Course (education)

Course (education)

The very broad dictionary meaning of the word course is the act or action of moving in a path from point to point [1]. There are multiple meanings for this word, some of which include: general line of orientation, a mode of action, part of a meal, a mode of action, and many more[2]. This article focuses on the educational definition of course. Many times people confuse the two versions of course and coarse. The version spelt “coarse” usually refers to the texture of something[3]. This article will focus on the version spelt “course.” Please search the other definitions of the word course individually if you wish to explore them more.

The origin of the word is from 1250–1300; Middle English co ( u ) rs  (noun) < Anglo-French co ( u ) rs ( e ), Old French cours  < Latin cursus  a running, course, equivalent to cur ( rere ) to run + -sus,  variant of -tus  suffix of v. action[4].

In U.S. and Canadian education, a course is a unit of teaching that typically lasts one academic term, is led by one or more instructors (teachers or professors), has a fixed roster of students, and gives each student a grade and academic credit.[5]

In the United Kingdom and Australia, however, the term "course" refers to the entire program of studies required to complete a university degree, and the word "unit" would be used to refer to an academic course in the North American sense. In between the two, in South Africa, it is common for the word 'course' officially to refer to the collection of all courses (in the American sense, which are often called 'modules') over a year or semester, though the American usage is common parlance.

Above there was an example of what a typical course is. Some more specific examples of courses will be provided below. Courses in American universities are usually on a time restraint. Some courses are three weeks long, one semester long, an academic year long, and on some occasions three semesters long. A course is usually specific to the students major and is instructed by a professor. For example, if a person is taking an Organic Chemistry course, then the professor would teach the students Organic Chemistry and how it applies to their life and or major. Courses can also be referred to as “electives.” An elective is usually not a required course, but there are a certain number of non-specific electives that are required for certain majors. For more information about the correlation between courses and electives, please see electives page below[6].


Required and elective courses

Elective, used as an adjective, means that it is optional and chosen by election. An elective, a noun, chosen by a student means that it is an optional subject or course in a curriculum.

Elective is a term used for an academic course chosen by the student from a set of options, as opposed to a required course. While required courses (sometimes called core courses) are deemed essential for an academic degree, elective courses tend to be more specialized. Elective courses usually have fewer students than the required core courses.

The term elective is also used for a period of medical study conducted away from the student's home medical school, often abroad. Motivations for choosing such a program include a wish to experience other cultures, and to learn how to work in the clinical situations in other countries.[7]

Typically, North American universities require students to achieve both breadth of knowledge across disciplines and depth of knowledge in a particular chosen subject area, known as a major. Thus, students of the arts or humanities are required to take some science courses, and vice-versa. Normally, the students are free to choose their particular electives from among a wide range of courses offered by their university, as long as the students possess the prerequisite knowledge to understand the subject matter being taught. An English major, for example, might also study one or two years of chemistry, biology or physics as well as mathematics and a foreign language.

Elective courses are also offered in the third and fourth years of university, though the choice is more restrictive and will depend upon the particular major the student has chosen. For example, at the University of British Columbia, students intending to specialize in Sanskrit as part of a major in Asian language and culture will usually have to complete several Sanskrit and Hindi-Urdu or Punjabi courses during the first two years of university, as well as additional courses in Indic languages in the third and fourth years of study. In addition to these core courses, however, students would choose among several third- and fourth-year elective courses on topics not directly related to India, such as the history and culture of China, Japan or Indonesia.[8] elective is an adjective word pertaining to the principle of electing to an office, position, etc. chosen by election, as an official. bestowed by or right of election, as a body of persons. open to choice; optional; not required: an elective subject in college; elective surgery. chemistry . selecting for combination or action; tending to combine with certain substances in preference to others: elective attraction. noun an optional study; a course that a student may select from among alternatives.

See also


External links

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