Workday Student

Making sense of course numbers

Washington University will be adopting a universal four-digit course numbering system to indicate course rigor and level, and to support curriculum management in Workday Student, the university’s future system for student administration. 

Currently, course numbers at WashU are inconsistent, with courses having a mix of three and four digits and letters (BIOL101, BIOL1004, and BIOL101C). Sometimes course numbers jump levels (from the 1000s to 4000s), and sometimes numbers or letters are used to indicate characteristics like delivery mode (in person, online) or instructional format (lecture, lab).

Addressing these inconsistencies will make it easier for students to see how courses relate to one another as a progression of rigor and/or depth. Consistent course numbering should also provide a more accurate picture of a student’s progression and course load difficulty to those reviewing student transcripts, like graduate school admissions officers. 

The goal is to have four-digit course numbers for the first registration cycle within Workday Student, which will occur in spring of 2025 for the fall semester of 2025. 

View project timeline for additional milestones.

As schools create new courses between now and then, they are not expected to use four-digit course numbers in WUCRSL; however, the project team will be working with the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) and schools to track new courses to ensure they have a four-digit equivalent ready for Workday Student. 

The OUR, Workday consultants and the Student Sunrise project team have developed a set of guidelines that will be used to renumber all active courses. This is a massive undertaking, which is why the project is beginning to engage with registrars and other administrative staff this year.  

“Throughout the Student Sunrise project, I’m looking for opportunities to make things easier for our students,” said University Registrar Keri Disch. “Renumbering courses to be consistent across schools and transparently reflect progression through a program certainly supports this. It will also be much easier for us to maintain in the long term.”  

The Bulletin and other university publications, including websites, will also need to be updated to match the new numbering convention in Workday. The project will engage relevant parties to ensure collaboration and consistency across the university.