Types Of College Classes And Courses To Take

Preparing for college can seem strange and confusing as it offers a different setting from high school. College allows you to create new experiences and meet entirely new people. There are various types of college classes to opt for.

Being prepared and having an overview of how college classes will give you an upper hand over your counterparts in college.

There are various working principles to a college class; you might get involved in laboratory classes or research work.

This article will serve as a college guide exploring the various types of college classes to give you an early view of what to expect.

What Is A College Class?

A college class is always used interchangeably with college courses, but on closer inspection, we find very subtle differences between the two.

A college class is when college students are taught about a particular subject. Lessons taught during college classes are the key foundations of a specific course. A college class in a course is solely for the sole purpose of attaining your selected major.

With the introduction of technology and the digitalization of the world, most universities now create opportunities for students to opt for online classes.

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What Are The Categories Of A College Class?

The various college classes you can opt for are all placed in multiple categories of a particular course. Knowledge about the different types of college classes enables you to set yourself up for success in your discipline.

The various categories of a college class are;

1) Lower-division

Lower-division courses are also known as introductory courses. These college classes are self-explanatory. They introduce students to a particular academic discipline. Lower-division classes are usually attended during the first few semesters in a college and usually have lower course numbering.

The lower-division courses highlight the foundation of basic concepts, key theories, and various models involved in a particular academic discipline. Lower-division classes tend to cover a wide range of topics but in less detail than upper-division courses.

The sole aim of a lower-division course is to help the student attain academic prowess and skills that will prepare them for upper-division courses.

2) Upper-division

Upper-division courses build on the foundation of knowledge gained in the lower-division college class. Upper-division classes offer a more advanced class than lower-division. The upper-division type will require prior knowledge of the particular academic discipline.

Most times, completion of a prior class is a prerequisite before enrollment for an upper-division college class. Upper-division college classes are mostly taken during your major.

Some colleges may stipulate the minimum number of upper-division college classes you must graduate from, an example is seen at the University of Texas, Austin where you must attain a minimum of 36- upper-division credits to earn your Bachelor of Arts degree.

3) Major courses

Your major courses are the most important towards attaining your college degree. Major courses are those college classes you will focus solely on during your undergraduate studies. Major courses focus on giving you a strong theoretical foundation in your selected discipline. They give you in-depth knowledge about specific areas in your education.

Major courses are groups of college classes required for specialization and obtaining a degree. Selecting the perfect major college classes will affect your happiness and fulfilment during your stay in college and impact your future career.

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4) Minor courses

Undergraduates mostly use minor college classes to supplement their major courses or to completely pursue a different academic discipline. Undergraduates must complete at least 16-30 credits to earn a minor.

A college student doesn’t need to declare a minor. Being an optional choice leads to questions on the importance of obtaining a minor in college.

Obtaining a minor will give you an edge because it helps strengthen your key skills, and branching out to new disciplines helps in versatility.

5) General education courses

These college classes are usually lower-division, requiring everyone in college to take them.

The purpose of general education courses is to help students acquire diverse skills required for leading a successful and productive life and becoming knowledgeable students. Available education classes teach students how to communicate their ideas correctly.

General education courses are not mindful of your core study area; they are compulsory for all students. An example is seen in the fact that some science courses require students to take college classes in English and literature.

Some general education college classes you might be required to attend are social science, anthropology, and humanities.

Types Of College Classes

When starting your journey into college, you might wonder, do they have the same type of class as high school? Definitely not; the setting and types of classes in college are completely different from high school.

The various college classes require more self-directed learning when compared to high school classes. Most types of college classes are oriented towards your specific career goal.

This section will explicitly deal with the types of college classes you can encounter in college so that you can know what to expect and plan.

1. Lecture

The most well-known type of college class is the lecture college class. Lecture college classes employ the use of lecture halls that are capable of sitting a few hundred students. They are mostly used for freshers or first-year college students.

The professor or lecturer mostly spends his whole time talking to the students, who actively listen and take notes. The lecture type of college class is an efficient method of imparting knowledge as it enables the students to gain first-hand knowledge from professionals in that discipline.

Despite being poor in one-on-one interaction, students might have opportunities to ask the professor questions.

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2. Discussions

The discussion type of college class is also known as discussion sections. Discussion type of college class usually comprises a smaller number of college students led by a graduate student.

The discussion type of college class is deep-rooted in interactionism as it allows discussion between the students and enables them to ask various questions. Students who complain about the impersonal learning experience of the lecture college type of college class usually entertain the concept of discussion sections as an alternative.

Discussion college classes enable students to engage in more in-depth analysis with peers. It is possible for a teaching assistant also to lead a discussion class.

3. Seminars

The Seminar type of college class deals with mostly upper-division courses specializing in a subject area. Seminars are usually made up of a few numbers of students. Unlike the discussion type of college class led by the graduate student or teacher assistant, the professor led the seminar type of college class.

The seminar focuses on discussion and directing a particular topic in a college class. It requires the student to be involved in the participation process either by giving presentations or active participation in discussions.

The amount of knowledge you can gain during the seminar class is dependent on you putting away any distractions during the course.

4. Laboratory

The laboratory type of college class is used mainly for students belonging to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline. A laboratory class provides students with the ability to be able to have first-hand experience with theoretical points taught or explained technically.

During the lecture, discussion, or seminar classes. Students are tasked with putting what they have learned in class to action during the laboratory type of class

5. Studio

The lab is for science students, while the studio is for art students in the art and humanities. Studio college classes give the students ample time to practice what was learned in the class. The studio college class is very flexible, enabling the students to obtain a superior depth of knowledge.

In the studio setting, the lecturers or professors are no longer tasked with teaching, but they guide the students on how best to go about their projects.

The studio college class gives the students the sole responsibility of gaining knowledge.

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6. Independent study

The independent study requires a large amount of research and study. Independent study is a type of college class in which a student can collaborate with a professor to create a class or course not available in the current curriculum.

The independent study allows you to analyze a topic in great depth thoroughly. This type of college class requires you to work hand in hand with faculty officials to gain academic credit. Independent study allows students to design their lessons and deep dive into a particular course or class that a student is interested in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I ask questions during the lecture type of class?

Despite not supporting many questions, the students can ask questions during the lecture type of class, primarily supported at the class end. Despite not supporting many questions, the students can ask questions during the lecture type of class, mostly supported at the end.

Are the lab type of class similar to the high school lab type?

The college class type is similar to the high school lab, but it’s more advanced.

Are general education classes required for science, engineering, technology, and mathematics students?

Yes, general education classes are compulsory for every student, independent of the area of discipline.

Which type of college class is most effective?

The effectiveness of a college class depends on the students. Some students will prefer to learn directly from the professors and gain more from the seminar and lecture type of college class.


Students over others prefer certain college class types. Some students might prefer a more interactive learning process hence the discussion or seminar type of a college class. With the information outlined above, you should have an overview of what to expect as you undertake your journey into college.


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