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Dual-Listing Lower-Division and Upper-Division Courses | Policies | CSUSM

Dual-Listing Lower-Division and Upper-Division Courses

Definition: This policy governs the mechanism for offering lower-division and upper-division courses as dual-listed courses.
Authority: The president of the university
Scope: This policy applies to all CSUSM undergraduate courses.
Responsible Division: Academic Affairs
Approval Date: 10/27/2014
Originally Implemented: 10/24/2014
Signature Page/PDF: View for Dual-Listing Lower-Division and Upper-Division Courses Policy



California State University San Marcos allows departments to offer lower-division (100- or 200-level) undergraduate courses with upper-division (300- or 400-level) courses having similar course content in a dual-listed arrangement with a single instructor and a common meeting schedule. The dual-listing of lower-division courses with appropriate upper-division courses is a means of facilitating course offerings in circumstances where limited resources would prohibit the offering of courses in the same subject area at both levels concurrently. Such dual-listing could be quite appropriate in studio or activity-based courses. Dual-listing of courses may be necessary in order to provide sufficient offerings within some subject areas. This policy addresses the need to ensure the quality and rigor of dual-listed courses.


In order to ensure the integrity of the degree programs and the individual courses that may be used to meet graduation requirements, approval to offer courses in a dual-listed arrangement is subject to the following conditions.

A. The lower-division and upper-division courses must cover similar course content. The titles and descriptions of the two courses must reflect the similarity of the subject matter. The courses must meet in the same classroom at the same time and have the same instructor.

B. Dual-listed course pairings normally consist of one 200-level and one 300-level course. Exceptions to 200- and 300-level pairing should be rare and occur only under extreme circumstances. A strong rationale must accompany proposals, and only the following pairing exceptions will be considered:

        1. 100- and 300-level

        2. 200- and 400-level

C. 100-level courses may not be paired with 400-level courses.

D. A lower-division course may not be dual-listed with an upper-division course that is dual-listed with a graduate course.

E. Dual-listed offerings must be arranged through the use of regular courses which are published in the General Catalog or Catalog Addendum, and the course descriptions must indicate that the courses can be dual-listed. The course descriptions must also include a statement regarding whether students who have received credit for the lower-division course can subsequently receive credit for the upper-division course.

F. Students who have completed the upper-division course for credit with a C or better grade may not take the lower-division for credit.

G. Any course that is cross-listed with a dual-listed course is considered to be dual-listed and is governed by this policy.

H. Independent study, research and internship courses for which independent student work is the primary mode of instruction may not be used as part of a dual-listed arrangement.

I. If the total enrollment of the dual-listed courses meets minimal enrollment expectations for at least one of the courses of the pair, the dual-listed courses shall be considered to have met minimal enrollment. The combined enrollment shall not exceed the capacity of either of the dual-listed courses.

J. The Class Schedule should make clear, by means of class notes, that dual-listed courses meet with the same instructor at the same time and location, but that the two courses have different requirements reflecting the different course levels.

K. Course proposals must be submitted and approved separately for each of the courses in the proposed pairs through the campus curricular review process. The course proposals must address the following:

    1. Both course proposal forms must specify that the courses are dual-listed;

    2. Justification for the dual-listing must be attached to each of the proposals;

    3. Specification of the requirements for the upper-division course must clearly delineate greater expectations and additional requirements for the upper-division students, appropriate to the field of study. At the time of the review of the dual-listing, syllabi for both courses complete with course descriptions, course readings and activities, and Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) will be submitted to all curriculum committees as support for the dual-listing.

        a. Examples of greater expectations may include that upper-division students conduct more of their work independently and/or demonstrate a higher level of skill.

        b. Examples of additional assignments might include significant research papers, oral presentations of research on course assignments, and/or the demonstration of more sophisticated laboratory or studio skills than those required of students in the lower-division course.

    4. The proposal must specify whether students who have completed the lower-division course for credit are allowed to take the upper-division course for credit. If so, the proposal must explain how it is appropriate for students to be able to receive credit for both courses.

    5.  Proposals for dual-listing of courses can be submitted at the same time as the proposals for review of the courses as new courses.  Approval of the courses is not contingent upon approval of the dual-listing; however, dual-listing is contingent upon the approval of the courses.  Proposals for dual-listing of courses can be submitted for already-existing courses if accompanied by a complete syllabus for both courses.

    6. The Associate Vice President for Academic Programs can approve a temporary dual-listing of two courses while a dual-listing proposal is under review in the curriculum approval process. In this situation, the description of the courses is not changed in the General Catalog but the dual-listing is to be noted in the class notes. So item E of this policy (on the General Catalog) does not apply in such a temporary situation, but item J (on the Class Schedule) does.


All proposals for the dual-listing of courses, as well as any exceptions to the provisions of this policy, shall be reviewed through the campus curricular review process. As with all courses, the curricular review process will ensure that the above-stated conditions are satisfied and that the use of dual-listed courses preserves or enhances the quality of undergraduate programs of the University.