Believe it or not, but those course title abbreviations that show up on your transcript are actually read by a number of different people who are deliberately seeking to make them as understandable as possible! But sometimes that is almost impossible when the course title is complicated or has a lot of professional terms and we’re being asked to get the total abbreviation to under 30 characters. Just think about all the things “Comp” could stand for. When it comes to the university records in A&SC holdings, some of the most common requests we get are for course titles and descriptions. Alumni get copies of their transcripts (not available through A&SC: only available through the Registrar’s Office for UAA/ACC and other predecessor colleges) and for a variety of reasons, often need to have course descriptions or the full title.
These are easy if you’re seeking courses from UAA and ACC: those course catalogs are mostly all online courtesy of the Registrar’s Office and you can look up the course yourself.
Of course, there are some exceptions to the “search the catalog” answer, like you might expect. For example, the courses that end in 90, 92 or 93, those are courses like “selected topics” or workshops where the subjects tend to change with every offering so it’s impossible to get each of those descriptions in the catalog. Or courses that end in 94, those are trial courses that the college is trying out on a temporary basis, so those descriptions don’t appear in the catalog either. So how do you get course descriptions when they don’t appear in the catalog? Best bet is the semester course schedules. Course schedules don’t typically include descriptions, but for the courses in the 90-94 number ranges, they often do. Recent schedules are available online but again, most of the older ones are available through the Registrar’s office. We have run into a couple of courses where not even the schedule has the description, but that’s pretty rare. And that’s a good thing because if the description doesn’t appear in the catalog or the schedule? Well, then we’re just completely out of ideas. In the past we’ve suggested the researcher contact the college in question, but since we didn’t hear back from that person, we don’t know if that worked out for her or not.
Oh, and if you’re looking for APU/AMU course descriptions or transcripts, almost none of the above instructions apply. For APU transcripts, take a look at the Alumni tab on the main APU page: it has a link to the transcript request. The current catalog is available online on the APU site as well. A&SC has a few older catalogs but at this point we’re not able to provide access to those with any degree of reliability–partially because we don’t have a very complete run of them–so if you can’t come in to use the Library’s Alaska collections holdings of these, you’re probably best served by contacting APU for those directly.