Courses at UW-Stout are identified by SUBJECT followed by the COURSE NUMBER: ABCD-XXX. An alpha character assigned by the Provost's Office may be used after the course number to differentiate between specific courses.

Course Prefix

The course prefix is a letter designator for a major division of an academic discipline, subject matter area, or subcategory of knowledge. The prefix is not intended to identify the department in which the course is offered. See approved curricular subject areas and abbreviations.

When course prefixes change or are added, this increases the complexity of the university curriculum, and the potential that students may be confused about how courses apply to majors, prerequisites, or the General Education program. In addition, these changes place an additional burden on Registration and Records and other offices on campus charged with generating and tracking course data. Consequently, we anticipate that course prefix changes would happen infrequently, and typically when a new major program has been approved.

As a best practice, the university creates course prefixes after a thorough examination of various factors which include:

  1. Education purpose and institutional value of making the change.
  2. The need to reflect a substantial array of course offerings within a distinct discipline.
  3. Ramifications in developing degree audits, transcripts, prerequisites and other University record documentation, based on needing to track both the old and new versions of the course(s).
  4. Potential confusion for students in determining major or general education program requirements.
  5. Potential issues with comparability of SCH generation over a period of years in programs and departments, and other data-related concerns.

New course prefixes are created based on a recommendation from the department and Dean, with final approval by the provost. The process begins with a memo from the department to the Dean, which addresses each of the points noted above.

If approved, new course prefixes are then added into the course catalogue system and available for course listings.

Course Number

The three-digit course number indicates the academic level of the course according to the following schedule:

 0xx Non-credit courses
 1xxPrimarily freshman level courses 
 2xxPrimarily sophomore level courses
 3xxPrimarily junior level courses 
 4xxPrimarily senior level courses
 5xxGraduate level with corresponding undergraduate coursework at the 300 level. The course has special objectives for graduate students. 
 6xxGraduate level with corresponding undergraduate coursework at the 400 level. The course has special objectives for graduate students.
 7xxGraduate level for graduate credit only.
 8xxAdvanced graduate level.
 9xxAdvanced graduate level primarily intended for courses beyond the masters degree program level.


When a course is required in a degree program, the course level should indicate when the student is expected to take the course in the program. In cases in which the same course is required in more than one degree program, the department should determine the number in cooperation with the program directors of the programs involved. 

If a course is not required in a degree program, the course level may indicate when students normally take the course based on experience, level of the course relative to other courses, and expectation of students and faculty as to the degree of rigor or advanced level implied by the number.

Care should be exercised in assigning level to be sure that the level is appropriate relative to any prerequisites required and to other courses for which the course is a prerequisite.

The last two digits of the course number are assigned by the department in which the course is housed according to whatever system or rationale the department determines with the following exceptions: CACHSS, CEHHHS, CSTEMM, TRDIS are interdepartmental and transdisciplinary.

Reserved Numbers

 x00 Special/Variable Topic
 x49  Cooperative Education
 x77  International Studies
 x96  One- or two-time offerings
 x97  Elective field experience
 x98  Required field experience
 x99 Independent Study
 735  Problems (Plan B)
 770 Thesis (Plan A)
 795, 895 Graduate Field Study


Breanna Baron, x2424
Eric Konsela, x5424