Cross-Listing of Courses: Policy

  • A St. Olaf course is cross-listed only if the subject matter of the course lies between two discipline-specific or interdisciplinary fields and/or if the approach to the subject matter draws on two discipline-specific or interdisciplinary fields.
  • The FTE for the cross-listed course comes from one of the sponsoring departments/ programs unless the course is team-taught. The planning and scheduling of the course are completed by both departments/programs involved, and the cross-listing is approved by both departments/programs, by the associate deans that oversee both departments/programs, and by the Registrar, in consultation with Dean’s Council and with CEPC.
  • Both departments/programs may use the course as a requirement or an elective in the major or concentration when appropriate.
  • The course number, title, and description remain constant over time. The academic catalog and the class and lab schedule list the course in numerical order under both participating department(s)/program(s), accompanied by a cross-listing notation. The class and lab schedule also lists the course under the dual department code (see below).
  • Subject to normal review, the GE attributes attached to the cross-listed course remain consistent across terms and instructors.
  • If more than two departments/programs wish jointly to cross-list a course, that course must be housed under the Interdisciplinary Studies (ID) program in the catalog and the class and lab schedule. It may be cross-listed under all of the participating departments in the catalog and in the class and lab schedule.

Cross-listing of Courses: Implementation

Technical Specifications:

  • Cross-listed courses receive a joint department/program code that reflects both sponsoring departments/programs. (See examples below.)
  • In the class and lab schedule, a cross-listed course appears, in numerical order, under the joint heading and also, in numerical order, under both sponsoring departments. A cross-listing notation is appended to the class and lab entry.
  • In the St. Olaf catalog, the course is listed, in numerical order, under each of the sponsoring departments; an additional cross-listing notation is included.

Procedures for Submitting Course Proposals for Cross-listed Courses:

  • Faculty requesting to cross-list a new course must include with their new course proposal documentation a rationale explaining the place of the course in the curriculum of each department and the ways in which the course subject and/or approach lies between two discipline-specific or interdisciplinary fields and/or the approach to the subject matter draws on two discipline-specific or interdisciplinary fields.
  • The signatures of both/all department chairs/program directors and relevant associate deans are required on the form.
  • Otherwise, the new course and GE approval processes are the same as for any other course.


At the March Faculty Meeting, the faculty approved several courses, the designations of which will change if this motion is passed:

Biology/Environmental Studies 350, “Biogeochemistry” will become BI/ES 350.

ID 125, “Integrated Chemistry/Biology I,” ID 126, “Integrated Chemistry/Biology II,” and ID 127, “Integrated Chemistry/Biology III” will become CH/BI 125; CH/BI 126; CH/BI 127.

Philosophy/Religion 278, “Ethics of War” will be PH/RE 278.

New “departments,” BI/ES, CH/BI, and PH/RE, will appear alphabetically in the Class and Lab Schedule.

In the catalog, these courses will be listed within the participating departments.

For example, PH/RE 278 will appear under PHILOSOPHY, between Philosophy 261 and Philosophy 294; it will also appear under RELIGION, between Religion 276 and Religion 280.

Rationale for the motion:

The St. Olaf curriculum has become increasingly interdisciplinary as borders between disciplines blur. Cross-listing courses recognizes and encourages the value of interdisciplinary connections. It also makes possible an adequate representation of that interdisciplinary in the catalog and the class and lab schedule.

The proposed system avoids the typical pitfalls of cross-listing: double-enrollment in the same course and, thus, false reporting of number of courses offered and enrollments; inconsistencies or mistakes in the catalog; proliferation of cross-listed courses; problems tracking pre-requisites.

Cross-listing increases visibility of interdisciplinary courses, but cross-listing is not appropriate for all courses that would benefit from increased visibility. Cross-listing of courses should not be seen as a mechanism for advertising courses more widely than one department listing within the class and lab schedule. The Registrar’s Office is exploring other ways of accomplishing this goal

For this method of implementing a policy of cross-listing courses, the registrar is indebted to Meredith Braz, Registrar and Director of Student Financial Services, Bates College, Lewiston, ME.