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How to Read Online Course Descriptions

       Course Description information available through this menu is in a format slightly modified from the print catalog.   Here are two examples that together contain almost all of the possible types of information.

Top row for each entry contains the course number, Title, Number of semester hours (credits), and full name of the related subject.
The course titles listed in this table may sometimes be abbreviated from the official print catalog names.  They match the titles that appear in the online class schedule, which must fit in limited space
PHYS 161 General Physics I 3 semester hours Physics
Course Description:    First of three related courses (with PHYS 262 and PHYS 263) A Calculus-based general physics course, required for students majoring in engineering or one of the physical sciences. This sequence is planned as a unified course of study with continuity of presentation across the semester boundaries. It is strongly recommended that students plan to complete the sequence in consecutive semesters. PHYS 161: Mechanics and Heat. Fundamental laws of motion, force and energy, particle collisions, rotational mechanics, gravitation, thermodynamics, and kinetic theory. (NSND) (CE-TP and G for PHYS 161) PREREQUISITES: MATH 181 and concurrent enrollment in MATH 182, or consent of department. Three hours lecture, one hour discussion each week.
SS 101 SOCIAL SCIENCE I 3 semester hours Social Science
Course Description:    The nature of society and the manner in which the individual and the social group interact, with emphasis on the role of the individual as a family member, as a consumer-producer, and as an effective participant in community life. Analysis of race relations, international conflicts, and consequences of social change. Makes use of those findings, insights, and approaches from sociology, psychology, political science, and economics that contribute to a better understanding of human relations, especially the significance of the student's own participation in everyday living. (BSSD[M]) (R-only) Assessment levels: ENGL 101/101A, READ 110. Three hours each week.

The lower box for each entry contains several items of information.   Immediately following the label "Course Description:" is the complete catalog description for this course.   The LAST line in this box generally describes the number of hours this course typically meets each week during a 15-week semester, and must be scaled appropriately when the course is offered in a more compressed time frame.  For example, a 5-week Summer course would need three times this number of hours each week.

In between these items will be any additional coded information that might apply to the course, followed by any Assessment levels or Prerequisite requirements that must be satisfied before registering for this course.   Here is a legend bar that appears regularly throughout the listings, followed by some explanation of each item...

ARTD-Arts   BSSD-Behav. & Social Sci.   HUMD-Humanities    NSLD-Nat. Sci. with Lab   NSND-Nat. Sci. NO lab   [M] - Global & Cultural Prospective
CE -- Credit by Exam available     (...only)  -- offered only on indicated campus(es)     G - Germantown    R - Rockville    TP - Takoma Park/Silver Spring

Four capital letters in parentheses -- like (NSND) in our first example above -- is a code showing that this course will apply as General Education distribution credit in a particular category.  In that first example, NSND stands for Natural Science NO-lab Distribution.   Other possible distribution categories are listed in the upper row on the legend bar above.  In some cases a letter M, signifying multi-cultural, might also appear here in square brackets, as in our second example where (BSSD[M]) indicates a Behavioral and Social Science course that satisfies the multi-cultural distribution requirements.   See the General Education pages for more details on these categories and requirements.

The letters CE, in parentheses, denote a course that is offered through Credit by Examination.  If a campus designator appears inside the same parentheses, this indicates that Credit by Exam is available only at that location.   So the (CE -- TP and G) in our Physics example means that Credit by Exam for this particular course is offered only at Germantown and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, but the course itself is still available in standard format at all campuses.

There do exist courses and programs that are taught only at one of our campuses.  These are indicated by a code like the (R-only) in our Social Science example.  If a course that is taught at only one location is also available Credit by Exam, then both indicators would be shown as for instance (G-only)(CE) -- i.e. two separate sets of parentheses.

"Prerequisites" or "Corequisites" are College courses (or other knowledge) required prior to, or at the same time as, the listed course. Our Physics example is a mathematically demanding course in the transfer sequence for Engineers, and hence lists one Math course that must be mastered first, and a second that must be taken no later than the same semester as the Physics course.

"Assessment levels" generally appear only on courses which have no explicit prerequisites. These are intended to provide guidance to the level of language and math skills that are needed to optimize one's likelihood of success in the listed course, and are related to outcomes of various assessment tests taken by new students.  See the Assessment and Placement pages for more details on this testing program, including sample test questions.  Our Social Science example indicates that this introductory survey course has no particular expectation concerning Math skills, but makes use of language skills appropriate for students whose placement scores show they are prepared for enrollment in ENGL101 and READ110.  It does not require that these two courses must be completed before taking the SS course.