Introduction to Course Listing Notations

The Fall Term Course Guide is published by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, University of Michigan, G411 Mason Hall, 764-6810; Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1027.

This edition contains 100- through 500-level course descriptions provided by the instructors on or before March 18. While every effort is made to make the Course Guide complete, gaps are inevitable. LS&A Academic Information and Publications continues to accept descriptions after the March 18, 1998 deadline, and these late descriptions will be available as received on the LS&A Student Academic Affairs Homepage at:

An accurate and current course description helps students in their academic planning. Descriptions are published in the LS&A Course Guide for distribution to LS&A students at least one week before early registration. They are prefaced with the course number, title, prerequisite(s), and other information from the updated LS&A Bulletin.

Descriptions generally begin with a statement of the subjects (topics, themes, methods, and include any recommended special background that is not already listed in the course prerequisite). Instructors usually indicate the basis of student evaluation (exams, papers, etc.); the texts which will be required; and the method(s) of instruction (lecture, lab, discussion).

A Sample Course Listing


1250/2Environ. Studies 353. 3Energy, Entropy, and Environment. 4 Two and one-half years of high school mathematics, or any college course in mathematics or natural science. 5 (3). 6(NS). 7(BS).

  1. The course number.
  2. Indication that this is a cross-listed course with another department or program, giving the name of the cross-listing unit and the course number in that unit.
  3. The course title. For cross-listed courses the course title is always the same in each cross-listing unit.
  4. Indication of a course prerequisite. Sometimes, but not in this case, this will be the listing of a specific course or courses. Remember that not all courses have prerequisites; such courses are open to all students.
  5. Indication of the number of credits granted for successful completion of the course. Credits, also called credit hours, are the same as Michigan Semester Hours (MSH).
  6. Designation of the area distribution category into which the class falls. In this instance, Physics 250, a course which is also listed and may be elected as Environmental Studies 353, earns distribution credit in the area of Natural Science (NS). Other courses may earn distribution credit in the areas of Humanities (HU), Social Science (SS), Mathematical and Symbolic Analysis (MSA), or Creative Expression (CE) or they may be designated as Excluded (Excl) from counting toward the distribution requirements for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.
  7. BS indicates that this course can be used in the 60 credits of approved courses in the physical and natural sciences and/or mathematics required for the Bachelor of Science degree.

If this course were approved to meet the QR requirement, the designation (QR/1) or (QR/2) would appear in the course header information.

If this course were approved to meet the language requirement, the designation (LR) would appear in the course header information.

If this course were approved to meet the introductory composition requirement, the designation (Introductory Composition) would appear in the course header information.

COURSE NUMBERS: The University numbers courses 100 through 999. This numbering system does not always mean that courses with higher numbers are more difficult. Rather, the number system reflects degrees of specialization. Courses numbered on the 100 and 200 levels are usually designed for students with little previous knowledge of a subject, and are often taken by first-year students. In many cases such courses must be taken before more specialized courses on the 300 and 400 levels can be taken, but this is not always true, and you should study the requirements of different departments before deciding which courses to take.

RENUMBERED COURSES have their course numbers followed by a former course number in parentheses. When renumbering or reorganization has left the division unchanged, only the previous course number is given; if the division has also changed, the previous division name and course number appear. A reorganized or renumbered course cannot be repeated for credit without special permission.

CROSS-LISTED COURSES are sponsored by more than one department or program and may be elected through any of the participating departments. Cross-listings are denoted by a slash appearing between departmental titles.

Descriptions for cross-listed courses only appear in the "home" department, but the course title and instructor's name will appear under the other department(s).

COURSE TITLES are in bold type, and follow the course number.

PREREQUISITES appear immediately after the course title.

EXCLUDED COMBINATIONS OF ELECTIONS are designated in the course listing of affected courses.

THE CREDIT SYMBOL denotes the official undergraduate credits that may be earned for the course. Credit (sometimes called "credit hour") is granted in semester hours. This is a unit of academic progress. The number of credits assigned to a course corresponds (more or less) to the number of contact hours you have per week with the instructor in the classroom. You should note that credits are NOT a good indicator of how difficult a course may be or the amount of the workload in the class. For example, it's quite possible for a three-credit upper-level course to be more challenging and time-consuming than a four-credit introductory course. LS&A students ordinarily need to complete 120 credits in order to graduate.

INSTRUCTORS for the term are indicated in parentheses at the end of the description.

THE AREA DISTRIBUTION designation is approved by the LS&A Curriculum Committee. A course may be approved with the designation Natural Science (NS), Social Science (SS), Humanities (HU), Mathematical and Symbolic Analysis (MSA), Creative Expression (CE), Language Requirement (LR), Introductory Composition (INTRODUCTORY COMPOSITION), or Excluded (Excl). Courses approved with the designation "Language Requirement" or "Introductory Composition" may not be used as part of an area distribution plan. If an introductory language course is designated "Excluded" (Excl), it may not be used to satisfy the LS&A language requirement. Courses designated "Excluded" (Excl) may not be included in an area distribution plan.

COURSES FULFILLING CERTAIN COLLEGE REQUIREMENTS ARE SO LISTED. (BS) means that the course may be used toward the 60 approved credits required for the B.S. degree. Courses meeting or partially meeting the Quantitative Reasoning requirement are designated (QR/1) or (QR/2). Courses with Standard Approval for meeting the Race & Ethnicity (R&E) requirement are so indicated. Other courses may meet the R&E or QR requirements on a term-by-term basis and are listed in the introductory pages of the LSA Course Guides.

A SPECIAL GRADING PATTERN associated with a particular course is indicated in the course listing. Some courses offered by the College are offered MANDATORY CREDIT/NO CREDIT, and the notation "Credit" or "No Credit" is posted on the transcript.

EXPERIENTIAL, INDEPENDENT STUDY, AND TUTORIAL courses are so designated. For information concerning LS&A policies about counting credit earned in Experiential, Independent Study, and Tutorial courses toward a degree, see the LS&A Bulletin.

REPETITION of a course that varies in content from term to term is permitted only under certain conditions. When a department or program has a policy about the repetition of a course for credit, that policy is included in the course listing. The general statement "May be repeated for credit with permission" usually means "With permission of a concentration advisor." In all other instances, a student must get permission from both the department or program and the Academic Standards Board to repeat a course for credit. Generally, a course may be elected for credit once only.

LABORATORY OR OTHER SPECIAL FEES are indicated if known, but are subject to change without notice.


Information about the cost of books/materials for courses and about various course waitlist procedures is keyed as explained below. This information can be found at the end of individual descriptions preceding the instructor's name. The cost information comes first, followed by the waitlist information.


The books/materials for this course:

1 Cost less than $50.

2 Cost $50 or more, but less than $100.

3 Cost $100 or more, but less than $150.

4 Cost $150 or more.


If the course is closed through Touch-Tone Registration, you should:

1=Get on the WAITLIST through Touch-Tone Registration, and then attend the first class meeting. Policies and procedures for handling the waitlist will be explained there.

2=Go to the department office to get on a WAITLIST, and then attend the first class meeting. Policies and procedures for handling the waitlist will be explained there.

3=Visit the faculty office to see the instructor about getting an OVERRIDE into the course.

4=Wait until classes start, and then attend the first class meeting. Policies and procedures for issuing overrides will be explained there.


A NOTE ON CLASS SIZE: Courses numbered on the 100 and 200 level, especially those which are prerequisites for more advanced courses, often have large enrollments. Class size in such courses can range as high as 500, although enrollment of 100 to 200 students is more common. To reduce size, many of these introductory courses are taught in sections. Each section covers the same material but has a different instructor and meeting time. For example, sections of Introductory Composition are limited to 22 students, and language sections are limited to 25 (much smaller in some languages, e.g., 15 in Japanese). In addition, many of the larger courses on the 100 and 200 levels set aside a weekly class or two for small discussion sections led by teaching assistants. The presence of teaching assistants in such courses should not deter first-year students from trying to get to know the professor. Most professors welcome contact with freshmen and are troubled by the tendency of large classes to make contacts more difficult for students. First-year students should always feel free to see professors during their office hours and should not suppose that they must have specific (and profound) questions in mind before visiting.

A Cautionary Note on CRISP Waitlists

Touch-tone registration Waitlists that begin when a course or section has filled with registered students serve a number of uses for faculty, departments, and the College. From the students' perspective, however, there is one important fact to know about how waitlists work. All students should be aware that there is no general rule that when overrides are issued for a class they must be written for students as they appear in numerical order on the waitlist. The waitlist exists to let the faculty member know who and how many students have waitlisted a particular section or course. And yes, the student names do appear on the list in the chronological order in which students added themselves to the list. No individual faculty member or department is obligated, however, to issue overrides by this numerical ordering. It may be felt that other criteria weigh more heavily. For example, class standing (senior, junior, etc.) or whether the student is a concentrator in the department or not may be considered more important than what number a student is on the waitlist. In fact, the only general guess one can reasonably make is that the rule of strictly following the waitlist number is pretty much restricted to lower-level courses that largely enroll first-year students (not all lower-level courses do this).

What does this mean, then, for a student who is about to complete a touch-tone registration? It means that having what appears to be a very good (low) number apparently assuring a place in a class may be, in fact, no guarantee at all. The best advice, then, is NOT to exit touch-tone registration without a full schedule of classes that could be lived with for the coming term. This may seem unnecessarily pessimistic because of the suggestion that not all students may end up with their preferred choices in class scheduling, but the advice is intended to be helpful because it offers the most protection.

Policy on Class Attendance

A. It is critical that students attend classes from the beginning of the term. Even though students may be registered officially for a course, departments may give away a student's place in a course if the student does not attend:

At the same time, departments are not obligated to withdraw students officially from the course, even though the student has been informed that his/her place in a course has been taken away.

Students are responsible for the accuracy of their schedules and must be sure that all drops are processed through Touch-Tone Registration during the normal drop/add period.

B. Students are expected to attend classes regularly. When the instructor considers the number of absences excessive, that is, when a student's absence from a course endangers that student's satisfactory academic progress, the instructor may send a written report on the case to the appropriate advising office.

Concerted absence from any appointed duty by a class or by any number of students together will be regarded as improper conduct, and those participating in such action shall be liable to disciplinary action.

Members of athletic teams must present to each instructor, prior to each absence because of the membership on athletic teams, a written statement signed by the appropriate authority specifying the exact date of any such proposed absence.

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