The University of Iowa’s course numbering system is comprised of a Course Subject, a Course Number and a Section Number--each separated with a colon.

Course Numbering - Subject, Number and Section

For more Course Numbering detail:


The Course Subject is an alphabetic acronym for the academic department or program offering the course. In our example above, POLI is the Course Subject code for the Political Science Department. Course Subjects may be two to four characters in length.

How to Identify Upper-Level and Foundation-Level Courses

The 4-digit Course Number indicates the level of the course as follows:

Course Number Course Level
1000 - 2999 Foundation-Level
3000 - 4999 Upper-Level
5000 and Above Graduate-Level (requires special permission for undergraduates)


The Section Number can be numbers, letters or a combination. Online and distance course sections begin with 0EX. Workshop section numbers begin with 0WK.

For information on cross-referenced/cross-listed courses including an explanation of the administrative home of a cross-referenced/cross-listed course: 
University College: Registration Policies

Delivery Mode

The Delivery Mode describes the way an online and/or distance course is offered. You can search MyUI, COURSES/REGISTRATION by Delivery Modes.  Examples of MyUI/Courses listings for each mode appear below.

Web/Online:  Courses delivered in an online format.  The digital device you are using to access the course must be able to make audio and video connections. Online instructors use both methods to convey content to students.
For more information about potential software used in your online course: Distance and Online Education Technical Support.  To see an example of an online course, press here to visit our Sample Online Course page. 

Search for online courses in MyUI by selecting "Web/Online" in the Delivery Mode checkbox. Online and distance courses have a section number of 0EX_. 

There are two main types of online courses:

  • Online with Synchronous Meeting:  Course work and content is online. There is also a meeting that takes place online in a synchronous scheduled online format, at the time specified. All students are expected to be logged in and present for this meeting. 
  • Arranged Time Asynchronous Online:  There are deadlines for course work, yet accessing the course is arranged at a time that is convenient for you. Please pay close attention to the course syllabus and any communication from the instructor. Deadlines and course work sometimes change throughout the course of the semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ACCESSING ONLINE COURSES FROM OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES: There are some locations outside of the United States where the University of Iowa students have had difficulty accessing online courses. Please find more information here: Online Outside of the U.S.  

Off-Campus: Off-campus courses meet at a location other than the Iowa City campus. You can take off-campus courses in certain subjects in Des Moines, the Quad Cities, Sioux City, the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, and other locations as determined by an instructor.  Search for off-campus courses in MyUI by selecting "Off-campus/face to face" in the delivery mode checkbox. Online and distance courses have a section number of 0EX_.

Workshops: Workshops are offered on-campus, online, and/or at a distance. Workshops are generally shorter than a full semester, often lasting three weeks or less. Search for workshops in MyUI by selecting "Workshops" in the Delivery Mode checkbox. Workshops have a section number of 0WK_.