Numbering for courses changing

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  • Next fall, Marquette will change its course numbering system to better reflect systems used across the country.
  • The numbers will range from 1 to 9999.
  • The system will allow the university to order courses according to difficulty and school level.
  • Students will be able to compare the new numbers to their equivalents in the previous system with an online "translator" and in the notes section of each course in CheckMarq.

Marquette students may be slightly confused when they log on to CheckMarq next month to register for fall 2009 classes. That's because all of the course numbers will be completely different.

Beginning this fall, course numbers will range from 1 to 9999.

Peggy Bloom, vice provost for undergraduate programs and teaching, said the university's current system is very idiosyncratic and unreflective of the prevailing procedure across the country.

For example, at many other universities, course numbers below 100 are considered developmental courses that do not count for college credit.

"I had been concerned our system would put students at a disadvantage when they transfer or apply to graduate school," Bloom said. "We want our numbering system to be the same as the general national practice."

The new scheme will group classes by difficulty and school level. For example, courses 1000 to 1999 will signify introductory lower-division undergraduate courses, 6000 to 6999 will be master's level courses and 8000 to 8999 will indicate doctoral level courses.

The increased range of numbers will ensure the university does not run out of numbers for new courses — a problem that was becoming a reality with the current system, Bloom said.

Some doctoral classes used numbers lower than undergraduate courses because of the lack of available numbers, Bloom said.

Georgia McRae, the university registrar, said the move will give the university much more flexibility.

"This is planning for the future," McRae said. "We won't have to make any more changes for many years."

The updating of the system also allows departments to group courses by content, McRae said.

Certain types of courses will use a similar range of numbers or the same last three digits, Bloom said. To illustrate, internship course numbers will end in 986, whether it is in the 1000s, 2000s and so on.

Another new feature is the "delivery method" listed for each course on CheckMarq. It tells how the course is taught, such as online, a mix of in-class and online, or involving fieldwork, McRae said.

The university will delete some courses that were not being offered but had yet to be taken off the books, Bloom said.

The re-numbering will not affect credits students have already filled, Bloom said. Upper division courses taken will still count as upper division courses and the same for lower division courses.

The only downside of the change is getting used to the new system, McRae said.

"The learning curve is the hardest part," she said.

However, the university is working to make the transition smooth. The notes section for each course on CheckMarq will list the new number's equivalent in the old system, McRae said. In addition, the university will offer a course "translator" online so students can compare old course numbers with the new counterparts.

The online link to the Snapshot of the Schedule of Classes for fall 2009 should be available March 9, McRae said. Advising for the fall semester begins March 16, and early registration for fall classes starts March 23.

Kate Scanlan, a first year graduate student in the physical therapy doctoral program, said she has always wanted Marquette to employ a course numbering system more aligned with the rest of the country. Seeing more differentiation in course level will benefit the university, she said.

Having to adapt to the new numbering scheme may annoy older students accustomed to the current system, but Scanlan believes the change is worth it.

"Overall, the new system will be better for the university in the long run," Scanlan said.

Check out a list of the changes to the course numbering system here:

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