Special Topic Variable Credit (STVC)

Variable credit and special topic courses are different versions of a pre-existing senate-approved course, whose versions are represented by their detail codes: suffixed letters A-Z after a course number.

Special Topics

Special Topics courses represent different focuses or ways of approaching course content. Each version represents a different topic and may have variable credits and different titles

Variable Credit Courses

Variable credit courses have a range of credit values (e.g. 3–6 credits). Different credit values are chosen based on how many academic periods a course is being offered for or how many hours per week are required for the particular offering.

STVC Resources

The STVC application will be used to create new versions of special topics/variable credit courses for use in Scientia and Workday Student. The STVC will

  • Store the historical course offerings of special topics and variable credits from 2005-onward
  • Facilitate the special topic and variable credit course creation (example BIOL 448_A)

The integration from STVC to Workday will incorporate the letter into the section number.


Course Section Course Code Course Number Section Number Abbreviated Title Special Topics Field (Detail Code)
BIOC_O 420-Y_001​ BIOC_O 420 Y_001 GLYCOSC  Y
Workday SIS
STVC (Special Topics, Variable Credits) N/A Appian application used in creating new versions of Special Topics and Variable Credit courses.
Abbreviated title (course section definition) Short title STVC Courses: Field that is attached to a special topics version that denotes focus.

Non-STVC courses: the abbreviated title (course section definition) is inherited from abbreviated title (course definition)

Topic title Detail code Version code of a special topics/variable credit course. One of A through Z.

Special topics and variable credit courses (e.g. CHEM 422) must have the same required instructional formats. Other attributes can be different, however, if the instructional formats do not match, students will be prevented from registering in all required sections


Course Attributes CHEM 422A CHEM 422E CHEM 422V
Yes Detail Codes A E V
Yes Credit Value 3 6 3
Yes Topic Titles Special Topics in Chemistry – NATURAL PROD Special Topics in Chemistry – MOL BIOPHYS Special Topics in Chemistry – CHEMICAL BIOLOGY
Yes Instructional Formats Lecture and Lab Lecture and Lab Lecture and Lab
No Instructional Formats Lecture and Lab Lecture and Seminar Independent Study

Faculty/Departments may submit requests for new detail code versions, topics or difference credit values using the Academic Change Request Form.

  • Requests must be submitted 2 business days in advance of the scheduled WDC maintenance date in order to be included during the WDC data entry period. Otherwise, they may also be submitted upon the release of the draft timetable.
  • If departments would like to review their current special topics, they may do so in two ways
    1. Pull the Special Topics Course Section – Central report in Workday, which will show the topics associated with the academic period selected in the search criteria (recommended for academic period-specific dept. review)
    2. Review each course in Appian, which will show all topics and associated credit values (not yet accessible—recommended for course planning)

For a look at the workflow for new STVC courses, see the attached PDF.

Frequently Asked Questions

STVC Character limit: The character limit in SISC is 16 and will remain as such for W2023 and S2024.

No, special topics must have an associated detail code.