Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog 
2023-2024 Cal State East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Courses

Course Numbering System

The course numbering system indicates the level at which courses are offered.  Use the “Course Descriptions ” for individual course detail.

Course Number Level of Instruction
000-099 Courses not for baccalaureate degree credit
100-299 Lower-division courses
300-499 Upper-division courses
500-599 Post-baccalaureate and professional level courses
600-699 Graduate level courses
700-799 Doctoral level courses



Course Descriptions

Course descriptions briefly describe the content or subject matter to be covered and provide additional information on units of credit, the level of instruction (see the course numbering system) and prerequisites and/or co-requisites.  

Students may not earn credit in a cross-listed course a second time under an alternate prefix.

Special Course Numbers

The following course numbers are reserved across all prefixes:

  • 196G, 396G: Provisional GE
  • 490 and 690:  Independent study
  • 493, 693:  Project
  • 495, 695:  Practicum
  • 497, 697:  Issues in or Special Topics
  • 398, 498, and 698: Co-operative Education
  • 499:  Capstone (senior thesis)
  • 691:  University Thesis
  • 692:  Comprehensive Exam Review
  • 699:  Department Thesis

If faculty so choose the use of postscripts for their courses, note the following postscripts (also referred to as suffixes) shall be reserved across all course numbers:

  • L (Lab courses)
  • T (Transitional/Temporary/Bridge courses for quarter-to-semester)
  • Y (Activity courses)

Postscripts are limited to the use of letters A - J, with course postscripts listed in alphabetical order for sequence courses.


Course Description Icons

Students may see one of icons located in a specific course description.  These icons designate which overlay or graduation requirement the course fulfills.  To read about the specific overlay associated with a specific course, students can go to the General Education Program  chapter for more detailed information.

Diversity & Multicultural Overlay

Social Justice Overlay

Sustainability Overlay

 Second Composition Requirement

 American Institutes Requirement


Non-catalog Courses

Each semester, Cal State East Bay offers a variety of new courses whose descriptions are not yet in the catalog. Such courses carry full credit as regular courses in the curriculum. Generally, these courses will be numbered 497 or 697; new general education courses will be numbered 196 or 396. Students, therefore, should check with their advisors to confirm which degree requirements these new courses satisfy and not hesitate to take them.

Descriptions of new, non-catalog courses appear in the Class Schedule each semester. A new course may be passed by examination or challenged only after it has been listed in the Class Schedule and has been or is being taught.


Credit Hour/Unit Value

On July 1, 2020, the United States Department of Education changed its definition of the student credit hour. Fundamentally, the change shifted responsibility for credit hour compliance to the accreditation agency and/or to the state.

As such, the CSU’s accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), has published its own updated definition of student credit hour and related accreditation processes. The new regulations no longer require an accrediting agency to review an institution’s credit hour policy and procedures. It does require the WSCUC to review the institution’s definition of credit hour and an institutions’ processes and policies for ensuring the credit hour policy is followed.

The CSU credit hour definition is consistent with federal law (600.2 and 600.4 revised July 1, 2020) and the requirements of the WSCUC. The CSU defines a credit hour as an amount of work represented in stated learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. Such evidence is an institutionally established equivalency that:

  1. Approximates not less than:
    1. One hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
    2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph 1.a. of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours; and
  2. Permits an institution, in determining the amount of work associated with a credit hour, to take into account a variety of delivery methods, measurements of student work, academic calendars, disciplines and degree levels. Institutions have the flexibility to award a greater number of credits for courses that require more student work.


As in the past, a credit hour is assumed to be a 50-minute (not 60-minute) period. In some courses, such as those offered online, in which “seat time” does not apply, a credit hour may be measured by an equivalent amount of work, as demonstrated by student achievement.

For purposes of accreditation, all CSU campuses are required to develop, communicate and implement procedures for regular, periodic review of this credit hour policy to ensure that credit hour assignments are accurate, reliable and consistently applied. WSCUC published new draft guidelines that took effect in June 2021. Campuses are responsible for publishing a clearly stated practice or process that ensures they are in compliance with the student credit hour definition.  Cal State East Bay’s definition is in the Glossary of Terms .


Auditing Courses

An auditor (an enrolled student or non-enrolled individual) pays the same fees and enjoys the same instructional privileges as a student enrolled for credit, but is not held responsible for examinations or term papers. Regular class attendance is expected, and enrollment as an auditor may be deleted if the expected attendance is not observed. If students wish to enroll in a course as an auditor, they must obtain permission from the instructor of the course. Enrollment as an auditor is permitted only after students otherwise eligible to enroll on a credit basis have had an opportunity to do so. Once enrolled in a course as an auditor, students may not change their enrollment to a credit basis unless such a change is requested no later than the last day to add classes. Students, who are enrolled in a course for credit, may not change to an audit basis after the Add/Drop period has ended.


Community Engagement Courses

Community Engagement Courses include a variety of community-based activities* that enhance student learning, benefit the common good**, and take place in collaboration with community partner organizations. Courses vary in how the community-based assignment is integrated into the course.  

*Community-Based Activities - Assignments at/with/for an external organization and connected to course learning or major/department learning outcomes
**Common Good - The material, cultural or institutional interests that members of society have in
common, e.g. arts, civic engagement, community health/well-being, economic development, education, equity, sustainability.


A co-requisite course is a course that must be taken concurrently in the same semester, or has been previously completed.


Credit Equivalency

A semester course that is replacing a quarter course(s) within a department, where both can be considered equivalent for major requirement, articulation, and academic renewal purposes.  If a course is equivalent, students who took the quarter version of the course, and passed, cannot then register for and receive credit for the semester version of the course.


Cross-listed Courses

Cross-listed courses are two identical courses (number, title, units, classification and description are the same), but each have differing course prefixes. Cross-listed courses can belong to differing departments or the same department.  An example could be: ABC 123 is cross listed with XYZ 123 - they are the same course except for their prefixes. Cross-listed course-pairs are identified in their corresponding course descriptions.


Dual-listed Courses

Dual-listed courses are those that are identical in content with undergraduate and graduate students taught in the same classroom, with the same instructor, and at the same time.  However, the course requirements will be different for the undergraduate and graduate students.  The undergraduate course should have an upper division course number (i.e., 300-499); the graduate course will have a 600-level course number.


Independent Study Course

An Independent Study course is a program of study, which is above and beyond the regular offerings of a department. The number of such a course is 490 and 690. Such a course is considered as elective credit in the program of a student working for a specified objective.

Note: Students may apply no more than 9 units of independent study in the major department and 8 units in other departments to a baccalaureate degree.

The privilege of Independent Study is limited to undergraduate students who have at least a 2.0 (C) grade point average and graduate students with at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average in all courses in the field or department in which the Independent Study is to be taken, both at this institution and in any work attempted at other institutions. If students are on academic alert, they are ineligible for Independent Study. Independent Study is restricted to students who are able to work with minimal supervision. No faculty member is required to teach an Independent Study course, and arrangements must be made to determine how the faculty’s teaching overload (if any) will be made up.

Students may obtain applications for Independent Study (Special Registration Petition) in departmental offices. The application, with signatures of approval, is to be returned to the department office during the enrollment period for that term.

A course offered by Independent (or Individual) Study shall be taught only by a professor in the department offering the credit or by a professor the department judges to be competent to teach the particular course.


Individual Study Course

An Individual Study course is a course that is listed in the Cal State East Bay Catalog, but is not being offered during the term in which a student must gain course credit to complete a specified objective. Permission to take such a course may be granted only in cases of necessity, and arrangements must be made to determine how the faculty’s teaching overload (if any) will be made up. Students may obtain applications for Individual Study (Special Registration Petition) in departmental offices. They then return the application, with signatures of approval, to the departmental office during the enrollment period for that semester.


Prefixes (Course, Dept, College)

Prefixes are abbreviations for colleges, departments, and courses of study. Click on this PDF link for course, department, and college prefix definitions: (1) PREFIX LIST 2020-21  



A prerequisite is another course or group of courses containing necessary background material for full understanding of the course content or a non-course requisite. Some courses have prerequisites. If a course has a required prerequisite (as noted in the course description) it must be successfully completed before enrolling in the course.

Note: While every effort has been made to include prerequisite courses within programs, prerequisite units may not be included in the total program units and therefore should be considered when planning a program roadmap.  Consult with an academic/faculty advisor or department for further information concerning prerequisites and program roadmaps.

Service Learning Courses

Service learning is a distinct type of community engagement. Substantive community-based* learning and the community partnerships are a highly integrated and critical component of the student learning experience. Course learning focuses equally on the community impact, collaboration with the partner organizations, and student learning specifically related to civic learning, equity, social justice or responsibility.

*Community-Based Activities - Assignments at/with/for an external organization and connected to course learning or major/department learning outcomes