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Course Description Symbols and Terms

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

UNIV 101A     Introduction to Life     1.0-4.0  FS

Prerequisites: High school graduation,
Corequisities: Validated enrollment in a minimum of 6 units, ENGL 001, and faculty permission.

A comprehensive introduction to life. A series of lectures by university figures, small group discussions and an independent project all geared to orienting the new student to life. 2.0 Hours lecture, 1.0 Hours discussion, 3.0 Hours supervision. ABC/no credit grading only. You may take this course for credit more than once; see the department for specific information. This is an approved General Education course. Special fee required; see The Class Schedule.


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

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. 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.

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
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
JA = during January Intersession
INQ = inquire at department, offered irregularly


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 Background: It is recommended that you have prior coursework or knowledge; the term is used to advise and caution you 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.


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 Ethnic or Non-Western Studies. Courses with approved equivalents under the California Articulation Numbering (CAN) System also provide the equivalent CAN course number at the end of the description. This practice is subject to change without notice.


The following course numbering system is employed to indicate the level of course offerings.


These courses are designed for freshmen and sophomores, but may be taken by others. Many have equivalents which are offered at community colleges. Such courses are usually general, introductory, basic, beginning, or survey. Some courses may require some elementary knowledge or experience in the subject matter. Lower-division courses provide a foundation for advanced work.


100-199: Intermediate
These courses are designed for sophomores and above, although in some circumstances freshmen may qualify to enroll. These courses generally assume prior knowledge or experience in the subject, and the content is more advanced or specific than lower-division courses. They may provide specific content for other majors who have prerequisite knowledge in other fields of specialization.

200-299: Advanced
These courses are designed for juniors and seniors, although in a few cases sophomores may qualify to enroll. It is extremely unusual for a freshman to qualify for such courses. Graduate students may enroll and receive graduate credit but will be held to more rigorous requirements than undergraduates. These courses assume a greater degree of complexity than the intermediate-level courses, require a high degree of disciplinary sophistication or a high degree of specificity in content, and assume considerable prerequisite knowledge and experience.

Since community college courses cannot qualify for upper-division credit, it is presumed that upper-division courses should not be equivalent to similar courses at any community college.


Graduate courses are only open to master’s degree students, unless permission of the dean of the Graduate School has been obtained by other postbaccalaureate and undergraduate students. Graduate courses require an identification and investigation of a theory or principle; the application of theory to new ideas, problems, and materials; extensive use of bibliographic and other resource materials, with emphasis on primary sources of data; and competence in the scholarly presentation of independent study research.


The following course numbering conventions have been adopted to facilitate identification of course content across disciplines.

089, 189, 289, 389: 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 at Chico.

098, 198, 298, 397: Special topics and experimental courses offered on a one-time only basis or new courses offered between catalog years.

199, 299: Special problems courses used for independent study with variable units (indicated in The Class Schedule by VAR). You may register for a maximum of 3 units per semester; a total of 6 units may apply toward a bachelor’s degree. All 199, 299 courses are graded CR/NC, and none apply in a master’s degree program.

199H, 299H:Honors courses are available to students eligible for the University Honors Program. The 3- or 6-unit independent studies course, normally taken in the senior year, culminates in a research paper, project, or performance that is publicly presented. Student must receive a grade of B or higher in the course for Honors credit.

398: Independent Study: See the “Graduate Education” section for details.

399: Master’s Study: See the “Graduate Education” section for details.

800-899: Courses which 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 the dean of your college, you may apply these toward 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. You should not consider registering in these courses for credential or degree purposes without first consulting with an adviser. Courses completed will be posted to the academic record, however, units will not be included in the computation of total units completed.

900-999: Non-credit courses designed to provide opportunities to pursue cultural, intellectual, and social interests.


The California Articulation Number (CAN) System identifies some of the transferable, lower-division, introductory, preparatory courses commonly taught within each academic discipline on college campuses.

The system assures students that CAN courses on one participating campus will be accepted in lieu of the comparable CAN course on another participating campus. Example: CAN ECON 2 on one campus will be acceptable for CAN ECON 2 on another participating campus. Each campus retains its own numbering system. The CAN course identification where applicable is identified at the end of the course description in this catalog.


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

Abbreviation   Definition
AAST Asian American Studies
ABUS Agriculture Business
ACCT Accounting
AFAM African American Studies
AFRI African Studies
AGET Agriculture Engineering Technology
AGRI Agriculture
AIST American Indian Studies
AMST American Studies
ANSC Animal Science
ANTH Anthropology
ARAB Arabic
ARCH Architecture
ASST Asian Studies
ATHL Athletics
BADM Business Administration
BIOL Biological Sciences
BIS Business Information Systems
BLAW Business Law
BLMC Education-Bilingual/Multicultural
C D Child Development
CDES Communication Design
C E Civil Engineering
CHEM Chemistry
CHNS Chinese
CHST Chicano Studies
CM Construction Management
CMSD Communication Sciences and Disorders
CMST Communication Studies
COM Communication
CSCI Computer Science
ECE Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECON Economics
EDAD Education Administration
EDCI Education-Curriculum and Instruction
EDEC Education-Early Childhood Education
EDMA Education-Master’s Program
EDSL Education-Second Language
EDTE Education-Teacher Education
EDUC Education
E E Electrical/Electronic Engineering
EFL English as a Foreign Language
ENGL English
ENGR Engineering
FIN Finance
FLNG Foreign Languages and Literatures
FREN French
GEOG Geography
GEOS Geosciences
GERM German
GNED General Education Course Link
GST General Studies Thematic
HBRW Hebrew
HCSV Health and Community Services
HIST History
HNDI Hindi
HNRS Honors
HUM Humanities
IDST Interdisciplinary Studies (Graduate Level)
INMA Indonesian-Malay
INST International Studies
INTB International Business
IS Interdisciplinary Studies (Undergradute Level)
ITAL Italian
JAPN Japanese
JOUR Journalism
LAST Latin American Studies
LATN Latin
LBST Liberal Studies Course Link
MATH Mathematics
MCGS Multicultural and Gender Studies
M E Mechanical Engineering
MECA Mechatronic Engineering
MEST Middle Eastern Studies
MFGT Manufacturing Technology
MGMT Management
MINS Management Information Systems
MJIS Modern Jewish and Israel Studies
MKTG Marketing
MTHE Mathematics Education
MUS Music
NFSC Nutrition and Food Science
NSCI Natural Sciences
NSCT Natural Science Teaching
NURS Nursing
PHED Physical Education
PHIL Philosophy
PHYS Physics
POLS Political Science
POMG Production & Operations Management
PORT Portuguese
PSSC Plant and Soil Science
PSY Psychology
QBAN Quantitative Business Analysis
RDGL Education-Reading/Language Arts
R E Real Estate
RECR Recreation Administration
R S Religious Studies
RTPL Rural and Town Planning
RUSS Russian
SOCI Sociology
SOSC Social Science
SPAN Spanish
SPED Education-Special Education
SWAH Swahili
SWRK Social Work
THEA Theatre Arts
UNIV University Academics
VIET Vietnamese
WMST Women’s Studies