The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

91° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA changes course numbering

The UA’s new course numbering system is replacing all general education class designations in an attempt to make registration easier.

“”The problems with articulation (transferring credits) and GRO (the grade replacement oppportunity) have been around for a few years and it always annoyed the advisers because they have to deal with it … but it really became a problem last summer,”” said Tom Fleming, chair of the University-wide General Education Council and associate professor in astronomy.

He came to the university as a faculty member in 1995, and saw that students needed a more generalized system for designating courses.

Members of the council created a road map detailing the different class options for students, but they soon realized the problems with the system were more extensive and it needed more substantive alterations.

Freshmen registering under the new system during the summer saw all natural sciences 102 classes or all individuals and societies 101 classes with the same general heading and course description, making it impossible to know the differences between courses with the same heading.

This was why the numbering was changed, Fleming said.

“”They had no idea if they were taking a Chinese course, or an African course, or an Islam course,”” Fleming said.

Now the department that offers each class will have it identified under its name. For instance, Fleming’s natural sciences 102 class will now be numbered as an astronomy 170 class.

Instead of having different numbers like 102 and 104 distinguishing between classification of courses, all classes that were labeled as 101s contain an “”A”” suffix, everything with 102 has a “”B,”” and 104 has a “”C.”” The Office of the Registrar has reserved three 100-level numbers for general education courses: 150s are individuals and societies, 160s are traditions and cultures, 170s are natural sciences. If a department offers more than one class that falls under the guidelines, it will have another number assessed.

Fleming’s course would then be labeled astronomy 170B-1.

These were the least-used numbers for 100-level classes and those courses that did use those numbers have been relabeled to ensure only general education courses are enumerated as such.

The general education program currently in use began in 1998. Before that, each individual college had their own set of general education courses, which made transferring between majors much more difficult, according to Fleming.

But the interdisciplinary focus the university required of the general education units placed several different classes under the same course title. This presented problems for transfer students and those utilizing the GRO, where it was unclear what classes counted toward what requirements.  

Any class taken from before, and up to, this semester will still be classified as a natural sciences, individual and societies or traditions and cultures course.

“”In another four years, we won’t hear the words TRAD and INDV anymore but we still have to use those terms in discussing things,”” Fleming said. “”Upperclassmen are just going to have to realize, the numbers are going to change but the classes are equivalent and the registrar knows that.””

Fleming has been addressing university advisers to make sure the change goes smoothly and taking questions if they need to be addressed.

“”It will take some time to adjust to the new Tier 1 numbering system and, undoubtedly, we will face some unexpected problems. But in the long run, I am certain that the benefits of adopting this new numbering system will far outweigh any unintended consequences,”” Fleming wrote in his statement to advisers around campus.

More to Discover
Activate Search