Re-thinking Higher Education Curricula in the Era of Knowledge Economy: A Case Study of Course Codes in the National Curriculum of Pakistan

  • Itbar Khan Assistant Professor, Department of Education, University of Malakand
  • Iftikhar Ahmad Vice Chancellor, Gomal University, D.I. Khan
  • Rashid Ahmad Professor/Dean Faculty of Education, University of Malakand
Keywords: Higher education, Curriculum, courses, Codes, Pakistan


The study reviewed the course codes at undergraduate level in selected universities and Higher Education Commission (HEC). The objectives of the study were to investigate the coding system of courses and propose a system for coding the courses at tertiary level in Pakistan.  The coding system of different universities, inside and outside Pakistan, was analyzed and a system of coding was proposed. The study found discrepancies in the coding of courses that cause difficulties for academic bodies and transfer of credits from one university to another. It is recommended that courses of a degree required may be divided in 1) General Education requirements, 2) Subject specific foundation courses, 3) subject specific major compulsory courses, and 4) subject specific major elective courses.  For codes 2, 3 or 4 capital letters for a subject along with three numbers (xxx) may be used to specify each course of the university. The left digit of the three may be used for the hardship level. The courses 1xx, 2xx, 3xx and 4xx will be taught in the first, second, third and fourth year, respectively and research may be given 500 at undergraduate level, courses of 5 year may be placed in 5xx and research may be coded as 599. The graduate level courses for MPhil /MS /PhD may be coded as 6xx, 7xx and 8xx for MPhil and PhD all over the country.