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College Courses – What Do the Numbers in Front of a Course Name Mean

Registering for your first set of college classes can be a daunting experience. There are hundreds of courses to choose from each session. Likely, you have often wondered, “what do the numbers in front of a course name mean”all

Each course has an alphanumeric code followed by the course name. The alpha part of the code indicates the subject matter. For instance, BIO101 is a biology class and ECON101 is an economics class.


The numerical part of the course code is the level of study for the course. Typically, 100 series courses are for freshman, 200 are for sophomores, 300 are for juniors, and 400 and above are for seniors. This does not mean that you have to take a 100 level class as a freshman. It is just the recommended level of the class. However, it does not work the other way around. Freshman will typically not be able to enroll in a 400 level class.


Bear in mind that some schools use a different sort of numbering system. Some will include a college number within the university or a number to signify the teaching unit. Make sure you peruse the course catalog carefully to determine what a specific schools coding system means.

It is important to look at these alphanumeric codes when registering for a quarter or semester. Now that you know what the codes mean, they can be quite helpful in determining the course to take. If there are any questions, it is always good to consult a guidance counselor.


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