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Trinity Course Basics

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Below is basic information on courses that will be useful as you plan your fall schedule.


Most courses count for 1.0 credit and meet for 2.5 hours/week. Partial credit courses (0.25 and 0.5 credit) include music lessons, physical education, dance and student-led courses called house courses.


The minimum and most common course load is four 1.0 credit courses each semester, and the maximum load is 5.5 credits. In your first semester you can enroll in no more than 4.5 credits; if you wish to take an additional 0.5 credit class, you can request permission from your academic dean.


Undergraduate courses are numbered from 1-499. Most first-year students will take courses numbered from 1-199, which are introductory courses. Depending on your prior experience and interests, some courses between 200-399, i.e., midlevel undergraduate courses, may be good choices.


Some classes have required discussion sections in addition to the regular class meetings. Science classes often have associated labs, and some classes require discussion sections (D) and labs (L). Any required course components will be clearly indicated on DukeHub.


Some courses have prerequisites – these can be either “enforced” prerequisites or “recommended” prerequisites. If you are missing an enforced prerequisite, you won’t be able to register for that class. If a prerequisite is recommended, you can enroll but you may want to consult the instructor to ask if this is a good idea.


Some courses require instructor permission to enroll. You can learn about using permission numbers by visiting this link.


A cross-listed class is one that satisfies requirements in more than one department and that has a course number for each  department, e.g. PSY 106 is also listed as NEUROSCI 101. You can register under the course number for either department and the class will satisfy the same requirements.

“College is meant to be a place where you discover your passions and engage with new ideas. Duke doesn’t even allow you to declare going into your first year, so be spontaneous! Take something that looks captivating outside of your current academic interests, as you may discover something about yourself which you hadn’t previously thought about!”. –Connor Haughey, Class of 2023


0-199: Introductory-level undergraduate courses

200-399: Mid-level undergraduate courses

400-499: Advanced undergraduate courses, senior seminars, capstone courses, honors theses

500-699: Graduate courses, also open to juniors and seniors.

700-999: Graduate courses only for graduate students.

“As you being to plan your time at Duke remember that plans change and if  you fall in love with a different path than what you originally intended that’s okay!” –Tatayana Richardson, 2021.