LAST Latin American Studies
LATN Latin
LBST Liberal Studies
LDRS Leadership Studies
MADT Media Arts, Design, and Technology
MATH Mathematics
MCGS Multicultural and Gender Studies
MECA Mechatronic Engineering
MECH Mechanical Engineering
MEST Middle Eastern Studies
MGMT Management
MINS Management Information Systems
MJIS Modern Jewish and Israel Studies
MKTG Marketing
MTHE Mathematics Education
MUSC Music
NFSC Nutrition and Food Science
NSCI Natural Sciences
NSCT Natural Science Education
NURS Nursing
OSCM Operations and Supply Chain Management
PHIL Philosophy
PHYS Physics
POLS Political Science
PORT Portuguese
PSSC Plant and Soil Science
PSYC Psychology
RDGL Education-Reading/Language Arts
REAL Real Estate
RELS Religious Studies
RHPM Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management
RUSS Russian
SCED Science Education
SCMS Supply Chain Management Systems
SMFG Sustainable Manufacturing
SOCI Sociology
SOSC Social Science
SPAN Spanish
SPED Education-Special Education
SWAH Swahili
SWRK Social Work
TECH Technology
THEA Theatre Arts
UNIV University Academics
WMST Women's Studies
Catalog Cycle:17