Cross-Listing Guide

What does cross-listing mean?

Cross-listing a course means that a single course is offered for registration under two or more departments. In most cases, the course is identical for everyone participating. However, in some cases, the requirements of the course differ according to the listing. One example would be a course that is taught in English, but may be listed as French for students who wish to do all the readings and writings in French.

Some departments have certain criteria that must be met for cross-listing. It’s advisable for departments to develop and communicate a policy statement about cross-listing.

What advantages does cross-listing offer?

The course listing appears in more than one department, possibly broadening the pool of participants. Students who might otherwise be unlikely to take an elective in one department, might be more interested if they see it listed in another. It is also a signal of cooperative relationships among faculty and departments, and sends a more obvious message about the interdisciplinary nature of our curriculum.

Points of confusion for students:

  • Sometimes a cross-listed course may look closed when one listing of it is closed, when spaces are available from another.
  • A student may register for a course only under one of its listings. Sometimes this is a tough decision, because they don’t know if it will count towards their (as yet undecided) major. To alleviate that problem, students are allowed to change the department of a cross-listed course any time between registering the course and being graduated.

Challenges for faculty and staff:

  • Class rosters are separate for each listing, so faculty must review two rosters and enter grades on separate lists.
  • Departments that cross-list courses must communicate about when the course will be scheduled, and what the overall enrollment limit should be. Approval of both department chairs is required when changes to the course occur (change in title, description, deletion from the curriculum).
  • Catalog sections that list courses meeting distribution requirements must be carefully reviewed to ensure that cross-listed courses are described correctly.
  • There are occasional times when miscommunication about course enrollment limits can cause headaches for all parties.
  • Reports generated by administrative systems and offices may differ in how crosslisted courses are treated. (See section on enrollments below.)

How are enrollments tracked and credited in cross-listed courses?

For the purposes of registration, the Registrar’s Office needs to know the maximum number of registrants that should end up in the classroom. Unless requested otherwise, the enrollments will be split evenly among the various listings. The registration system will then allow registration in all of the listings until the maximum enrollment limit is reached.

All the “credit” for teaching the course goes to the department of the faculty member who is teaching the course. However, note that some enrollment reports, such as “enrollment by department” will list only the enrollments for the registered department. The Provost’s Office calculates and credits the enrollment numbers for departments manually.

May I cross-list a topics course?

Yes, topics courses may be cross-listed with permanent catalog courses, or with other topics listings. The rule that a topics course may only be offered twice still applies.

Best practices for cross-listing

  • If at all possible, use the same number for all listings.
  • Use the same title for all listings.
  • Keep prerequisites the same for all listings, stating clearly any exceptions.
  • Make sure that all departments are reporting the same information to the Registrar when preparing catalog and schedule documents.