Curriculum Organization

General Education Outcomes

At Baylor University, we strive to prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills essential to worldwide leadership and service and to foster in them a commitment to a lifetime of learning.  As a result of a thorough grounding in the liberal arts and coursework in their majors, Baylor graduates should be able to:

  1. communicate clearly and effectively in writing and speaking in a manner appropriate to the subject, occasion, and audience;
  2. think critically, demonstrating proficiency in evaluating evidence, articulating arguments, justifying conclusions, and identifying and presenting multiple perspectives;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of the Christian scriptures and heritage that enables engagement with others from a Christian perspective; and
  4. demonstrate an awareness of the challenges of a global society through a commitment to social and civic responsibility and service among diverse communities.

Eligibility for Courses

Courses at the "1000" level should be taken during the freshman and (at the latest) sophomore years.  Foreign language should be started during the first year.  Science and mathematics sequences should not be interrupted.  Students who major in accounting must take ACC 2303 Financial Accounting no sooner than the first semester of their sophomore year.

Once a student has received credit for a course, the student may not receive credit for a prerequisite to that course.

Courses at the “2000” level are usually second-year courses, but a first-year student with fifteen hours credit or with sufficient advanced placement credit may register for a maximum of two such courses if lower courses are not being deferred thereby.

Courses at the “3000” level are primarily for juniors and seniors. However, courses in chemistry, languages, mathematics, and physics may be taken for advanced credit by lower-level students under the following conditions:

  1. advanced placement has been secured in the subject;
  2. all necessary prerequisites are completed;
  3. the logical development of their course of study requires it; and
  4. basic lower-level courses are not deferred.

Courses at the “4000” level are not available to students below junior rank except in cases of advanced placement and when no graduate students are enrolled.

Senior level students may be eligible to take one “5000” level course in their major subject each semester.  Students must qualify for enrollment based upon the policies stated in the Graduate School Catalog.  Interested students should contact the Graduate School and their undergraduate dean’s office.

Undergraduate students may not register for “6000” level courses under any circumstances.

Credit Hours

A credit hour is a nationally-accepted standard based upon the Carnegie unit, which relates course curricula to their specified learning outcomes and the estimated time allotted to achieve those outcomes.  All programs of Baylor University are based on semester credit hours except for those in Baylor University's Law School, which uses the quarter credit hour system.

A Semester Credit Hour (SCH) represents a minimum of 15 hours of direct instruction regardless of the number of weeks in the term calendar.  The direct instruction minimum applies to traditional class instruction types (lecture, seminar).  These classes also carry the expectation of two hours of out-of-class work for every hours in class, which would be an additional 30 hours.  Taken together, the direct instruction and out-of-class student work expectations are called engaged learning time, and represent 45 hours per semester credit.  For alternate instruction types (clinical, ensemble, exercise, independent study, internship, lab, practicum, studio, etc.) and distance delivery modes (online or hybrid), direct instruction time is more variable, so equivalency for credit hours should be based upon the engaged learning time required to meet the course outcomes.

Course Numbering

Baylor course numbers consist of an alpha prefix followed by a four-digit course number.  The level is specified by the first digit, as follows:

  •  1 - freshman;
  •  2 - sophomore; 
  •  3 - junior;
  •  4 - senior;
  •  5 - graduate, master’s and doctor’s;
  •  6 - doctoral level only

The second digit specifies the number of credit hours assigned to the course.  The letter “V” is used as the second digit for courses which may be taken for a varying amount of credit; the varying amount of credit is indicated at the right of the course title preceding a course description.

The last two digits are reserved for departmental use in indicating sequence of courses.  The letter “C” is used in the third digit to designate capstone courses. (See the School of Music section of this catalog for applied music course numbers.)  The letter "R" in the last digit, indicates a Research course.

Curriculum Changes

Any faculty member can propose a curriculum change such as a new degree, major, secondary major, minor, concentration, or new course (or a change to an existing courses).  The first step is a discussion between the faculty member and the appropriate department chair.  The most successful proposals have strong support at the department and dean's office levels.  Establishing support across disciplinary and school/college boundaries is beneficial.  Departments should follow the curriculum guidelines, as indicated on the Provost's website (, for submitting requested curriculum changes.

Any new degree or major requires approval by the Dean, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Institutional Effectiveness, President, and Board of Regents (requests for new degrees must be submitted at least 6-8 weeks in advance of Board meetings, to be included on the agenda).

Any new secondary major, minor, or concentration requires approval by the Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Institutional Effectiveness.

Any new courses or changes to existing courses require approval by the department chair, departmental-level curriculum committee (not all departments have such a committee), the appropriate school/college-level curriculum committee, and the University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  If approved, the course revisions are then reviewed by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Institutional Effectiveness.  To make determinations on how much academic credit should be offered for new courses (or changes to existing courses), individual faculty members and curriculum committees consider the University's policy on credit hours and instructional time.  Once approved, changes are entered into the university's academic records system and can be offered during the next most appropriate semester.

Course Content and the Mission of the University

The preparation of graduates who will lead their fields in practice and relevant research may require inclusion of sensitive and controversial realities and human behavior, but such inclusion does not constitute endorsement by the university.