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Common Course Numbering (CCN)

Common course numbering (CCN) makes it easier for students to transfer courses between community and technical colleges in Washington state. About a quarter of all community and technical college students graduate with from a two-year college with credits transferred in from another college. Common course numbering eases that process, because equivalent courses are labeled the same across all colleges.


Val Sundby
Director, Transfer Education 

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The common course numbering project was directed by the presidents of the Washington state community and technical colleges with leadership from the Washington state Instruction and Student Services commissions and support from the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

CCN courses include:

  • Academic transfer courses, as defined by the Intercollege Relations Council (ICRC) agreement 
  • Aerospace/aviation maintenance and early childhood education courses

CCN does not apply to:

  • Precollege (remedial/developmental) education
  • Basic Skills (adult basic education, GED®, English language or high school completion).

The Feasibility Study Group presented three options for common course numbering to the commissions and councils:

  • A virtual course numbering crosswalk system
  • Common course numbering
  • Standardized curriculum

Of the three options, common course numbering received the greatest support, as it is more transparent for students and does not impact course content. Based on findings and recommendations from the Feasibility Study, the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges (WACTC)  voted in spring 2004 to move forward on developing an implementation plan for common course numbering. With the plan completed, WACTC voted again on May 5, 2006 to implement the project.

Common course numbering included changes to the department/division abbreviation, the course number, and the title. Each college may use the colon (:) after the title and use the remaining 25 characters as a part of the title.

Common course numbering  identifies equivalent community and technical college courses and labels them with the same department/division abbreviation, course number, and course title. Common course numbering does not require faculty to change or standardize their course content to be equivalent with another college's or impact course delivery methods.

From its inception, faculty members served on the Common Course Numbering Steering Committee and its subcommittees.

Faculty members can initiate a review for a new common course or a review of an existing common course that may not be “common” because of curricular changes at various colleges. Faculty members within a discipline determine whether a course is common or unique. If common, faculty members work together to determine common course title and number.

As of fall 2016,  Professional-Technical Common Course Numbering (PTCCCN) gives colleges a new process similar to, but separate from, the original CCN process.

Common Course Numbering Database

View and search courses using the common course numbering system.

CCN courses are designated with the ampersand (&) symbol and a common 3-digit number and include:

  • Academic transfer courses, as defined by the Intercollege Relations Council (ICRC) agreement
  • Aerospace/aviation maintenance and early childhood education courses

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Last Modified: 8/3/23, 1:07 PM

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