Inventory Change:
System glossary
Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin
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Official Publications | Request for Change in Course Inventory

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Course inventory.
The course inventory is the set of courses that the University is authorized to teach by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A new course or a change to an existing course must be recorded in the inventory before it may appear in a University catalog or Course Schedule.
Catalogs.
The undergraduate and graduate catalogs contain detailed information about all of the University's academic programs. They contain degree requirements as well as a list of all the courses in the course inventory.
Course Schedule.
The Course Schedule contains information about specific classes, including meeting times, instructors, and unique numbers, for a given semester.
Course number.
The following is a summary of important facts regarding course numbers. Please see General Information for more about course numbers.

Each course in a field of study is identified by a number made up of three digits or three digits and a letter. The first digit of the course number indicates the credit value of the course in semester hours. Courses numbered 201 through 299 have a value of two semester hours; 301 through 399, a value of three semester hours; and so on.

Courses can also have multiple semester-hour values (for example, MUS 107, 207, and 307).

Course numbers may only be used once. For example, if 329 was used 50 years ago, you cannot use it now, nor can you use any related values, such as 429 or 229.

The last two digits of a course number reflect the level of the course. 01 through 19 denotes lower-division; 20 through 79, upper-division; 80 through 99, graduate.

Some courses end with a letter suffix. Most letters have no intrinsic meaning. They simply give the University more course numbers to choose from. There is also no relationship between a course with a suffix and one without. English 325 and English 325K, for example, are considered entirely different courses. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. The following letters may only be used as indicated:
A and B can only be used to signify each half of a two-semester course.

X, Y, and Z can only be used to signify each third of a three-semester course.

H can only be used to signify honors courses at the undergraduate level; H may be used for nonhonors courses at the graduate level.

I and O are never used.
Deadlines

The deadline to submit inventory changes to Official Publications for the following academic year is always November 1. An academic year begins with fall and includes the following spring and summer. For changes needed in fall 2008, spring 2009, and summer 2009, request forms must be submitted by November 1, 2007.

Most forms are processed by the end of December so that changes can be reflected in the fall Course Schedule and the next undergraduate or graduate catalog.

When considering changes to the course inventory, you should think in terms of the entire academic year. For example, if you need to add a course that will be taught in the spring, it must be added to the course inventory for the fall semester. This does not mean that the course has to be taught in the fall.

Deans can set earlier deadlines for their departments.

The November 1 deadline helps Official Publications meet its own deadline to submit inventory changes to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board each year. The following kinds of changes are reported to the Coordinating Board:

  • Adding, dropping, or reinstating a course
  • Changing course title
  • Changing course value in semester hours
  • Changing number or type of contact hours

Other kinds of changes may sometimes be made after the deadline when situations arise that require a last-minute change. Modifying the inventory after the deadline, however, is discouraged for the following reasons:

  • Late modifications won't be printed in catalogs, and may not appear in the online Course Schedule in time to be helpful to students. Your department assumes responsibility for notifying students of late modifications. This is especially important when changing a prerequisite or a degree plan statement that affects how a course counts toward a degree.
  • Other systems, such as registration and prerequisite checking, are affected by course inventory changes. A prerequisite cannot usually be changed for a semester after registration for that semester has already taken place.
  • Late modifications won't be proofread with other changes. For this reason, a course description may contain errors which won't be corrected until the following year.
Degree-plan statement.
Degree-plan statements limit or explain the applicability of a course toward a degree or a degree requirement.

Common degree plan statements and when to use them:

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary. The course is a topics course. This statement allows the course to be offered as multiple topics.

May be repeated for credit. The course can be repeated, but the content of the course is always the same.

Course X and Course Y may not both be counted. Students cannot receive credit for more than one of these courses.

Only one of the following may be counted: Course X, Course Y, Course Z. Students cannot receive credit for more than one of these courses.

May not be counted by students with credit for Course X. Students can't get credit for the course if they have already received credit for Course X; they may, however, receive credit for Course X after they take this course.

May not be counted toward the X degree. The course can't be used to fulfill any requirements of a certain degree.

Offered on the letter-grade basis only. Students must take the course for a letter grade. Applies to any topics taught under this course number.

Offered on the pass/fail basis only. Students cannot get a letter grade for this course. For undergraduate courses only.

Offered on the credit/no credit basis only. Students cannot get a letter grade for this course. For graduate courses only.

Some topics are offered on the letter-grade basis only; these are identified in the Course Schedule. The academic unit can decide each semester if certain topics are offered on the letter-grade basis.

Electronic routing.
The system by which electronic Request for Change in Course Inventory forms are approved. The electronic routing mirrors the required signatures on the paper Request for Change in Course Inventory form. A routing scheme is set up by Official Publications for an academic unit when someone from that unit requests authorization to use the system.

For undergraduate courses, requests are routed like this:
1. Originator initiates form.
2. Chair of department or director of academic program approves form.
3. Chair of college or school course committee approves form.
4. Dean approves form.
5. Official Publications processes form.
For graduate courses, requests are routed like this:

1. Originator initiates form.
2. Chair of graduate studies committee approves form.
3. Chair of department or director of academic program approves form.
4. Dean approves form.
5. Dean of Graduate Studies approves form.
6. Official Publications processes form.

Additional roles (for an executive assistant or a course committee member, for example) can be inserted into routing schemes.
Forms in progress.
The forms in progress tool can help you locate requests that have already submitted. Click on "forms in progress" from the system homepage, and then enter the field of study abbreviation and course number for the request you're seeking. You can also enter a field of study abbreviation only, and the system will locate all requests in that field of study.

After you click on "find requests" the system will display your search results. The last column on the right will display the current location of the request.

To open a request, click on the course number.
Inbox.
The inbox organizes requests that have been sent to you for approval and requests that you have originated and saved (but not yet submitted).

The inbox display gives you information on who originated the request and when, the type of request and effective semester, and the request's current status.

To open a request, click on the course number.
Meeting statement.
The meeting statement describes in words what the contact hours describe in numbers. While the contact hours are reported to the Coordinating Board, the meeting statement is printed in the catalog and is the primary way that students and others are told how a course meets.

Here are some common meeting statements, with corresponding contact hours:

Three lecture hours and two laboratory hours a week for one semester.
contact hours: 3 lecture, 2 laboratory

Three lecture hours and one and one-half laboratory hours a week for one semester.
contact hours: 3 lecture, 1.5 laboratory

Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Additional hours may be required for some topics; these are identified in the Course Schedule.
contact hours: 3 lecture, 0 laboratory

Two lecture hours and at least ten hours of fieldwork a week for one semester.
contact hours: 12 lecture, 0 laboratory

Two lecture hours a week for one semester, and at least one weekend field trip.
contact hours: 2 lecture, 0 laboratory

For each semester hour of credit earned, one lecture hour a week for one semester.
contact hours for three-hour course: 3 lecture, 0 laboratory

Web-based instruction; no class meetings.
contact hours for four-hour course: 4 lecture, 0 laboratory

Individual instruction.
contact hours for three-hour course: 3 lecture, 0 laboratory

Three lecture hours a week for one semester; two overnight field trips are also required.
contact hours: 3 lecture, 0 laboratory

Three lecture hours a week for one semester, with additional laboratory hours to be arranged.
contact hours: 3 lecture, 0 laboratory

*NRCRIN

The course inventory is stored in a mainframe application called *NRCRIN. Before preparing course changes, please use *NRCRIN to review the current inventory information.

The course file production section of the registrar's office maintains a separate inventory called *NRCRSE. This is used for Course Schedule production. You should not use *NRCRSE or the printed materials provided by the course file production section to help you prepare course inventory changes.

To get access to *NRCRIN, ask your *DPUSER contact to request authorization for you, or send an e-mail to offpubs@austin.utexas.edu. Please include your UT EID.

Some tips for using NRCRIN

  • To view a course, use the VF command. This view displays course information by fields (such as title and prerequisite) that correspond to the rows on the Request for Change in Course Inventory form.
  • Enter a course abbreviation and number.
  • Enter a YYS. The YYS, or year-year-semester, is a three-digit code for a particular semester. For the semester digit, use 9 for fall, 2 for spring, and 6 for summer. For example, the YYS for fall 2008 is 089; the YYS for spring 2009 is 092. *NRCRIN displays the record effective for the YYS you enter.
  • To move through a record, use the Enter key. Course records often fill more than one screen. At the bottom of each screen, NRCRIN tells you when there is More, and when you've reached the End of a record.
  • To scroll through all courses of a single course abbreviation, use the F3 key.
  • To print the full inventory for any course abbreviation, use the PT command, and enter a course abbreviation and YYS but no specific course number.

The style used for course information in *NRCRIN is the style you should use when entering statements on the electronic form. Using this style ensures that the inventory is consistent throughout its many fields of study. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Do not use abbreviations, and use upper- and lower-case letters.
    Cell and Tissue Anatomy and Physiology for Engineers.
    not
    CELL & TISSUE ANAT & PHYSIOL
  • Spell out field of study names.
    Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
    not
    REE
  • Use full statements instead of Course Schedule standard statement codes.
    May be repeated for credit.
    not
    #18
  • Do not include writing component or summer session designations. Do not include information on meeting times, instructors, or unique numbers.
Prerequisite checking system.

An online system of the Office of the Registrar. During registration, the system can check a student's academic record against a course's prerequisite and notify the student if he or she meets the prerequisite. Departments can choose to have the system simply notify the student ("informer") or actually prevent students who do not meet the prerequisite from registering for a course ("enforcer").

The prerequisite checking system currently checks only undergraduate courses.

The prerequisite checking system is limited by the information available on a student's academic record and other factors. Some items that frequently appear in prerequisites cannot be checked by the system. These are called "uncheckable" items. Note that one uncheckable item makes the entire prerequisite uncheckable. Also, uncheckable prerequisites are not "wrong." They may be entirely appropriate in some cases, and Official Publications will add them to courses and print them in the catalog. Their main drawback is that they cannot be checked by the prerequisite checking system.

The following are examples of "uncheckable" items:

or the equivalent

and consent of instructor

or consent of instructor

and consent of X

or consent of X

admission to the X program

a major in X

concurrent enrollment in X

a number of semester hours completed within a major

a minimum grade point average in coursework counted toward a major

any prerequisite on an individual topic

prerequisites for different populations (example: For English majors, X and Y; for others, Z)

The system can accommodate fairly complicated prerequisites. The following are examples of actual complicated prerequisites that can be checked:

Prerequisite: Rhetoric and Writing 306, and credit or registration for Business Administration 101H (or 101 or 102H), 101S (or 101), or 101T (or 101).

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing; and the following coursework, with a grade of at least C in each course: Radio-Television-Film 305, either 314 or 316, and six additional semester hours of lower-division coursework in radio-television-film.

Prerequisite: Biology 126L and 226R with a grade of at least C in each; Chemistry 310M and 310N (or 610); and Chemistry 339K or 369 with a grade of at least C.

Same-as courses.
Same-as courses are identical courses in different fields of study. They are the same in every way -- with the exact same title, prerequisites, etc -- and they meet together. This is a formal "cross-listing" relationship that cannot be modified from semester to semester. A same-as course contains a statement that indicates that it is same as one or more other courses. For example, History 350L (Topic 25: Women in Asian Societies) contains the statement "Same as Asian Studies 361 (Topic 14: Women in Asian Societies) and Women's and Gender Studies 340 (Topic 8: Women in Asian Societies)."

All courses in a same-as group must be added or modified at the same time. Identical requests must be submitted for each of the courses in the same-as group. Your request will not be processed until we have received every request for the same-as group. If your department initiates a change, it is your responsibility to see that all the other departments involved know exactly what change is needed and submit requests accordingly.
Semester-hour value.
The value in semester hours of any course is the number of hours of credit a student receives for completing the course. In UT's course numbering system, it is represented by the first digit in the course number.
 
Subject-matter description.
The subject-matter description includes all the information that should appear in the catalog about the content of the course. It should describe what students will actually be studying.

While not limited to a specific number of words, the subject-matter description should be as concise as possible.

Some tips for composing subject-matter descriptions:
  • Use complete sentences, don't use abbreviations, and pay attention to punctuation.
  • Avoid technical terms and jargon. The description should be understood by a general audience.
  • Save details for the syllabus. A common mistake, especially when creating a new course, is to write lengthy and detailed subject-matter descriptions. Look at existing courses in the inventory to see how long (or actually how short) a subject-matter description should be.
  • Say more than the title. Another common mistake is creating a description that basically repeats the title. If your subject-matter description does not provide more detail than the title, it's best to leave it out altogether. A subject-matter description is not required.
  • For internship and practicum courses, describe what the student will actually be doing. If you say, for example, that the course focuses on the study of human interaction, you might also say that students will work directly with clients in a social service agency.
Topics course.
Also called "base course." A topics course is a course that contains the degree plan statement "May be repeated for credit when the topics vary." This statement allows the course to be offered as multiple topics. The course contains all of the information that describes, in a general way, the topics being taught under it. The title often begins with "Topics in," and the subject-matter description is usually fairly broad to allow for flexibility in the topics offered. All of the other attributes of the topics course, such as meeting statement, degree plan statement, and prerequisite, apply to all topics offered under that course number.

The title and subject-matter description of each topic is unique, but must stay within the general limits established by the topics course.
Topic.
A topic is the individual title offered under a topics course. There are two kinds: numbered and unnumbered.
  • Numbered topics. Numbered topics are assigned a number (1 to 99), are printed in the catalog, and are part of the course inventory. They can only be added, changed, and dropped using the Request for Change in Course Inventory form. All the information that is true for the topics course must also be true for each numbered topic. However, each numbered topic may also carry additional information that is not true for other topics or for the topics course.
  • Unnumbered topics. Unnumbered topics do not have any identifying numbers, appear only in the Course Schedule (not in the catalog), and are not part of the course inventory. They are referred to as "other titles" during Course Schedule production. You cannot use the Request for Change in Course Inventory form to add, change, or drop unnumbered topics. All the information that is true for the topics course must also be true for each topic, and an unnumbered topic may not carry any information that is not true for the topics course.
In general, a class should be offered as an unnumbered topic if it is taught infrequently, or if it is a new class that is under development. Once the content of the class is fixed, you should submit a form to add it as a numbered topic. This will allow the topic to be printed in the catalog. You must also request creation of a numbered topic if any information about the class (such as fees or prerequisite) will differ from that of the topics base course.
Inventory Change:
System glossary
Office of the Registrar University of Texas at Austin copyright 2007
Official Publications September 2007