|University Undergraduate Advising Handbook|
COURSE NUMBERING SYSTEM
(Senate Policy 34-58)
Undergraduate Courses (1 to 399)
400-Level Courses (400 to 499)
500- and 800-Level Courses (500 to 599; 800 to 899)
Common Course Numbers
Courses offered at Penn State are identified by departmental abbreviation and number. The course-numbering system helps advisers and students find appropriate courses. Numbers also differentiate courses that are appropriate for particular populations of students. Courses available to undergraduates are categorized by the following three levels.
UNDERGRADUATE COURSES (1 to 399)
Courses below the 400-level are designed for undergraduate students. Within this level, other than common course numbers, there is not a university-wide standard for assigning a number to a course. Therefore, a higher number does not necessarily indicate a more advanced course (e.g., CMPSC 203 is not more advanced than CMPSC 121). To determine if a course is appropriate for a student, read its course description, which includes prerequisites (or contact the department offering the course for information).
400-LEVEL COURSES (400 to 499)
Advanced undergraduate courses, described in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin, are designed for juniors and seniors (students who have completed 60 credits or more) and graduate students. A student who has not yet completed 60 credits should consult with his/her adviser and obtain permission of the course instructor prior to scheduling a 400-level course.
500- AND 800-LEVEL COURSES (500 to 599; 800 to 899)
Graduate courses, described in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin, are typically not available to undergraduates; however, exceptions are made for students who obtain the appropriate permission on a registration drop/add form or on a Request for Undergraduate Student to Take 500- or 800-Level Courses form. Permission of the course instructor is required for students in the Schreyer Honors College and for seniors (students who have completed 92 credits or more) with a 3.50 or higher cumulative grade-point average.
Other students must complete a Request for Undergraduate Student to Take 500- or 800-Level Courses form and, in addition to the instructor's permission, must obtain the signature of an academic adviser. Also, students at University Park must obtain approval from Graduate Enrollment Services. Students at Penn State Erie must obtain approval from the graduate coordinator in the school offering the course, and students at Penn State Harrisburg must obtain approval from the associate dean for research and graduate studies in C114 Olmstead Building.
To schedule the course, the student must bring the appropriate form with the appropriate signatures to the Registrar's office.
COMMON COURSE NUMBERS FOR UNDERGRADUATES
Certain types of courses share a common course number or may have a suffix, a letter following the course number. Common course numbers have been established for the following types of course work: special topics, foreign studies, some first-year seminars, research project courses, internships, and independent studies. Course levels relate to the numbering system described above. Multiple offerings of the same number may be distinguished by the use of suffixes A, B, etc. Authorized advisers can access course descriptions for some of these courses on ISIS screen ARUCU (to view, type in the course information and then press enter; use "F8" to scroll through the screens). Questions about common course numbers should be directed to the University curriculum coordinator (814-863-0996) or the department offering the course.
The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information.
This page is part of the University Undergraduate Advising Handbook, which is maintained by the Division of Undergraduate Studies, DUS@psu.edu.
Reviewed: January 2012
Last Update: July 2009