SP 9-71 – Community College Course Numbering System

Colorado Community College System / System Procedure

SP 9-71

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2001
RETITLED: August 25, 2001
REVISED: July 1, 2010
REVISED: June 17, 2019

REFERENCES: C.R.S. 23-1-108(7), C.R.S. 23-1-108.5, C.R.S. 23-1-125, C.R.S. 23-60-802


/ Joseph A. Garcia /
Joseph A. Garcia, Chancellor


This procedure applies to the Colorado Community College System (CCCS or System).


  1. Prerequisite: A condition of enrollment that a student is required to meet to demonstrate readiness for enrollment in a course or program. A prerequisite course must be completed successfully to enroll in the course which follows. Successful completion is defined as earning a grade of “C” or better. Placement test results can also be used to meet prerequisite skill levels.
  2. Co-requisite: A course that a student is required to take in the same semester in order to enroll in another course.
  3. Course learning outcomes: Statements clearly describing the meaningful, observable, and measurable knowledge and/or skills students will learn in a course.
  4. Contact hour: The number of scheduled minutes of instructional activity involving direct contact of faculty with students in a given term utilizing a particular method of instruction. Refer to Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) Student Full-time Equivalent (SFTE) Reporting Guidelines and Procedures.
  5. Course type: An instructional activity as defined by CDHE Guidelines (e.g., lecture, lab, art studio, etc.).
  6. GT Pathways: A set of general education courses that the State of Colorado guarantees to transfer to all public colleges and universities within the state.


This procedure facilitates student transfers and articulation between Area Technical Colleges (ATCs), CCCS Colleges, and to local district community/junior colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. This policy also establishes a common course numbering for all credit courses offered by ATCs and CCCS. Common course numbering is designed to eliminate unnecessary duplication of instruction, cost and delay in the attainment of educational objectives.


  • All courses that have the same course learning outcomes shall have the same prefix, course number, course title, course description, credit (or credit range), and where appropriate, GT Pathways course competencies and content criteria.
  • Where possible, consistency in prerequisites and/or co-requisites across the CCNS is desired. A state discipline group may recommend to have consistent prerequisites and co-requisites for courses in CCNS. Local colleges, in consultation with their local discipline expert and state discipline chair, will consider whether or not to adopt the consistent prerequisite and co-requisite by following its local college’s curriculum committee process and approval by the chief academic officer. The decision regarding adoption should be evaluated in light of programs that depend on the course.
  • Prerequisites, co-requisites and contact hours for a course may differ between colleges, but must be the same within a college. Rare exceptions, such as a pilot, mustbe approved by the college chief academic officer.
  • For any college offering a common course, the college must meet or exceed the minimum contact hours based on a recommended course type. The college determines the mode of delivery.
  • New courses added to CCNS must not be duplicates of existing courses. Any two courses in CCNS, regardless of prefix or number, should be at least 20% different. The difference between the new course and any existing course should be clearly indicated in the course description and required course learning outcomes.
  • All credit courses offered by CCCS and ATCs shall be evaluated, numbered and approved using the CCNS. No credit course shall be offered by a community college unless it is contained in the CCNS database.
  • The System office Academic and Student Affairs Division shall maintain the CCNS database of all approved, commonly numbered courses offered by ATCs and CCCS and shall be responsible for all additions, deletions and modifications to this database.
  • Community colleges will accept for transfer all courses contained in the CCNS database.
  • Each college must develop a process to ensure just treatment of students transferring from other System colleges that have different prerequisites and/or co-requisites.
  • System colleges must accept successfully completed commonly numbered courses from other System colleges regardless of whether the course has the same prerequisitesand/or co-requisites at the other college. The college must develop a process for exceptions where appropriate.

The right to propose a change in CCNS resides at the local college level or state discipline group. This may include adding new courses, changing existing course curriculum, and archiving obsolete curriculum. Faculty from the college proposing the change are the content experts and, therefore, shall be involved in initiating the change. For any such change to occur in CCNS, all policies and procedures that make up the CCNS approval process must be followed. These policies and procedures are articulated in the document, “State Faculty Curriculum Committee Policies and Procedures.” This document is found on the CCCS website.


If a college wishes to offer a course already listed in the CCNS database, it must obtain the approval of its curriculum committee. Course syllabi shall demonstrate that the course being offered meets all course content and learning outcomes and, where appropriate, GT Pathways content and competency criteria. Colleges will assess courses as part of the college assessment plan in accordance with the Higher Learning Commission policy.


The CCNS database is structured in conformity with the AACRAO Numbering and Prefix Guidelines. All modifications of the database shall maintain this general conformity. These specifications are published in, “State Faculty Curriculum Committee Policies and Procedures,” which are found on the CCCS website.


Faculty in each discipline shall review GT Pathways courses at least once every five years as required by CDHE. Faculty in each discipline are encouraged to review all other courses at least once every five years, as well. Recommended changes will go through the process for modifying the CCNS as outlined above. If no changes are recommended, the review requirement is satisfied.

Revising this Procedure

CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.