Introductory-level and Advanced-level

Introductory-level and advanced-level refer to the breadth and depth of the learning that takes place in a study.


  • foundational learning
  • covers basic concepts and terminology.

Courses taken at community or junior colleges are considered introductory level.


  • involves higher and more complex levels of knowledge and understanding than introductory or foundational learning
  • means that your student has attained a level of knowledge and understanding of a particular area or topic that goes beyond basic terminology and definitions and includes:
    • analysis
    • synthesis
    • evaluation of information related to a specific topic or area of learning.


  • Accounting I and II would be considered introductory-level studies as they are the first studies in this area and provide a foundation for more complex learning. A study in cost accounting generally is classified as advanced level as it builds on the learning gained in earlier accounting courses.
  • Introduction to Human Biology is an introductory-level study but provides a basis for Genetics, which is typically considered advanced-level learning.

Course Numbering

If a college uses a traditional numbering system, you can usually tell the course level from its number:

  • 100 range – freshman – introductory level
  • 200 range – sophomore – introductory level
  • 300 range – junior – advanced level
  • 400 range – senior – advanced level.

Note: On the degree program plan, advanced-level studies are designated with a plus sign  (a plus sign represents advanced-level credit).

Differences Between Introductory-level and Advanced-level Studies

The Level of Theoretical and Application Skills Required

Introductory: usually covers the basic concepts, theories and principles of a topic

Advanced: requires analysis, synthesis and evaluation that involve higher levels of abstraction, increasing extensive knowledge, complex content and greater methodological sophistication

The Presumption of Prior Study

Introductory: usually prerequisite learning is not required beyond reading, writing and mathematical skills expected of a high school graduate

Advanced: usually builds upon prerequisite knowledge, expanding upon fundamental concepts, theories and principles

The Nature of the Studies

Introductory: introductory studies, surveys, or technical foundations studies

Advanced: more focused or specialized topics

When the Studies Usually Are Taken

Introductory: typically found in associate degree curricula or during the first (freshman) and second (sophomore) years of a bachelor’s degree — sometimes classified as lower division or lower level

Advanced: typically found in the last two years of the bachelor’s degree, during the third (junior) and fourth (senior) years of a bachelor’s degree — sometimes classified as upper division or upper level