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Course Nomenclature Directives

Classification number ACD 1501.05
Parent policy Program Quality Assurance Policy
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Registrar
Approval date February 27, 2018
Review date February 2021
Last updated March 24, 2020; Editorial Amendment, April 23, 2019, Substantive Amendment October 23, 2018


The University is committed to ensuring the highest quality of learning for students while maintaining the highest integrity of academic programs. To this end, the University offers an array of courses to meet the academic and professional needs of the local, national and international communities consistent with its mission and mandate. This document defines the nomenclature that is used for courses at the University.


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Scope and authority

This Directive applies to all graduate, and undergraduate courses approved through the academic governance process at the University.
The Registrar, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of this Directive.



  1. Regulations for new courses are described using the nomenclature set out in this document.
  2. All courses are reviewed by Academic Council or a committee of Academic Council to ensure that they are appropriate to the program content and congruent with current usage in the discipline.

General Course Nomenclature

  1. Course: A unit of work in a particular subject normally extending through one academic term, semester, or session, the completion of which carries credit toward the requirements of a degree or diploma.
  2. Subject Codes: A code that most accurately and comprehensively represents the subject matter being taught in a particular course or set of courses. Subject codes must consist of four alphabetic characters. New subject codes must be varied by the Office of the Registrar to ensure the code has not been used for a different subject meaning.
  3. Course Numbers: Course numbers are used according to the practices established by the Course Numbering Convention (see Appendix A below). Course codes must consist of a four digit numeric code and an alphabetic identifier. Normally, the alphabetic identifier distinguishes the course level, or the source delivery, where U represents undergraduate courses, and G represents graduate courses.
  4. Course Code: A subject code coupled with a Course Number forms a unique Course Code. Each Course Code should be under the administrative authority of one academic unit.
  5. Course Titles: Long form course titles are used in the Academic Calendar while short form course titles are used for MyCampus and student transcripts. Titles should reflect the educational content of the course. Short form course titles are limited to 30 characters.
  6. Course Section: A three digit identifier assigned to a specific course section delivered in a particular academic term, Semester, or Session. A Course Section used to designate students enrolled from another institution is a one digit and two alpha identifier.
  7. Course Schedule Type: A code that indicates a course section’s schedule type. For example, a Lecture (LEC), Lab (LAB), Tutorial (TUT), Lecture and Lab (L&L), Thesis (THS), Work Placement (WRK), Seminar (SEM), Field Placement (FLD), Independent Study (IND), Other (OTH).
  8. Course Registration Number (CRN): A unique five digit identifier assigned to a specific course section.  CRNs are used during the registration process to identify the section of a course the student wishes to register for. The first number identified the Semester or Session. For example, 4 represents the fall semester, 7 represents the winter Semester and 1 represents the spring/summer semester.
  9. Course Delivery: The specific scheduling information related to a CRN. This includes the scheduled dates and times, room requirements, and the assigned instructor(s).
  10. Course Instructional Method: A three character field used to identify the instructional method of a course. For example, CLS (in-class delivery), HYB (in-class and online delivery), WB1 (synchronous online delivery), WEB (asynchronous online delivery), IND (independent studies), OFF (offsite), and N/A (not applicable).
  11. Course Credit Hour: A measure used to reflect the relative weight of a given course toward the fulfilment of degree requirements. Unless otherwise indicated, a course normally has a credit hour value of three.
  12. Course Contact Hours: The duration of scheduled instruction. Course contact hours may consist of a variety of instructional methods.

Types of Courses

  1. Challenge Credit: The request for academic credit resulting from experience or knowledge gained elsewhere for which transfer credit cannot be awarded.
  2. Continuance Course: A graduate level course which shows on a graduate student’s transcript. Used to show attendance in the semester as well as for charging graduate fees.
  3. Corequisite Course: A course that must be taken concurrently with the course for which it is required.
  4. Credit Restriction: Occurs where two or more courses are closely related and credit is limited to one of the courses.
  5. Cross-listings: The practice of offering a single course under two different course codes.
  6. Elective Course: A course chosen by a student from a number of course options in a curriculum, as opposed to a required course which the student must take.
  7. Equivalency Course: A course that possesses equivalent content to another course, such that they are considered to be interchangeable across academic programs. Students may only receive credit for one of the courses.
  8. Experiential Learning Course: A course that integrates the strategic, active engagement of students in opportunities to learn by doing and reflecting on those activities, which empowers them to apply their theoretical knowledge and creativity to real-world challenges, including those in workplace and volunteer settings.

    Well-planned, supervised and assessed experiential learning activities enrich student learning and promote intellectual development, interdisciplinary thinking, social engagement, cultural awareness, teamwork, and other communication and professional skills.
  9. Independent Study Course: A course that is approved and offered in an alternate supervisory format, such as a reading course, a directed studies course, a directed studies project course, a thesis project course, or an independent studies course.
  10. Prerequisite Course: A course that must be successfully completed prior to commencing a second course for which it is required.
  11. Required Course: A course that all students following a particular academic program and catalog are required to take.
  12. Special Topics Course: A course that addresses a current or timely topic, that are in a "pilot" phase before being offered on an ongoing basis, or that are known to be one time offerings. Special Topics Course offerings can vary from semester to semester which allows for the subject of offering to change at the discretion of the Instructor. Typically, these courses are approved with a general topic area.
  13. Transfer Credit: Academic credit granted for work completed at an institution other than the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Administration of Courses

  1. Billing Hours: A measure used for charging fees to a course.
  2. Campus Code: A three alpha character code used to identify the campus where the course will be delivered. For example, UON –North Oshawa, UOD –Downtown Oshawa, UOW –Online.
  3. Course Link Identifier: A one alpha character and one digit code used to identify a course’s requirement of registering for a concurrent section of the same course. For example, the link identifier ensures a student properly registers for a lecture and an associated tutorial/lab.
  4. Grade Mode: Identifies the method of grading applied to the course. For example, N – Normal alpha grades, P – Pass/Fail grade.
  5. Learning Management System (LMS) Combining: The practice of combining course section shells in Blackboard.
  6. Moribund Courses: A course that has not been taught in the previous 48 months. Moribund courses will be retained in a course archive. A moribund course does not appear in the Academic Calendar.
    1. Moribund Course Code: A course code that is no longer in use but historically has been used at the university. A moribund course code can only be re-activated with the equivalent course content at a later date, using a New Course Proposal. The repurposing of moribund course codes is not feasible due to the negative effects upon historic academic records.

Monitoring and review

This document will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Registrar, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review these Directives.

Relevant legislation

University of Ontario Institute of Technology Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 8, Sch. 0

Related policies, procedures & documents

Institutional Quality Assurance Policy and related procedures

Academic Council Handbook

Undergraduate Academic Calendar

Graduate Academic Calendar