Classification of Courses

Course Numbering System

Lower-division Courses

Lower-division courses, numbered from 100 to 299, are designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Certain classes are closed to freshmen who lack the designated prerequisites or whose majors are outside the units offering the courses. This information is available in the course catalog or from the student’s academic advisor.

Upper-division Courses

Upper-division courses, numbered from 300 to 499, are designed primarily for juniors and seniors. Prerequisites and other restrictions should be noted before registration. Courses at the 400 level apply to graduate degree requirements for some graduate programs when approved by the Graduate College.

Graduate-level Courses

Graduate-level courses, numbered from 500 to 799, are designed primarily for graduate students. However, an upper-division undergraduate student may enroll in courses numbered 500-599 with the approval of the student's advisor, course instructor, department chair and dean of the college in which a course is offered. If such a course does not meet an undergraduate graduation requirement, it may be eligible for use in a future graduate program on the same basis as work taken by a nondegree graduate student. Undergraduate students should review additional information about graduate credits earned by undergraduate students.

Omnibus Courses

Omnibus numbers are used for courses offered on an experimental or tutorial basis or for courses in which the content is new or periodically changes. Each academic unit uses that unit's prefixes with omnibus course numbers. The general nature of the work required for a particular omnibus course is consistent from unit to unit but subject matter varies. Omnibus courses often are offered for a variable number of credit hours.

Within the academic catalog and course catalog, abbreviations are frequently used with a colon to introduce specific omnibus course topics, which are shown in the omnibus course abbreviations chart below (e.g., MGT 494 ST: Cultural Factors in International Business).

Omnibus Course Abbreviations






Applied Project

593, 693, 793


Conference and Workshop




583, 683, 783


First-Year Seminar



Honors Colloquium




484, 584, 684, 784



580, 680, 780






592, 692, 792


Reading and Conference

590, 690, 790


Research Methods

500, 600, 700



591, 691, 791


Special Topics

194, 294, 394, 494, 598


Omnibus Undergraduate Courses

191 First-year Seminar (1–3)

Small course emphasizing student-faculty discussion and interaction. Required for first-year students. Must have taken 25 or fewer credit hours. Consulting an academic advisor before enrolling is recommended.

194, 294, 394, 494 Special Topics (1–4)

Covers topics of immediate or special interest to a faculty member and students.

484 Internship (1–12)

Structured practical experience following a contract or plan, supervised by faculty and practitioners.

498 Pro-Seminar (1–7)

Small-group study and research for advanced students within their majors. Major status in the department or instructor approval is required.

499 Individualized Instruction (1–3)

Provides an opportunity for original study or investigation in the major or field of specialization, on an individual and more autonomous basis. Neither a substitute for a catalog course nor a means of taking a catalog course on an individual basis. Requires application well in advance of regular registration with advisor, the instructor with whom the student will work, and the chair of the department offering the course. This course may be taken only by outstanding senior students who have completed at least one semester in residence and whose cumulative GPA is 3.00 or higher in the major or field of specialization. A special class fee may be required.

Honors Courses

The courses listed as 298 and 492 Honors Directed Study, 493 Honors Thesis, 497 Honors Colloquium, and all courses with the HON prefix are reserved for students in Barrett, the Honors College. These courses range from one to six credit hours. Consulting with an honors advisor before enrolling is recommended.

Omnibus Graduate Courses

The following courses are described in the Graduate College announcements and are also available from the respective departments. Under special circumstances, at the dean’s request and through the approval of the executive vice president and provost of the university, arrangements may be made to increase the standard number of credit hours.

500, 600, 700 Research Methods (1–12)

Course on research methods in a specific discipline.

580, 680, 780 Practicum (1–12)

Structured practical experience in a professional program, supervised by a practitioner or faculty member with whom the student works closely.

583, 683, 783 Fieldwork (1–12)

Structured, supervised field experience in a field science or other discipline requiring experience in field techniques.

584, 684, 784 Internship (1–12)

Structured practical experience that follows a contract or plan, supervised by faculty and practitioners.

590, 690, 790 Reading and Conference (1–12)

Independent study in which a student meets regularly with a faculty member to discuss assignments. Course may include such assignments as intensive reading in a specialized area, writing a synthesis of literature on a specified topic or writing a literature review of a topic.

591, 691, 791 Seminar (1–12)

A small class size emphasizing discussion, presentations by students and written research papers.

592, 692 Research (1–12)

Independent study that is expected to lead to a specific project such as a thesis or dissertation, report or publication, in which a student conducts research under the supervision of a faculty member. Assignments might include data collection, experimental work, data analysis or preparation of a manuscript.

593, 693, 793 Applied Project (1–12)

Preparation of a supervised applied project that is a graduation requirement in some professional majors.

594 Conference and Workshop (1–12)

Topical instruction, usually in compressed format, leading to academic credit. Often offered off campus to groups of professionals.

595, 695, 795 Continuing Registration (1)

Used in situations where registration is necessary but where credit is not needed. Replaces arbitrary enrollment in reading and conference, research, thesis, dissertation, etc. Used by students when taking comprehensive examinations, defending theses or dissertations or fulfilling the continuous enrollment requirement in doctoral programs. Credit is not awarded and no grade is assigned.

598 Special Topics (1–4)

Topical courses not offered in regular course rotation (e.g., new courses not in the catalog, courses by visiting faculty, courses on timely topics, and highly specialized courses responding to unique student demand).

599 Thesis (1–12)

Supervised research focused on the preparation of a thesis, including literature review, research, data collection and analysis, and writing.

792 Research (1–15)

Independent study that is expected to lead to a specific project such as a thesis or dissertation, report or publication, in which a student conducts research under the supervision of a faculty member. Assignments might include data collection, experimental work, data analysis or preparation of a manuscript.

799 Dissertation (1–15)

Supervised research focused on preparation of a dissertation, including literature review, research, data collection, analysis and writing.


Other Prefixes

Visiting Student Program

The numbers 597, 697 and 797 in the LAW prefix have been reserved for the visiting student program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Study Abroad Programs

Courses with the prefix SAO are reserved for participants in partnership and exchange study abroad programs through the Study Abroad Office. Such a course is a placeholder that remains on the student’s academic record until the student’s record is updated by the Study Abroad Office following the completion of the student's study abroad program. The SAO-prefixed course will be dropped from the student's record and replaced with the ASU courses, credits and grades equivalent to the coursework completed abroad. Students must register for at least the number of credit hours equivalent to full-time study at ASU (i.e., 12 credits for undergraduate students and nine credits for graduate students during the fall and spring semesters, or one to six credit hours during the summer session). Students participating in an SAO partnership program must register for the subtopic “SAO: Study Abroad Program” whereas participants in an SAO exchange program must register for the subtopic “SAO: Exchange Program”. The SAO placeholder course is not an indication of the level of coursework or the total number of credit hours the student may complete abroad.