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    Mar 03, 2024  
American University Catalog 2023-2024 
American University Catalog 2023-2024

Course Information

Course Names

Each course is designated by a subject code (prefix) and number (code). Subject codes identify particular academic disciplines or teaching units within the university curriculum; see Subject Codes  for the full list of codes and descriptions. Numbers identify the level of the course as follows: 001-099, Non-Credit Courses; 100-299 Introductory or Foundation Undergraduate Courses; 300-499, Upper-Level or Advanced Undergraduate Courses; 500-599, Graduate Courses that also allow qualified, advanced undergraduates; 600-899, Graduate Courses. No undergraduate students may take 600-799 graduate courses except under specific circumstances where the courses are crosslisted with undergraduate courses as part of a combined bachelor’s/master’s program or by specific permission of the associate dean of the academic unit.


The catalog includes the full title of each course. Student transcripts utilize a 30-character abbreviation of the course title. If the catalog also indicates “Topics vary by section,” then the student transcript also includes a 30-character version of the specific section’s title.

Credit Hours

The number in parentheses within the header of a course listing indicates the credit hour value of the course. The value can be fixed or variable. American University uses the Carnegie Classification definition of a credit hour; see Undergraduate Academic Regulations  for more information.

Course Description

This is a concise record of a course’s content.

AU Core

Undergraduate courses may be designated as fulfilling a particular aspect of AU Core requirements; see AU Core Curriculum  for more information.


A crosslist indicates other courses, varying by subject code, academic level, or credit hours, that may by scheduled to meet with this course.

Usually Offered

If provided, the “Usually Offered” information indicates most likely scheduling of fall, spring, or summer terms.


Typically, American University courses are not repeatable for credit, meaning that a student who received academic credit cannot receive additional credit for the same course. Courses that do not conform to the typical expectation include an indicator of their repeatability.


If a course has specific limitations on its options for student grading, it will be designated as “A-F only” or “Pass/Fail only.” Additionally, courses eligible for a temporary grade of IP (Course in progress) are designated “IP-eligible.”


Many courses call for a minimum background of knowledge, indicated by prerequisite course entries. Titles and numbers are those of American University courses; equivalent courses satisfactorily completed at other accredited institutions also meet prerequisite requirements by transfer credit. Students are responsible for entering the class with the required competence. Thus, prerequisites warn students of the knowledge they are to bring with them in order to meet the expected standards of performance. Prerequisites may include specific course(s) (e.g., ECON-100), courses from a department or subject (e.g., two Philosophy courses), and designation of minimum undergraduate class standing (e.g., junior standing).


Prerequisite/Concurrent indicates a course where student self-registration requires either prior completion of the indicated course (see prerequisite) or requires concurrent registration in the indicated course.


Corequisite indicates a course where student self-registration requires concurrent registration in the indicated course. The most common example at AU is a lecture/lab combination.


Restrictions limit student self-registration for a course to only students who meet certain electronically defined criteria (e.g., school, academic program, cohort).


Permission requires electronic authorization by a designated approver prior to a student’s self-registration.


Recommendations are suggested prior courses, which are coded into the student registration system but will not prevent student self-registration.


Notes are course information not covered in the above categories, to help guide student self-registration. Examples include guidance on when the course should be taken in a student’s time at AU, directions to consult an advisor or program director, and clarification on the language of instruction for courses with world language subject codes taught in English.


A syllabus describing the general nature and scope of each course is available from the teaching unit (the department, program, or office) offering the course for three years.