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Criteria for the L&S undergraduate "Level" attribute
The L&S level designation is intended to identify undergraduate courses that meet L&S undergraduate degree requirements. Please see the information below for guidance about the designation
L&S Level criteria
L&S undergraduate degree requirements are intended to encourage both breadth and depth of learning across disciplines. To encourage depth of learning, students are required to complete 60 credits of intermediate and advanced level credits. The level designations of Elementary (E), Intermediate (I), and Advanced (A) help students understand how undergraduate Liberal Arts and Science courses ("L&S Credit") meet the level requirement. It also communicates to students about how the course fits into the progression of instruction by building on prior work in a discipline’s curriculum.
The level indicates the extent to which students are expected to build on previous college coursework and skills, not how ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ the course is, or how much time students will spend on coursework. Below are descriptions and characteristics level courses, intended to help faculty and departments determine what is the most appropriate level for their course. Typically, the catalog of the number is also aligned with the level.
ELEMENTARY (E) COURSES (typically numbered 100-299)
These are usually designed with freshmen and sophomores in mind, however they may also be suitable for juniors or seniors with limited background in the discipline. Elementary level courses typically have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Breadth: Students gain introductory understanding of a field or discipline or learn how a field fits into or relates to other fields. Courses may act as a stepping stone for more advanced-level work or may also be ends in themselves by providing breadth, enrichment or general knowledge.
- Foundation: Students become acquainted with principles, terms, methods, and perspectives of a discipline or area of study.
- Initial study of general Liberal Arts skills: Students develop essential skills, attitudes and practices important to the different fields of a Liberal Arts degree (e.g. critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
INTERMEDIATE (I) COURSES (Typically numbered 300-499)
Intermediate courses are generally designed for students who have sophomore standing or higher or entering students who have completed the equivalent of introductory college work in the discipline of study (e.g. AP test credits or placement scores). Intermediate courses typically have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Building on Foundations: Students build upon introductory coursework and apply more advanced principles, methods, and perspectives of a discipline or area of study. Courses may act as a stepping stone for more advanced-level and specialized work or may also be ends in themselves by providing breadth, enrichment or general knowledge.
- Development of Liberal Arts skills. Students build on introductory study of liberal arts skills, (e.g. critical thinking, communication, problem solving). Students will be expected to apply the skills in more discerning or challenging contexts but may not yet be able to so independently.
- Emerging integration. Students integrate knowledge gained from earlier studies, though typically not to the extent of a capstone course.
ADVANCED (A) COURSES (typically numbered 500-699)
These are usually designed with juniors or seniors in mind, although they may also be appropriate for advanced students with lower class standing. Courses typically require significant independent thinking on the part of the student or may offer opportunities for research. They typically have one more of the following characteristics:
- Depth/Focus: Students engage with in-depth study of a discipline’s theories and methods, developing an understanding of the applications and limitations of them.
- Specialization: Students hone intellectual and professional abilities specific to the field or discipline.
- Development of Liberal Arts Skills: Students advance their work towards mastery of liberal arts skills; they will be applying these skills independently, discerningly or in challenging contexts.
- Integration: Students integrate knowledge gained from earlier studies, such as a capstone experience.
This guidance document was endorsed by the L&S Curriculum Committee on February 27, 2018
For more information on how to change or add the L&S level designation, please see: Adding "L&S Credit," Level, or Breadth undergraduate course designations to courses (advice for departments)