Course Cross-listings, Exclusions and Substitutions (Guidelines and Procedures)

Legislative History:

Approved by Senate 2004/01. Revised and approved by Senate 2017/02/16.

Approval Authority: Senate

General Course Description Standards:


Course descriptions should be concise summaries of the general purpose and learning outcomes of the course.  Descriptions must include information about pre-requisites, co-requisites, historical course

Maintenance and Annual Review

It is the responsibility of the unit offering a course to maintain the accuracy of its course descriptions.  Changes to course descriptions have an impact on scheduling, student enrolment and degree audit processes. Once course changes are finalized and approved by the respective Faculty Councils, units must coordinate with the Office of the University Registrar to effect the changes within their timelines for curriculum changes.

It is the responsibility of the unit offering the course to annually review course descriptions, including stated pre-requisites, co-requisites, historical course codes and course credit exclusions, to ensure the information included is current and reflects recent curricular changes.

1. Cross-Listed Courses

1.1 Definition

“Cross-Listed” courses are offered jointly by two or more teaching units.  All instances of cross-listed courses are essentially the same course with different identifiers most commonly utilized to signify relevance to more than one particular discipline.

1.2 Impact to Degree Progress and Completion

Cross-listed courses must all have the same academic credit value and are not counted twice to fulfill degree requirements.

1.3 Establishing a Cross-Listing

Cross-listings of courses are arranged, changed and approved by agreement of all units or Faculties concerned.  Proposals for new or revised courses must include approval by the respective Faculty curriculum committee in all units impacted.

1.4 Cross-Listing Description Standards

Normally, one course is designated as the “primary” offering within the course repository and all other subject identifiers are linked to the primary course.  Cross-Listings are not part of the course description; however other course numbers are listed in course catalogues.

2. Course Credit Exclusions

2.1 Definition

“Course Credit Exclusion” is a formal status accorded to sets of courses that are recognized as having sufficient overlap in content.  Although the courses may have a significant degree of overlap, they are not considered fully equivalent. Students will not receive credit for both / all courses in a designated set of CCE’s.

2.2 Impact to Degree Progress and Completion

Courses established as Course Credit Exclusions (CCE) are not equivalent; the use of a CCE course to fulfill a degree requirement must be either pre-determined by the program or approved on an individual basis for a student by a department. Completion of courses designated as CCEs will be subject to the Senate Policy on Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit.

While the relationship between pairs of courses which are course credit exclusions is fully reciprocal, it does not extend to other courses associated with either parent course.  Two courses paired as CCEs may also separately list other courses as exclusions. Those courses are not automatically deemed as CCEs unless also listed as course credit exclusions of the paired courses.

It is the responsibility of programs and departments to advise students of the impact of enrolling in specific course credit exclusions.

2.3 Establishing a Course Credit Exclusion

Course credit exclusions are arranged and approved by the agreement of the all the units or faculties concerned.  Proposals for new or revised courses indicating course credit exclusions must include approval from all applicable units.

2.4 Description Standards

All course credit exclusions for a course are listed in the course description following the label “Course Credit Exclusions”. The term must always be used in its plural form and used only if there are exclusions indicated. Both parent courses must state the CCE.

2.5 Annual Review

It is the responsibility of the units offering courses paired as Course Credit Exclusions to review and confirm them annually.  Parent courses of a course credit exclusion that have not been offered for seven consecutive years, will be removed from the course description.

2.6 Course Credit Exclusions on Transfer Credits

Transfer credit awarded for studies at other institutions (upon admission, through a letter of permission, or exchange program) may result in York Course Credit Exclusions being identified for the completion of students’ program requirements at York. Such cases are governed by the relevant program regulations and the Senate Guidelines on Transfer Credits.

3. Course Substitutes

3.1 Definition

A "Course Substitute” is a descriptive term applied when a course is recognized as sufficiently similar to a required course in a degree or certificate program.  Substitutions may be programmatic and offered to all students or individualized for a student with departmental approval.

3.2 Impact to Degree Progress and Completion

Substitutes are used to fulfill degree requirements in lieu of a specific required course. The substitutes may be program-wide and apply to all students who transfer into a program through a particular pathway, or approved by a department for an individual student. Course substitutions do not have reciprocal relationships such as course credit exclusions.  It is the responsibility of programs and departments and the Office of the University Registrar to confirm approved course substitutions for students.

3.3 Establishing Substitutions

Programs may establish program-wide substitutions in recognition of an appropriate commonly used pathway to meet degree requirements for students transferring from another program or Faculty.  No consultation is required with other departments or units. It is the responsibility of the program to periodically review and confirm its program-wide substitutions.

3.4 Communicating Substitutions

Substitutions are not stated on course descriptions. Approved program-wide substitutions should be stated in program requirements and included in calendar copy.

Substitutions granted and approved for an individual student are considered exceptions for the use of fulfilling degree requirements and must be communicated to the Office of the University Registrar for degree audit purposes.

Substitutions granted on the basis of transfer credit received for studies at other post-secondary institutions must be communicated to students through an assessment of transfer credit.

4. Previously

4.1 Definition

“Previously” is used to denote a previous identifier or number of a course. Courses may be re-labelled with new subject codes, year levels, Faculties or course numbers due to curricular changes or re-organizations among Faculties and units. Courses marked as “previous” versions are the same course and considered equivalents.

4.2 “Previously”: Re-numbered or Re-labelled courses

4.3 Impact to Degree Progress and Completion

Courses labelled Previously are full equivalents and subject to the Senate Policy on Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit . They cannot be counted twice for fulfilling degree requirements.

Curricular changes that resulted in a significant change to the academic content of a course will be assessed to determine if a course credit exclusion is applicable.

Re-numbering and re-labelling of courses must be coordinated with the Office of the University Registrar to mitigate the impact on scheduling, student enrolment and degree audit processes.

4.4 Description Standards for Re-Labelled Courses

Re-numbered or re-labelled courses shall state in the course description all previous numbers and codes following the label “Previously”.   If the course is also identified as a course credit exclusion or cross-listing with another course, the course description of the paired course must also be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

4.5 Maintenance and Annual Review

It is the responsibility of the unit offering the course to annually review course descriptions to confirm course numbers and labels. Previous codes from courses not offered for seven consecutive years shall be removed from course descriptions.

5. Integrated Courses

5.1 Definition

“Integrated courses” are courses in which both graduate and undergraduate students (typically 4th year) enrol concurrently.  They are governed by the Senate Policy and Guidelines on Integrated Courses and the practices and guidelines for cross-listed courses do not apply.

6. Associated Regulations

6.1 Implicated Policies and Guidelines

These Guidelines and Procedures have been developed in the context of, and consistent with the following related legislation and regulations:

Repeating Passed or Failed Courses for Academic Credit

Advanced Standing Policy

The Pan-Canadian Protocol on the Transferability of University Credits

Undergraduate Co-Registration Options with Ontario Post-secondary Institutions

Approved program and degree regulations