Skip to main content

New Course Scheme

Vanderbilt’s course numbering system will follow a prefix-plus-number model: ENGL 1654; MGT 6145; SPED 8723.  Existing alphabetical subject-matter prefixes will (largely) be retained.

Letter identifiers have been significantly restricted, making allowances only for specific meaning.  For example, ECON 3257W = satisfies writing requirements; BSCI 1501 and 1501L denote lecture and lab co-requisites.  Course sequences will be designated through last digit(s), rather than a, b, c, d.

Where possible, standard numbers will be used across the curriculum for common course types (for example, independent study, senior seminar, dissertation research).


0000–0799 Non-credit, non-degree courses that do not apply to a degree program
0800–0999 Courses that will be eventually given credit (e.g. study abroad)
1000–1999 Lower-level introductory undergraduate courses. Generally, no prerequisites
2000–2999 Lower-level intermediate undergraduate courses. May have prerequisites
3000–3999 Upper-level intermediate undergraduate courses. Likely have prerequisites or require instructor permission
NOTE: The range 3400–3599 has been reserved for future program growth and is not to be used at the present time
4000–4999 Upper-level advanced undergraduate courses. Usually have prerequisites or require instructor permission
5000–5999 Introductory-level graduate and professional courses (including those co-enrolled with undergraduates)
6000–7999 Intermediate-level graduate and professional courses
8000–9999 Advanced-level graduate and professional courses

Departments will cluster courses within a range to convey specialization and groupings for a given subject area.


In the recommendations below, the letter “X” can be any number 0–9.  Thus, 389X represents all numbers from 3890 to 3899.

New Number / Number Range Description
SENIOR EXPERIENCES: 3900s & 4900s  
4998, 4999
3998, 3999
Honors Thesis
398X, 498X Honors Seminars
4978, 4979
3978, 3979
3970–77 Capstone Project
- includes art studios, recitals, and projects
496X Senior Seminars / Capstone courses
495X Capstone Experiences (like HOD internships, student teaching)
389X Special Topics
388X Internships
387X Practica
3865–69 Field Research
- Includes field study
3860–64 On Campus Research
- Lab research
- Directed lab research
- Honors Research
385X Independent Study
- Includes independent readings
384X Directed Study
- includes directed readings
383X Service Learning
- can also be tracked through course attribute outside of this number range
3400–3599 DO NOT USE: held for new programs needing common tracking
2000–2099 Transfer courses with no equivalent at VU
2000–49 = NoEq that does not count toward major or minor

2050–99 = NoEq that counts toward major or minor
111X Freshman Seminars
1111= A&S First Year Writing Seminars (formerly 115F); 1117=Peabody first year seminars
1001 Commons Seminars
09XX and 08XX Courses that will eventually receive credit
07XX Non-credit experience, e.g. Visions, athletics, marching band.
0700 = VV
  • Letters a,b,c that previously signified course sequences will be replaced; departments should use last digit(s) to signify course sequencing in the curriculum.
  • “L”: Lecture and co-requisite lab that are graded and taught as independent courses will share the same number; the lab course will  be noted with “L”
  • “T” will no longer be used; transfer courses will be tracked through course set-up
  • “W” will be retained for writing courses


New Number / Number Range Description
9999 Dissertation Research
8999 Non-Candidate Research
8000s and 9000s Generally Doctoral Level
7999 Masters Thesis
6000s and 7000s Generally Master’s Level
6000-6009 Transfer no-equivalent
5000s Preparatory courses and Grad/Prof level courses that undergrad can take
  • These are intended as general guidelines only; principles of content clustering almost certainly will result in variance at the professional School level

4. COURSE RENUMBERING CONVENTIONS: CAT/GRAD (Courses with combined undergraduate/graduate enrollments)

Cat/Grad courses should have two separate numbers that are close echoes of one another, e.g. HIST 3325 and HIST 5325. (Matching the numbers makes easy reference.)

All Cat/Grad courses should have separate syllabi, one for undergraduates and one for graduates, and these should reflect the differential workloads expected of the two populations.